You know how it works. Major high school track events are going on in Brookings and Vermillion. The spring season has arrived.
(Though some of this week’s athletes smartly stuck to the indoors.)
With the track season in mind, here’s a look at some of the top girls athletes to watch. The boys athletes can be found here.
Macy Heinz, Ipswich (Class B), junior
It’s hard to believe Heinz is just a junior. The Ipswich sensation has earned 16 state titles since joining the varsity ranks as a seventh grader. A year ago, Heinz showed remarkable versatility with titles in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,600 — including a state Class B record 2:15.17 time in the 800. Heinz also helped the Tigers set the ‘B’ record as the last leg in the 1,600 relay team. Heinz isn’t just fast for Class B, she’s one of the fastest in the state — and few have had comparable success across sprints and distance races.
Courtney Dowling, Pierre (AA), senior
At the state meet in 2014, Dowling — then a sophomore — swept the sprints and set a pair of state meet records in the 200 and 400. A hamstring injury last season cut her junior campaign short. Dowling is a special runner and inarguably held the status as the state’s premier high school sprinter at this same a year ago. Her senior season could be among the toughest in terms of competition.
Krista Bickley, Brandon Valley (AA), freshman
Bickley and another middle schooler, Hannah Young, were arguably the state’s fastest last season with Dowling sidelined. Bickley, like Dowling, is a force in each of the sprints. With Watertown’s Macy Denzer and others pushing the top, this year’s crop of ‘AA’ sprinters is incredibly rich.
Hannah Young, RC Central (AA), freshman
Young burst onto the podium with runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200. In the 100 meter dash, teammate Alaina Klapperich, a senior, edged her out by a hundredth of a second.
Delaney Carlson, St. Thomas More (A), senior
Carlson did a little bit of everything on the way to three titles at the state ‘A’ meet last year. Carlson easily won the 200 meter dash, finished second in the 100, and contributed to the Cavalier’s 4×100 and 4×200 relay titles.
Jasmyne Cooper, Lincoln (AA), sophomore
Cooper was a star at last year’s state meet with titles in the 800 and 1,600, and anchored the Patriots’ title in the 1,600 sprint medley. She’s in for a big season, impressive considering she’s not even halfway through her high school career.
Tori Glazier, Custer (A), sophomore
Like Cooper, Glazier took 800 and 1,600 gold, only at the state ‘A’ meet. Glazier set a Class A meet record in the 1,600. Like the other sophomores in this category, Glazier’s future is bright.
Savannah Woods, Yankton (AA), senior
Last year’s 3,200 meter champion will get some push from Brandon Valley’s Courtney Klatt and Lauren Wells — the Lynx duo also excel in the 1,600 — but Woods no doubt dominated last year’s race.
Laura Nelson, Gayville-Volin (B), junior
Nelson dominated the 3,200 meter run at the state ‘B’ meet, finishing a full 16 seconds ahead second-best. Nelson should be in the mix for the 1,600 as well, though it’s important to note that Macy Heinz also runs that event.
Marisa Schulz, Dakota Valley (A), sophomore
Schulz will have her work cut out surpassing Glazier in the 1,600, but she’ll be one of the favorites in the 3,200 — which she won at last year’s Class A state meet.
Elizabeth Schaefer, RC Stevens (AA), freshman
Schaefer was one of the two best hurdlers in the state last year. The other was Harrisburg’s Haley Bruggeman. Schaefer finished second to Bruggeman in the 100 meter hurdles and the opposite was the case in the 300.
Shannon Duffy, St. Thomas More (A), senior
Duffy could just as soon be included in among great jumpers — she finished second at state in the high jump — but after a title in the 100 meter hurdles, expect to see her on the podium often this season.
Sara Bohan, Dakota Valley (A), junior
Similar to Duffy, Bohan’s value as a hurdler and in jumps is interchangeable. Bohan placed fifth in the 100 hurdles, runner-up in the 300 hurdles and added a title in the long jump.
Bre Richardson, Washington (AA), junior
Richardson posted an impressive 36-7.25 triple jump to win gold as a sophomore at the state ‘AA’ meet.
Emma Stewart, Yankton (AA), junior
Stewart will likely push Richardson again in the triple jump, but the long jump is where the Yankton junior shines brightest. Stewart won the long jump crown a year ago with a 18-0.5 jump.
Carly Harling, Mitchell (AA), freshman
Harling won the high jump as an eighth-grader. Enough said.
Jamie Begalka, Estelline (B), senior
The Estelline senior will look to repeat as shot put champion while pursuing a discus title. At least year’s state ‘B’ meet, Begalka finished runner-up in the discus.
Emma Hertz, O’Gorman (AA), senior
Hertz comes back after a state discus title and will press for another podium shot put finish after taking third.
Tevyn Waddell, Mitchell (AA), senior
Waddell has been a presence at state for a few years now. This summer she’ll compete at the Olympic Trials in Omaha — as a swimmer. Before that, she could take home a state pole vault crown.