Strong showing for ’Cats at Douglas

Jason Ferguson

The Custer High School track team continued its strong early-season showing at the Douglas Early Bird track meet, using the warm weather and relative lack of wind to bring home multiple medals in a multitude of events.
“Holy cow, it was warm,” head coach Karen Karim said. “It wasn’t even really windy and it’s always windy (at Douglas). We just go from one (weather) extreme to the other.”
Kellyn Kortemeyer again led the way for the girls team, winning both throwing events with ease. Kortemeyer won the shot put with a top throw of 43-10, which was nearly 10 feet farther than teammate Hannah Golder, who placed second with a top throw of 34-1 1/2 feet. Kortemeyer also won the discus with a best throw of 117-10.
Anna Lewis also had a strong day at the meet, as she won the 300 hurdles in a time of 49.51, while also placing second in the 100 hurdles at a time of 17.28.
The other girls championship came from the 3200 relay team of Ramsey Karim, Eva Studt, Brit Wheeler and Kadense Dooley, who combined to run a time of 10:16.38.
Karim said she was impressed with all of Custer’s relay teams—both boys and girls—as they have had little time or good weather to practice baton handoffs.
“We need some work on our handoffs and starts, but the kids haven’t had a decent day on the track to practice,” she said.
Ramsey Karim grabbed an individual second place finish in the 800, running a time of 2:26.48, while the medley relay team of Dooley, Sydney Gaulke, Rachel Miklos and Jordyn Larsen grabbed a second place finish in a time of 4:44.19. Larsen also placed eighth in the 100 at 13.59 before eventually shutting things down for the day due to a slight tweak in her leg.
Other Wildcat individual placewinners included Wheeler placing eighth in the 1600 at 6:20.57, Torri Virtue placing sixth in the shot put at 31-5 and Shaylee Gramkow placing seventh in the long jump at 15-7 3/4.
Two other girls relay teams placed for the Wildcats, including the 1600 team of Larsen, Karim, Lewis and Dooley placing sixth at 4:29.15 and the second medley relay team of Bailey Cass, Maya Tennyson, Emma Helfer and Shayleigh Forgey placing seventh at 5:03.62.
The boys team had two individual champions, including Mikael Grace, who won the 110 hurdles in a time of 16.37. Ashton Dekker was the other Wildcat champion when he won the pole vault with a top height of 10-6.
Two Wildcat relays finished in first place as well, as the 3200 team of Gage Grohs, Kaleb Wragge, Alex Van Horn and Miles Ellman won a gold medal with a time of 8:44.97, while the sprint medley team of Landon Leighton, Sam Wise, Sam Gaulke and Wragge did the same in a time of 4:01.98.
Karim pointed out that the sprinters on the medley relay team aren’t even the team’s fastest sprinters, pointing to the depth the boys team has in the sprints this season.
“We are going down the depth chart and they still put them in a position to win,” she said. “We haven’t had that luxury in a while.”
One of those top sprinters, Blake Boyster, had another strong day on the track, as he placed second in the 200 at 23.06, third in the 100 at 11.41 and second in the 400 at 53.76. Other individual second-place finishes came from Sam Furse and Joel Tramp in the pole vault, as the two tied for second place with top heights of 9-0.
Two Wildcat relay teams finished in second place. The 400 relay team of Boyster, Gage Tennyson, Daniel Sedlacek and Nolan Saufley was just nipped at the line at a time of 45.49, while the 1600 team of Ellman, Wragge, Grace and Jace Kelley finished second at 3:39.15. Ellman also finished third in the 800, shaving eight seconds off his personal record in running a 2:05.62.
“If we can keep from getting hurt, the distance kids are just going to keep getting better,” Karim said, pointing out Preston Drew placed sixth in the 3200 at 11:02 in his first time running the race this year. “I’m impressed with the shape they are in. We’ve come off some bad weather and haven’t done any incredibly hard or fast workouts on the track.”
Individual fourth place finishes came from Saufley at 45.49, while Kelley was fourth in the high jump with a top height of 5-8. The 800 relay team of Kelley, Grace, Saufley and Tony Plaisted also placed fourth at a time of 1:37.74.
Gage Tennyson placed fifth in both the long jump and triple jump, with best distances of 20-6 3/4 and 38-9 1/4, respectively. Justin Doyle and Sedlacek rounded out the Wildcat placing by finishing seventh in the shot put and eighth in the 200, respectively.
The Wildcats will next take to the track next Friday when they head north to the Queen City Invitational in Spearfish. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Lyle Hare Stadium on the campus of Black Hills State University.
“The level of competition went up this week and next week at Spearfish it will hopefully increase,” Karim said.

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