By Paul Downer
By Paul Downer
Nine athletes from Central High School competed in the section track meet at Mankato West on Saturday, June 2.
While none of those individuals advanced to the state tournament, several did finish the season strong by posting their best results of the season.
Parry Larson came the closest to qualifying for the state tournament, taking third place in the triple jump (34 feet, one-half inch).
"Parry was in second place after the preliminaries in the triple jump. In the finals a Fairmont athlete came up big on her final jump and nudged her out by a couple inches," said Raiders head coach Gary Kosek.
Larson also competed in the 3,200-meter run (13:25), finishing 16th.
Three other Central athletes posted personal bests in their respective events. Lexi Erpenbach took fifth in the long jump (15-11), Bailey Cook took sixth place in the high jump (5-1) and Alex Wischnack ran a 4:53 mile to take 12th place.
Cook reached the standard state-qualifying jump of 5-3 for the high jump, but was unable to clear the bar at that height.
Other individual competitors for the Central girls included Sami Jo Brinkmann, who took sixth in the shot put (36-3) and Abby Schnable, who took 14th in the triple jump (30-7).
The girls’ 4×200 relay team of Cook, Erpenbach, Nicole Miller and Marissa Sullivan also took eighth place (1:54).
Other competitors for the boys included Adam Neubarth, who took fifth place in the discus (137-5) and Dan Stuewe, who took 10th in the shot put (43-4).
Kosek said he was pleased overall with the day’s results.
"Our kids competed very well at sections," he said.
The Central girls’ squad took sixth place in the Minnesota River Conference this season, and the boys finished eighth.
While the overall team finishes were not particularly memorable, there were a number of positives to look back on.
"Some highlights of our season were the girls winning two consecutive meets late in the season and our boys throwers consistently placing three spots in both shot and discus during the season," said Kosek.
Kosek added that a talented group of seniors will be missed next season.
"We had a great senior class. Not only will our track team miss these seniors, the whole athletic department will look for underclassmen to step up in all sports, as many of these kids were multiple sport standouts," he said.
Despite the graduation of many quality athletes, the track program has a bright future.
"We have reason for optimism going into next year as we return six of the 10 section participants," said Kosek. "Our junior high program had good numbers with the girls winning the conference meet."