Lady Warriors claim Region 7A Track and Field team title

By Tim Huether

For the first time in many years, the Bennett County girls won the Region 7A Track and Field Meet scoring 144 points to runner-up Todd County with 121. It will be a historic win as this will be the last year there will be a Region meet as the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) is going to a top 24 format from this point on.

The last time the girls won the team title appears to be in 2005, winning by 61 points. They also won it in 2004, that time by 104 points.

The Warriors have two athletes on their way to the State Meet this week with seventh grader Reagan O’Neill qualifying in four events, the 100 meters, 110 meter hurdles, 200 meters and long jump. Rush O’Neill qualified in the 110 hurdles.

In the boys team race, Bennett County had a great showing, finishing second to Winner.

Girls team scores:

1. Bennett County 144

2. Todd County 121

3. Winner 117

4. Lakota Tech 76

5. Red Cloud 71

6. Pine Ridge 41

7. Little Wound 21

The Boys team had a good day also, finishing second to Winner.

Boys team scores:

1. Winner 142

2. Bennett County 121

3. Todd County 113

4. Lakota Tech 80

5. Little Wound 75

6. Pine Ridge 55

7. St. Francis Indian 27

8. Red Cloud 11

At the Region meet, both teams did well with very young athletes, as the girls were led by Reagan O’Neill as she won the long jump, the 100 meter hurdles, the 100 meter dash and finished third in a fast 200 meter race.

Seventh grader Harley Harris had a solid day winning the 300 meter hurdles, finishing second in the triple jump, third in the 100 meter hurdles and ran the anchor leg on the 4x100 relay that placed fourth.

Eighth grader Rosa Ainslie also had a great day, winning the 3200 meters, placing second in the 1600 meters, running on the winning 4x800 meter relay and anchoring the second place sprint medley relay team.

Sophia May and Sara Fuchs both had personal best throws in the shot put with May going 30’7” for a third place finish and Fuchs 29’4” for fifth place.

Fuchs had a personal best in the discus, throwing 98’10” for second place. May was fourth with a throw of 77’3.”

For the boys, eighth grader Rush O’Neill was a double winner, topping the field in the high jump, going 5’4,” and winning the 110 hurdles with a 17.04 run. He also had a good run in the 200 meters, finishing second with a 24.54.  He also ran on the fourth place sprint medley relay team.

Freshman Tyce Gropper was also a double winner, easily outdistancing the field to win the 3200 meters with a time of 10.35.4, and handily winning the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 45.94. Sophomore Neil Hicks had a solid day, winning the 400 meters in thrilling fashion as he nipped Todd County’s Chris Ellert at the line for the win. Hicks also placed fourth in the 200 and 6th in the 100.

Eighth grader Caysen Soderlin had a personal best throw of 114’ in the discus, earning him second place. He also placed fifth in the shot put.

The top 24 format is where the athletes sitting in the top 24 in each event based on time or distance from any meet during the season, will be allowed to participate in the state meet. Where it gets a little hazy is the fact a person sitting in 25th place or lower may qualify because of factors such as an injured athlete who is unable to compete, an athlete qualifying in more than four events and has to drop additional events and a school may have more than three athletes qualifying in a single event. Each school may only enter three athletes in an individual event.

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