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Despite a TUFF weather day in Martin, the Region 7A track meet went off without a hitch

Well Done Bennett County - Region track goes off without a hitch
May 19, 2017

I always kinda marvel at the behind-the-scenes folks that actually make track meets happen. So many people need to be on the same page with quite a lot of communication and organization and pitching in from a whole lotta people to make things just perfect.


I'll tell ya, yesterday could have been a logistical nightmare for the Matin-ites who had to deal with three days of soaking rain prior to the competition. Thursday was one of those days with off-and-on-rain and wind and just really tough, tuff condidtions.


And the meet went off without a hitch.


Shot and discus arenas that could have been muddy and sloppy were in great shape. Long and triple jump pits that could have been slippery and harsh held their own against the elements. 


Liked how the Bennett County crew took charge and moved to a rolling schedule and kept everyone on the same page with a couple of midfield meetings just to make sure all was done Well.


A trip down Memory Lane....

Alright, well, so, after not setting foot in Bennett County high school since May of 1985, I decided to suck it up and go see exactly how Bennett County high school had changed.


Kinda snuck in the back door of what I remember as the new building. Immediately greeted by Carrie McDonnell who gave me a nice tour of an expanded new building that now houses the entire high school.


A lot has changed, although the Bioligy room is still the Biology room. 


Course I got stuck at the trophy case and had a lot of good memories flutter back. One that I had kinda forgotten about was a state girls golf championship back from 1983 I think...Maneen Baker, Stacy Spiedel, Paula Sterkel and Jill Kennedy....Nice.


Mrs. McDonnell explained the paintings on the wall and that each class, since last year, now has an individual painting for each student, on the wall...Thought that was cool.


And then, Kenny Soderlin's daughter, who had been scrubbing down lockers, offered to take me over the old building.


Oooooh, the old building, which I knew, but was reminded that is now the junior-high building. 


Man, those old class photos are awesome hanging in the walls, and yes, I found 1985 - Upperclassmen take a dive, we're the Class of 85...Wheeoooowwww!!


Learned that the old shop was on the verge of being torn down, wonder how long that shop was up or if anyone remembers Scott Brill's story about accidentally letting the paint roller slide down Bob Hopkins' pants.


BRILL, GET IN HERE....or seomthing like that.

Nice seeing you Christy Allen (Finney)


At any rate, on to the track meet.

Couple of performers really caught my attention yesterday and I, a Bennett County alum, was damn proud of my true-grit performers Rachel Ireland and Elliot DuBray and my moment of the meet with hurdler Garrett Hodson. 


Rachel Ireland - All season long, Rachel Ireland knew that her chances of making it into the state track meet were slim. A talented phenom, Todd County 8th-grader, Caelyn Valandra-Prue is highly ranked in the 100, 200, 400 so Ireland knew her opportunities would be limited if she wanted to make the big dance!


And so, she and the Bennett County coaches decided to throw a curveball at the rest of the teams in Region 7A by stringing together a 4x800 team. The girls from Bennett County ran awesome and as Ireland, who may have run a sluggish 800, or two, in her lifetime (usually a 100, 200 gal) took the baton, the Warriors were in striking distance of 2nd place Todd County.


I knew the fate already before the anchor-carries went down. Todd County was anchoring, sophomore, Raven Cournoyer, a pre-qualifier in the 800 and knew she'd be able to handle anything thrown at her.


Ireland, inexperienced in the 800, but knowing this might be her TEAMS one shot to go to state, fought to stay with Cournoyer on the first lap. After one lap, Bennett County was in 4th, behind Red Cloud and Todd County. Ireland made a move at the 500 meter mark of her carry and passed Red Cloud.


And, she just kept coming, getting right up on the shoulder of Cournoyer, before fading a bit coming down the stretch.


I have a seriously wicked set of continuation photos of Ireland coming down the stretch in complete physical agony. One of her getting carried off the track by the TC coaches, and one where she's flat on her back with just about every muscle in her lower extremeties screaming at her for the bitchin effort she just gave.


She, and the Bennett County team didn't make the state meet, but the effort was awesome from all four relay participants.


Not long after, Ireland ripped from the starting blocks in the 100 meters to crank out a seasons best of 13.09 in the 100 meters to finish 2nd and qualify for state. 


Stopped at the Ireland house-hold on Sunday and said hello for a minute. Learned that Bennett County was bringing up some young ladies to throw together a 4x100 team and run competitively for the first time this year.


That team, anchored by Ireland finished 2nd and will be heading to state next week. (Sorry, I don't have all the names, but both relay squads, 4x800 and 4x100 ran to their max and were awesome)


True-Grit Elliot DuBray: 

One of the really interesting races for me was the boys mile. DuBray, running on his home track, took the lead early, but, on a windy cold day, got passed late in the race by runners from Winner and Todd County to finish 3rd.


One state opportunity missed!


And so, as the Bennett County squad lined up for the medley relay with DuBray anchoring, the BC senior got the baton in third, quite a ways behind Todd County and just behind Little Wound. 


DuBray passed Little Wound, but, about 400 meters into the 800 anchor carry, Little Wound passed DuBray and the senior looked shot.  Don't know where he found the strength to dig deep, but Elliot passed Little Wound and hauled it in for a 2nd place finish and a lock to the state track meet.


About 45 minutes later, running schedule, DuBray lined up for the 2-mile. With just two spots available, DuBray took all the guess work out of the 'am I going to make it category', pulled away in the second half of the race and claimed a Region championship.


Garrett Hodson comes through:

Heading into the region meet, the 110 hurdles field looked crowded. All season long, Hodson, who four-steps the hurdles, has been inching down from 20 to 19 to 18...


On Thursday, Hodson ran a controlled, and near perfect race to win the region title. As Hodson ran back to share the news with his teammates, he remarked that his time was 17.99....First time under the 18-second barrier, at the biggest meet of the year...good stuff.


Notes for Bennett County folks: 

1. A lot of compliments from other region coaches and region track fans who were very complimentary of the facilities. Love how the field events are right there and how the field is so viewer friendly. Some serious thought went into putting that faciity together....AWESOME!


2. Mike Olson showed me the wrestling facilities - Mike kinda startled me with his wearing Sioux Falls Washington attire. "They gave it to 50-year graduates," Mr. Olson told me. But, was able to take a quick tour of the wrestling facilities and I gotta say, me, and my buddy from Winner, were highly impressed. That room is awesome.


Great stuff Bennett County!!

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