Belle Fourche freshman Shayla Howell wanted to get the outdoor season off to a good start on Friday in the March Madness track and field meet at Sioux Park.
She got her wish.
Howell, who won the Class A state 100-meter dash as an eighth-grader last season, was three-for-four on Friday — three wins and four state meet qualifications.
“I want to get qualified for state in these first few meets,” Howell said, “then help with relays the rest of the season and do what they need me to do.”
Howell opened with a win in the high jump at 5 feet, 2 inches, before capturing the 100-meter dash in 12.32 seconds and the 400 in 59.42. She finished second in the 200 at 25.84, the same time as Rapid City Central’s Maddison Sullivan, who was credited with the win.
So far, so good for the young Lady Bronc sprinter.
“It’s been really great,” Howell said. “I didn’t really know how it was going to turn out because it is the first track meet. I was ready.”
Just the fact that she entered four events the first time out gets her on the right track, she said.
“It gets me used to it, I guess,” Howell said of the four events. “I just want to work harder and build more muscle as the season goes along … just get better.”
Rapid City Central senior sprinter Ryan Stiles was a bit surprised in his season-opening time in the 400-meter dash. He was so surprised that he didn’t originally believe his coaches.
“I didn’t think I was running as fast as I was,” said Stiles after winning the event in 50.54 seconds over Sturgis junior Beau Ireland. “When I came around the coaches gave me my time, and I didn’t think they were right. But it is on the board now.”
Stiles went into the meet and season with a personal best time in the event of 50.8. He said his biggest goal of the season is win the 800 at the state meet, which in turn would mean beating defending state champion Jacob Simmons of Sturgis. He’d also like to get in the top three in the 400.
While the athletes participating and the fans in attendance were treated to a nice early spring day for the first outdoor meet of the season, it was a bit windy, which is just fine with Sturgis senior pole vaulter Klara Lyon.
In fact, vaulting on a windy day is just about perfect for the defending state champion.
“I actually like the wind,” Lyon said. “I think the wind challenges me more and it makes me want to try harder; it makes me work harder on my vault. If it is just a nice day, then sometimes I am just going through the motions. If I have a wind, then I know I have to work twice as hard in order to get to a certain height.”
Lyon, who won state last year at 11-3, won Friday’s first vault at 11-0.
“I had been at a few indoor meets, so I had been jumping regularly,” Lyon said. “It was good to get outside, getting that eleven outdoors so I know that the weather is not a big deal. It felt good going up and knocking off all of the rust that the winter has brought on.”
Lyon’s career best is at 12-0, a height she wants to surpass.
“I think my goal this year is probably at least 13 feet and defend my state title at home,” Lyon said.
It could be safe to say that Custer senior hurdler Joel Thomsen will shatter his personal best time in the 300 hurdles this season, knock on wood. He nearly did so on his first time out, even after stumbling on a few hurdles along the way.
Thomsen pulled away from Evan Henderson of St. Thomas More on the last couple of hurdles.
“I felt like my speed was good in between the hurdles, but every hurdle I hit, there were a couple that I hit with the wrong lead leg,” Thomsen said. “That slowed me down quite a bit. I was kind of bunny-hopping those ones.
“I can drop a lot of time off if I just get the lead leg right.”
His time of 40.95 was just .25 seconds off of last year’s personal best.
“That should be easy to make up because every meet I’m dropping time,” Thomsen said. “It’s early; the first time I have run it.”
Thomsen’s goals are to hit the low 39s and get a state championship. He was third in last year’s state meet, and the two runners ahead of Thomsen have graduated.
“Maybe even get into the 38s,” he said looking ahead. “My brother (Jared Thomsen) has the record (38.69) at our school and I want to get that.”
Other event winners in the girls’ division were Jamie Schweiss of Stevens n the 800 run (2:19.33), Tori Glazier of Custer in the 1,600 (5:26.35), Paige Frost of Sturgis in the 3,200 (13:57.53), Elizabeth Schaefer of Stevens in the 100 hurdles (15.21), Julianne Thomsen of Custer in the 300 hurdles (46.91), Jessica Sundstrom of Stevens in the long jump at 18-0½, Bailey Johnson of Central in the triple jump (34-8), Michaela Cermak of Spearfish in the shot put (39-8) and Callie Henrich of Stevens in the discus (115-9).
Tyrell Rosencranz of Spearfish was the lone double winner in the boys meet, as he captured the long jump at 21-7½ and the triple jump at 45-9.
Other boys winners were Jake Anderuud of St. Thomas More in the 100-meter dash (10.83), Giles McGillick of St. Thomas More in the 200 (22.82), Connor Haaland of Stevens in the 800 (2:03.15), Andrew Cottier of Central in the 1,600 (5:01.27), Chance Dooley of Custer in the 3,200 (10:43.81), Talon Maxon of Central in the 110 hurdles (14.71), Jaxon Hinch of Spearfish in the high jump (6-3), Anthony Jones of Custer in the pole vault (9-6), Lincoln Feist of St. Thomas More in the shot put (49-9) and Angelo Climenti of Custer in the discus (149-2).