NEW BREMEN — With the postseason tournament less than three weeks away, area track-and-field coaches are trying to assess where their athletes stand in their respective events.
St. Henry coach Nathan Helmstetter got a good gauge at Saturday’s Cardinal Invitational at New Bremen, when his boys team slipped past a very solid Sidney Lehman Catholic squad, 94-85. Spencerville finished third (74), while Sidney was fourth (66). There were 12 teams at the invitational.
On the girls side, Russia pulled away from Marion Local for the team title, 134-120. Spencerville finished third (88) and Sidney was fourth (78).
Leading the way for St. Henry was senior Aaren Hemmelgarn. The Ohio Northern University-bound Hemmelgarn won the 1,600 meters, 3,200 meters and was part of the winning 3,200-meter relay.
To start the day, Hemmelgarn anchored the 3,200 relay, which won in a time of 8 minutes, 36.67 seconds.
Later on, Hemmelgarn came back to run the 1,600. He led from start to finish, clocking a time of 4:35.
In the 3,200, Hemmelgarn took over after the third lap and ran away with the victory in 9:59.
“Coming back in a double with this kind of wind, it really hurts,” Hemmelgarn said about the 3,200. “You have to push hard. It’s one of those things where you just kind of go. If you want to win, you have to go.
“I just decided that they were going out at what I normally would have, so I just let them take the wind the first three laps and then I ran my race from there and tried to go as fast as I could to break 10 (minutes).”
Lincolnview sophomore Bayley Tow finished close behind Hemmelgarn in the 1,600 (4:38) and was third in the 3,200 (10:11). Tow knew Hemmelgarn would push the pace, especially in the 1,600.
“I kind of figured he would go out there, because that’s his mentality as a senior,” Tow said. “He’s setting kind of a dominance thing. So, the idea (for me) is to stay as close to him as possible, let him drag me up to better times and keep pushing myself mentally throughout those races.”
Hemmelgarn feels confident that not only will he do well in the postseason, individually, but the 3,200 relay also should have a chance to go far.
“We made it to state last year (in the 3,200 relay), but we lost two good runners (Doug Lefeld and Kevin Knapke to graduation). So, it’s going to be hard to replace them, but we have two good sophomores doing the best that they can. So, I hope we can do what we need to in order to get to the state meet again,” Hemmelgarn said.
In the 800, Hemmelgarn’s teammate Jacob Rindler ran well, winning in 1:59. Rindler has not been full strength, lately. So, his performance on Saturday gave Helmstetter a great deal of confidence. Rindler also ran both the 3,200 relay and 1,600 relay (first place, 3:37.46).
“He’s been real gutsy for us all year long. Hopefully, he’s starting to get healed as we head into (the) conference (meet),” Helmstetter said of Rindler.
With his team scoring well in most events on Saturday, Helmstetter feels confident of his team’s chances as the conference meet approaches.
“Hopefully, this will help catapult us into some big things. With the MAC meet two weeks away, it really is a good measuring stick for us,” he said.
For the Spencerville girls team, Abby Freewalt took second in both the shot put (36 feet) and discus (106-5).
New Bremen Invitational