By Sara Schwartz
The Mound Westonka High School track and field teams competed at the Wright County West Conference Championship meet on May 14 in Annandale. The White Hawks had a great day and scored more points than expected. The boys were seeded fifth in the conference but worked together and outperformed all expectations to finish in a tie for second place. The girls had their best conference meet in several years and continue to improve each season.
MWHS had a record 12 student-athletes earn All-Conference recognition. In order to earn All-Conference, athletes must win an individual event or relay. For the White Hawks girls team, eighth-grader Laura Sunnarborg won the 3,200 meters, running the race in 12:20.74. Sunnarborg teamed up with ninth-grader Allie Soule and senior captains Ela Springer and Maya Thurston to win the 4×800 relay with a huge season’s best time of 10:11.75. All four girls ran lifetime best relay splits to win the race by 3 seconds.
The White Hawks boys won three relays to have eight different athletes earn All-Conference honors. The 4×800 team of senior captain Kade Retterath, ninth-grader Lance Nemecek, sophomore Isaac Miner and junior Alec Van Gelder ran a great race and won with a time of 8:31.81. All four boys ran lifetime best times to drop 16 seconds off their seed time.
The boys 4×200 team of senior Nick Drilling, foreign exchange student Magnus Urth and senior captains Kris Kurtz and Nels Larson won with a time of 1:33.73. This was the fastest Westonka time in this event in over 10 seasons. Drilling, Larson, Miner and Retterath also won the 4×400 in a time of 3:34.58, winning the race for the second year in a row.
Senior Dylan O’Flanagan earned All-Conference Honorable Mention by placing second in the long jump. His jump of 19’7.75” was a lifetime best. O’Flanagan’s series of jumps was impressive, with four of the six jumps in the 19-foot range.
Van Gelder finished second in both the high jump (5’8”) and 800-meter run (2:05.53), ending his day with one first- and two second-place finishes for an excellent showing. Ninth-grader Cris Christensen also had a great day, finishing third in the high jump (5’8”) and sixth in the 100-meter dash (12.13). Cristensen teamed up with Kurtz, O’Flanagan and senior Jacob Blume to finish third in the 4×100 relay. The team ran a speedy time of 46.66, edging out fourth place by .002 seconds.
Larson finished in third place in the 800 (2:06.59) to have two first-place finishes and one third-place finish at the end of the day. Nemecek ran a gutsy 3,200 meter race to finish in third place (11:00.11). Drilling added a third-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles to his incredible day. He ran a time of 43.66. Urth finished in fourth in the 100-meter dash (12.08) and sixth in the 200-meter dash (24.46).
Junior Connor Prok had a stellar day in the field events, finishing fifth in the triple jump (38’8.5”) and eighth in the shot put (42’5”). Eighth-grader Jessiah Hunter finished seventh in the 400-meter dash (56.03). Kurtz added a point with his eighth-place discus throw of 115’00.
The 4×400 team of Thurston, Springer, eighth-grader Ellen Pruitt and ninth-grader Libby McCue earned fourth place with a time of 4:25.41. The girls 4×100 relay team of Pruitt, Jaylyn Storm, Abby Hollenstein and Micah Boyce finished in fifth place. These four eighth-graders ran an impressive time of 54.01. Storm also finished in eighth in the 200-meter dash with a 28.65.
Ninth-grader Bella Lund had a good day for the girls, earning seventh in the 100-meter dash and running a leg on the 4×200 relay that was sixth in 1:55.00. Junior Ellie Schmidt ran a leg on that relay as well, and she also finished sixth in the 200-meter dash in 28.48. McCue and ninth-grader Kennedy Schmidt ran the final two legs on the 4×200 relay. Soule took seventh place in the 3,200 meter run in 13:19.43.
All in all, the team had many career and season’s best performances. The young girls team has fantastic leadership, provided by captains Thurston, Springer, Lauren Kelly and Grace Bowe. Those four seniors have helped the young team grow each meet, have positive attitudes and have a lot of fun.
The boys team has now finished in the top three in the conference meet each of the last four years. Senior captains Kurtz, Larson, Retterath, Blume and Sam Kerr have provided strong leadership this season. Their season goal was to be a family and work together, and they have accomplished just that.
The team will compete next Thursday, May 23, in Rockford for a Last Chance Meet and then in the Section 2AA meet at Gustavus May 29 and 31.