Track and field City Championships

Mirror Lake and Gruening ready to run and throw


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Toting an undefeated regular season, Mirror Lake Middle School track coach Mitch Tarter is looking for much of the same as the Coyotes ready for the City Championships to be held Tuesday and Thursday this week. The track finals will be held at Goldenview Middle School today (Thursday), beginning at 3:45 p.m.

“Having finished the regular season meets undefeated we feel really good going into championships,” said Tarter.

The coach said the team possesses well-rounded strengths.

“Our distance runners are obviously peaking. We have four 8th grade boys throwing the disc over 100 feet. Unfortunately, only three of them will be allowed to throw for championships,” he added.

Such is the dilemma faced by Gruening Middle School coach Rachel Wall.

“We have athletes complete an interest card – but then we also look at where we believe they will perform the best, it’s a joint decision.

Wall, a first-year head coach, said it’s a shame that more individuals aren’t able to compete in the City Championships, especially with Gruening and Mirror Lake sporting two of the largest rosters.

“We can place two individuals in the open events, three in the 1,600 and three in field events, and one in each relay,” Wall stated, noting that often certain individuals are skilled in multiple events. The maximum number for any athlete is three events, she said.

The Gruening coach said that only 60 or 70 of the team’s 130, who competed consistently during the four-meet regular season would be in the City Championships.

Wall noted a few Colt athletes expected to garner high finishes – 7th grade boys – Nick Carl, distance event, DJ Parker, sprinters; 7th girls – Nicole Bedwell, sprints, relay, and Myah Smith, distance; 8th boys – Michael Altenburg and Michael Maddox, both distance; 8th girls – Geena Graf, hurdles, shot, discus.

Tarter listed a few athletes as well, namely seventh graders Sophia Lester, in sprints and triple jump; and distance aces Emma Sees and Max Hartke.

Lester has put the record books on notice, jumping 33 feet, 5.5 inches in last Thursday’s prelims of the triple jump.

“If she is able to pull off a jump like that at the Championship Field Events on Tuesday she will break the city record by nearly two feet. It would be one of those records that likely lasts a really long time,” said Tarter.

Sees sports the top time in the 1600m and is in a three-athlete hunt for a title in the 800.

“Those races are going to a battle you don’t want to miss,” he said.

Hartke has best times in both the 1,600m and 800m runs, with times of 5:12 and 2:31, respectively, and the district’s second-best 400m mark of 65 seconds.

“Max is the definition of tough. To run a 1600 like he did and then come back with the 400 and 800 in back to back races is unheard of,” Tarter said.

The Coyote coach said the team is already in good stead following last week’s preliminaries.

“We picked up a pile of points in long jump at Friday’s prelims and expect triple jump will end in similar fashion. We had 25 kids qualify to advance to finals in the sprint events,” he said.

Tarter said Gruening is one of his team’s main competitors for a city title.

Unfortunately, due to the short regular season, the Coyotes didn’t get to compete against Goldenview and Mears, so there is a bit of uncertainty out there.

But both local coaches were in agreement - it is going to be a fun week of competition.

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