While the weather hasn't fully cooperated so far, the Muskie track-and-field team still was impressive at its season-opening meet last week and they'll be hoping to continue that trend at a meet in Dryden next Thursday (May 9).
The Muskies racked up multiple top-three finishes at the Bronco Booster Track & Field Invite varsity meet at Falls High School last Tuesday and many of the athletes were able to set personal bests for themselves.
It all made for a great day in the eyes of Muskie coach John Dutton as his students looked to find out early on in the season what their strengths were.
“[Last] Tuesday, many [students] were trying events to see if we could find a good fit for them,” he recalled.
"Weather has also kept us away from long jump, triple jump, and high jump training and runners who are new to using starting blocks have had only a few chances to practice their technique.
“In spite of that, our athletes had a really strong showing in International Falls,” he lauded.
“A number of our veterans posting personal records at the start of the season, while our younger athletes held there own—while in many cases—competing against older varsity athletes.”
Alexis Gate, competing as part of Nestor Falls School, blasted her way to a silver-medal finish in the girls' 800m race last Tuesday with a time of 3:00.09 while Alacea Yerxa wound up seventh (3:22.72).
Gate also placed fifth in the 1600m race (6:35.47).
Grace Petsnick soared to gold in girls' high jump, clearing the bar at a height of 4',10".
Leah Seguin, competing as part of Donald Young School, was third in high jump (4',8“), Anna Gagne tied for sixth with Abbigail Hutchison, Gracie Bahr, and Aubrey Pavleck of the host Broncos (3',10"), Olivia Eldridge was 10th (3',8") and Katrina Slomke placed 13th (3',6”).
Petsnick nabbed silver in girls' long jump (14',05“), Maya Davis and Slomke tied for 17th (11',7.50"), and Eldridge wound up 21st (9',8”).
Petsnick was also the top Muskie in the 100m dash, placing fourth with a time of 13.62.
She was followed by Seguin in eighth (14.63), Ayiana Gagne in 13th (15.45), Parker Boyd in 14th (15.56), Joyce Wu in 17th (16.30), Anna Gagne in 21st (16.67), Julia Guertin in 22nd (16.71), Davis in 23rd (16.81), and Jacy Gagne in 25th (17.20).
In the 200m race, Seguin tied for fifth (30.05), Ayiana Gagne was 11th (31.75), Boyd was 13th (31.95), Guertin was 17th (33.35), Wu tied for 20th (34.15), and Anna Gagne wound up 22nd (34.25).
Michaela Yerxa was the top Muskie in shot put in placing 14th with a throw of 20',6".
She was followed by Emma Bone in 17th (19',4“) and Guertin (17',4”).
Bone wound up ninth in discus (59',9“), while Yerxa was 11th (53',5"), Guertin was 15th (37',9"), and Boyd was 16th (33',2”).
“Our biggest challenge heading into [last] Tuesday's meet was the fact that we have only had a handful of outdoor practices so far because of the wintry weather,” Dutton conceded.
“As a team, we haven't had the opportunity to work on pacing for our runners, or for that matter, find the distances that best suit the strengths of our runners.”
In boys' action, meanwhile, Carson Noga cruised to a gold-medal finish the 100m dash with a time of 12.00.
He was followed by Caelin Mayhew in fourth (12.44), Josh McGinnis in 13th (13.20), Jesse Marschalk in 16th (13.28), James Furlong in 18th (13.37), Owen Riches in 20th (13.47), while Andre Hendrikx wound up 23rd (13.96),
Noga also nabbed silver in the 200m dash (24.83), while Mayhew was sixth (25.73), Ryan Stewart was 10th (26.89), Marschalk 14th (28.21), McGinnis was 15th (28.36), Hendrikx took 17th (29.37), and Matthew Watts wound up 20th (32.30).
Noga then finished fifth in the 400m race (59.33) while Thre Windigo placed 13th (1:22.16).
In the 800m race, Trent Wilson finished just shy of the podium with a fourth-place finish (2:29.21).
Furlong was just behind in fifth (2:37.82), followed by Ben Olson (2:38.55).
Wilson was the top Muskie in the 1600m race, placing sixth with a time of 5:36.34.
He was followed by Owen Riches in 10th (5:54.04) and Braydon Christiansen in 12th (6:49.05).
Olson tied for second in boys' high jump with Justin Piekarski of the Broncos (5',4“) while Riches wound up seventh (4',8”).
Noga was the top Muskie in long jump in finishing fourth (16',10“), Sean Huziak was seventh (16',4"), McGinnis was eighth (16',1"), Furlong was 11th (15',6.50"), Riches was 14th (14',9"), and Mayhew wound up 16th (14',5”).
McGinnis garnered silver in triple jump (32',10.50“), followed by Huziak in sixth (30',7") and Riches in seventh (27',11”).
Huziak finished fourth in shot put (34',9“), Stewart was 11th (30',0"), and Callum Galusha was 12th (27',8”).
Huziak also nabbed silver in discus with a throw of 116',3“ while Stewart was fourth (98',4") and Galusha was 11th (82',7”).
Fort High took both third and fourth in the girls' 4x100m relay race with times of 1:02.60 and 1:03.46, respectively while also finishing second in the 4x800m relay with a time of 11:58.40.
The boys' squad took silver in both the 4x100m (51.74) and 4x200m (1:47.37) relays, while placing fourth in the 4x400m race (4:42.66) and third in the 4x800m race (11:06.42).
“We brought our whole team—Grades 7-12—to compete in a varsity meet, [which is] usually Grade 10-12,” Dutton noted.
“Many of the athletes competed in five or six events, some [did] more. It was great to see the rookies game to try a variety of disciplines and distances,” he enthused.
The Muskies were also slated to compete at a varsity meet in Baudette, Mn. on Monday, but it was cancelled due to the snowy conditions.
Dutton is hopeful everything will still be a go for next Thursday's meet in Dryden, however.
“We will definitely be working on our jumping events and looking a Tuesday results to help determine some of our running entries,” he revealed.
“It's just great to finally be outside and on the track.”