Monday, March 31st, 2008
By Bruce Monnin
Local girls brave the cold in first track meet
  VERSAILLES - It was a cold way to start the track season, as the temperature didn't rise above the freezing level until the preliminaries were well underway. Fortunately, the sun came out and the temperature rose (somewhat) as area girls track teams got their first taste of competition for the year.
Minster emerged victorious in the Orange Division of this three-division meet. Versailles was first and Marion Local second in the White Division, while St. Marys took third place in the Black Division.
With the calendar being so early and the temperature so low, area track coaches were just happy to see their athletes competing.
"We just try to get everyone involved," commented Marion Local coach Matt Schmackers. "The first meet gives me a gage on the team, since you really don't know what they can do yet."
"There are only 15 days of practice before the first meet," confirmed Minster coach Cindy Nelson. "As of now I'm impressed with the girls' performances. Some are running times which compare with the end of last season."
For the athletes, a common refrain was heard throughout the day as performances did not match up to results obtained at the end of last season. "It's only the first meet," they would reason, "and it's cold!"
Orange Division
It was like old times for Minster, as the Lady Wildcats won all four relay races. Becca Steineman placed first in the discus and second in the shot put, while Sarah Huelsman added another field event win in the pole vault. Alyssa Kemper claimed a win in the 200 dash, and the Wildcats gained big points in the distance events with 1-2 finishes in the 1,600 run (Bernadette Burke and Jessica Albers) and the 3,200 run (Averie and Lei Bornhorst).
New Bremen's fourth-place finish was fueled in part by Taylor Jones' double victories in the long jump and 400 dash, while Renee Dicke chipped in with the title in the 300 hurdles.
White Division
Versailles' winning margin came from similar sources as Minster's. The Lady Tigers took distance points with wins in the 1,600 and 3,200 relays, as well as 1-2 finishes in both the 1,600 run (Mary Prakel and Katie Mestemaker) and the 3,200 run (Kristen Schulte and Taylor Huffman).
Other winning performances for Versailles included Josie Caglianone in the pole vault, Olivia Liette in the 300 hurdles and Mary Prakel in both the 400 dash and 800 run.
In its second-place finish, Marion Local benefited greatly from a double win by Kathy Dirksen in the shot put and discus. The Flyers took a great many points from the sprint races, winning the 400 and 800 relays while Elizabeth Reichert scored a first-place finish in the 100 dash. Late in the meet, Abby Schmitmeyer's second-place finish in the pole vault provided the points needed for Marion Local to eke past Anna for second place.
St. Henry finished fourth in the team competition. The lone Redskin win came in the 100 hurdles as Carla Nietfeld bested the field.
Black Division
The girls from St. Marys claimed third place in the larger school Black Division. The Roughriders were led by three individual event wins. All three victories came in the field event portion of the meet.
Freshman Mekayla Breland outthrew a duo from Brookville to claim victory in the shot put and Sarah Wolfe cleared one height more than the rest of the field to win the high jump. In the pole vault, Leslie Humphries' height of 9-7 was not only the best in any division on the day, it was over a foot and a half better than any of her competition in the Black Division.
Next Saturday it is the boys' turn to compete at Versailles in the Versailles Invitational.
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