ADA — With the postseason tournament just on the horizon, the Minster girls and boys teams are tweaking the lineups and trying to get back to full strength.
However, Minster’s performance Saturday at the Ada Invitational Track and Field Meet did not give any reason for the Minster fans to panic as the Wildcats won both the girls and boys titles.
On the boys side, Minster ran away with the title, outscoring Midwest Athletic Conference-foe Versailles 160-78. Lima Central Catholic finished third (70), while Bluffton was a very close fourth (69.5).
In the girls competition, Minster slipped past second-place Versailles for the crown, 110-107. Spencerville finished third (78), while Bluffton was fourth (52) in the final team standings. There were 16 teams in both the girls and boys competition.
Minster boys coach Larry Topp said he has very high expectations for his team this season. Last season, his squad won the MAC title, district title, regional title and finished eighth at the Division III state meet.
“We knew we were going to be deep and we knew we had a lot of quality people coming back. We have a lot of people who have state experience. We’re just trying to heal up some bruises and nicks and I think we’ll be ready when the time comes,” Topp said.
Topp said even before his team begins the postseason tournament, it will be facing a huge challenge the week before. The always-competitive MAC tournament will be held at New Bremen on Tuesday and Friday.
“Our league meet is crazy,” Topp said. “People don’t understand why I put so much emphasis on it when I talk to people from other towns. They always say that it’s just a league meet. Well, our league meet is a little different. In no way are we going in there thinking that we are the top dog. We’re going to have to go in there and fight for everything we get.”
The Minster boys were strong in both the running and field events on Saturday. In the throwing events, Minster went 1-2 in the shot put and 1-3 in the discus. Ryan Will won the shot put with a mark of 50 feet, 7 1/2 inch; while teammate Wes Hegeman’s put of 47-3 earned him second place.
In the discus, Jacob Winner won with a toss of 164-5, while Will was third at 147-2.
Minster also excelled in the jumps. Derek Collins won the long jump with a mark of 21-3. In the high jump, Paul Dues took first with a clearance of 6-1.
Minster also took first in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays.
Versailles’ Sam Prakel won both the 1,600 (4:22.59) and 800 (1:55.96). In the 1,600, Prakel shadowed Minster’s Francis Slonkosky the first 1,200 meters and then on the final lap, Prakel separated from Slonkosky for the victory. Slonkosky’s time in the 1,600 was 4:32.03.
Slonkosky was very aware of Prakel’s race strategy.
“I was trying to keep my even splits. I know that every meet he really bursts out (in) that last lap. So, I’m trying to progress and stay with him. Maybe I’ll get him next time,” Slonkosky said with a smile.
For LCC, MyKale Rogers won the 200 (23.62) and was the anchor leg of the winning 400 relay (44.62) and 800 relay (1:33.40). Rogers placed second in the long jump (21-2 3/4).
The Minster girls were balanced, scoring in all but two events and winning four of them.
Minster coach Jessie Magoto said with just two seniors, her team is still searching for an identity.
“Our strengths are strong, but we have some holes. We had Kayla Wuebker vault 12-3, today. So, we’re real happy about that. Our relays were really strong. But like I said, ours strengths are there, but we still have some tweaking to do.”
Probably the most exciting race of the day was the girls 1,600. Versailles’ Tammy Berger, who won state in Division III last season in the 3,200 and was second in the 1,600, outkicked Bluffton’s Hannah Chappell-Dick down the stretch to win in a time of 5:08.29. Chappell-Dick finished in a personal-best of 5:10.84.
Chappell-Dick came back later in the day to win the 800 in 2:18.17.
“The legs actually felt O.K.,” Chappell-Dick said after winning the 800. “I found that doubling isn’t as hard. It’s just whatever your mental state is. Your mental state seems to be more limiting than your physical (state), in my opinion.”
Spencerville’s Kelli Ley looked strong on Saturday. Ley, who finished second at last year’s Division III state meet in the 400, set a new meet record in her specialty, winning in 59.35. Ley also won the 200 (26.44) and finished third in the 100 (12.66).
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