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Monday, April 19th, 2010

Minster sweeps Memorial crowns

By Bruce Monnin

New Bremen's Kyla Otting, left, and Minster's Amanda Sherman, right, compete in. . .

MINSTER - While fighting exceptionally windy conditions, the Minster boys and girls swept both team titles at the 34th Annual Minster Memorial Invitational track meet on Saturday. In a switch from what has often occurred in the past, the Minster boys were the most dominant of the two squads, easily winning their portion of the meet while the girls achieved a narrow victory.
The Minster boys won five events while accumulating 109.5 points to outdistance Houston (75 points) and Versailles (72 points).
The Minster girls won only two events, but used team depth to score 111.5 points, edging Versailles with 101 points and third-place Spencerville (81 points).
The Minster boys cruised to victory behind their victories in five events. While in recent years it was often the field events which staked the Wildcats to an early lead in the competition, this year it was the sprinters who racked up the big points.
Sam Phlipot was the star of the day, winning both the 100- and 200-meter dashes (and setting a meet record in the 200-meter dash). His sprinting partner, Ty Whitford, finished second in the 100 and fourth in the 200 to compile extra points for the Wildcats.
These two were also part of the race of the day, as the Wildcat 800-meter relay team set a new meet record. They needed to run a record time as the second- and third-place teams from Versailles and St. Marys also bettered the previous meet record. Phlipot and Whitford later combined with Oliver Barga and Eric Piening to finish second in the 1600-meter relay.
Barga won another event in one of the more tactical races of the day, the 800-meter run. This result was nowhere near the meet record as Barga admitted he coasted a little on the first lap, just keeping near the front so that he could outsprint his competitors for the victory.
The final Wildcat win came from sophomore Derek Collins, who set his personal record with a jump of 20-3 to go five inches longer than Marion Local's Taylor Stucke in the long jump.
Besides the event winners, coach Larry Topp pointed out that Francis Slonkosky trimmed 14 seconds off of his personal best time in the 3200-meter run in order to earn third place for the Wildcats.
Other local teams also performed well, including St. Marys in fourth (58 points), New Bremen in sixth (56 points), Parkway in ninth (44 points) and Marion Local in 10th (42 points).
The Roughriders did not win any events, but earned second places with their 400-meter relay team and from Scott Kinkley in the high jump. The majority of their remaining points came from a trio of third places and three fourth-place finishes.
New Bremen took home two event wins on the afternoon. Caleb Williams found the Minster high jump pit to his liking, as his winning jump of 6-2 was his personal best for both the season and his career.
Zach Speckman took the other Cardinal win as he edged out Parkway's Hank Bevington in the 110-meter hurdles. The recent years have seen several Cardinal versus Panther rivalries in the boys' hurdles, and this year it appears fans will be treated to more of the same.
While Bevington just missed out on the win column with his second place in the 110 hurdles and third place in the 300 hurdles, Parkway fans did get to see an event win from Jason Ford in the shot put. His throw of 47-8.5 was good enough to outdistance Minster's Brendon Conrad by three inches.
On the girls' side, the scoreboard showed a tight race between Minster and Versailles as the running events were coming to a close. But what many of the fans did not realize was that in the northeast corner of the track, Kayla Wuebker and Sarah Huelsman were claiming first and second place in the pole vault, providing what would turn out to be the point difference in the meet.
Huelsman's second-place vault of 10-3 was her best of the season and only one inch shy of her career-best performance that she turned in at the state meet last season. For Wuebker, far and away the smoothest looking vaulter on the day, her 11-0 performance was the best of the sophomore's career.
The Lady Wildcats' only other win of the meet was in the 3200-meter relay, as members of the defending state cross country championship team showed their skills in the longest of the relay races.
Besides the big points in the pole vault, the key to victory was Minster's team depth, as it scored 24 times in the 17 events of the day. Meanwhile, runner-up Versailles won five events, but only scored a total of 17 times overall.
With so many of her runners scoring, coach Cindy Nelson had many heroes, one of whom was sophomore Heather Schmiesing, who set a personal record in the high jump by clearing 5-0 to finish third, while also finishing third in the long jump.
New Bremen finished sixth in the team standings with 43 points, followed closely in seventh by St. Marys with 42 points and Marion Local in eighth with 39.5 points.
New Bremen's Elaynne Speckman was another area winner, as she scored a mild upset in winning the 300-meter hurdles and provided the Speckman family with their second hurdles win on the day.
Mekayla Breland was the top performer for the Roughriders, winning both the shot put and the discus. Her throw of 41-0 1/2 bested the rest of the field by over four feet, but she was less pleased with her winning throw in the discus of just 109-9, far shorter than she had done at Elida last week.
There were no event winners for Marion Local and Parkway, though the Flyers did earn third places with their 800-meter relay team and from Rachel Hess in the 400-meter dash while Tara Luth placed fourth in the long jump for the Panthers.
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