St. Thomas More boys' sprinter Jacob Hyde has already had a decorated high school track and field career.

For his junior season he decided to add another event to his schedule, the oftentimes grueling 400 meter run.

Now, he's eyeing a state title in that event as well.

He started championship season off well Friday at the Black Hills Conference meet in Spearfish, winning the 100 (11.03 seconds), the 200 (22.16), the 400 (49.75) and he was a member of the winning 4x400 meter relay team with Corten Dobesh, Spencer Lund and Anson Wallace (3:27.62).

"I really wanted to get some good times in and work on my starts," he said. "It feels good to win conference, it’s a confidence booster going into state, it helps just to fine-tune stuff and get a hard meet in before state."

Hyde said he's enjoyed getting to experience the 4x400 in relay form, but as long as he's racing he doesn't care if it's an open event or a relay.

"The season has been going pretty good, started out a little slow but it’s starting to kick in now," he said. "I like running the opens but with the relays it’s not just you it’s your teammates that are counting on you to play your role, so those are fun too. It’s a lot of work getting timing down and trusting your marks, it takes a lot of work."

The 400 has been an adventure this season for Hyde, with some missteps along the way, but STM coach Scott Benson said it's a race that can open up possibilities for him at the next level.

"He’s still learning how to run strategically and he gets better every time he runs it," Benson said. "As he moves down into the 47s as a runner it’s going to open up doors for him collegiality, he’s already a recruited athlete from some pretty large schools but I think this will open the door for more opportunity."

One of those missteps came in April at the Sturgis Invitational in April.

In a classic battle with Wall's Cash Wilson, he was nipped at the finish line when Wilson finished with a 49.68 to Hyde's 49.73.

Benson admitted Hyde was upset after the loss, but he turned it into a learning experience.

"He made a mistake not understanding who was on his inside and he kind of took it easy and was caught off guard and that kid was good enough to beat him," Benson said. "He knows now that he has to go out and leave no doubt after 200, that’s what he’s been working on, going out fast and he can finish because of his strength."

That strength, Benson said, is why he is now running the 400 in the first place.

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Even though he said Hyde has only ran the race five times, he has the natural strength that is crucial in a long sprint like the 400.

"His strength is kind of off the charts and that’s what he does that separates him from most athletes," he said. "It allows him to finish that race unlike any other kid. He did a lot of offseason work to prepare, he’s got a lot of upside in that race, being so new to it."

Now that the season is hitting the home stretch, Hyde said he's as focused as ever.

The defending 200 champion wants to add the 400 and 100 to the list. The Cavaliers also won the team boys' title last season, and Hyde said no one is interested in giving that title to another team.

"We have very high goals for ourselves," he said.

STM will be at the Region 8A meet hosted by Rapid City Christian at Hart Ranch Thursday before travelling to Sioux Falls for the Class A state championships May 24 and 25.

Other athletes considered:

Jordynn Toliver, Douglas girls' track and field: Toliver had a big day at the Black Hills Conference championships in Spearfish, winning three titles.

She won the 100 hurdles (16.06) and 300 hurdles (47.85) and went to the field to win the long jump at 16 feet, 11 1/4 inches.

Nick Sayler, White River boys' track and field: Sayler won multiple events at the Western Great Plains Conference meet in Kadoka Friday.

He won the 100 in 11.59 and the 200 in 23.79.

Dawson Segrist, Rapid City Stevens boys' tennis: Segrist was 3-1 in singles during the Sioux Falls Invitational over the weekend.

In flight three he topped Mason Weidenback of Sioux Falls Roosevelt 6-1, 6-1 and Sioux Falls O'Gorman's Michael Yousef 6-4, 7-6 (4) Friday. Saturday he fell to Sioux Falls Lincoln's Rahul Giri 6-4, 4-6, 10-8 before bouncing back for a 6-0, 6-0 win over Sioux Falls Washington's Jacob Morgans.

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Contact Geoff Preston at geoffrey.preston@rapidcityjournal.com

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for the Rapid City Journal.