Monday, May 6th, 2013
St. Henry boys win title; Marion Local girls second
By Bruce Monnin
St. Henry's Paul Niekamp finished tied for second in the pole vault with a top m. . .
NEW BREMEN - Many local track teams took the opportunity Saturday to compete in one last weekend invitational before moving on to upcoming county and league championship meets.
The regular season ending Cardinal Invitational at New Bremen featured St. Henry's boys using their strength in distance events to overcome Sidney Lehman's standout sprinters.
In the girls' portion of the meet, Marion Local scored big in the field events and relays, but fell short of Russia's strong scoring in the distance events.
St. Henry's boys bookended the meet with wins in the first and last contested events. The Redskins opened the meet with the team of Scott Knapke, Aaren Hemmelgarn, Spencer Schulze and Jacob Rindler winning the 3,200 relay. Kevin Mestemaker followed by winning the pole vault with a top effort of 13 feet, a foot and a half better than his closest competition.
As Lehman Catholic's Justin Stewart earned big points by winning the 100- and 400-meter dashes and finishing second in the 200 meters, the Redskins needed several wins to keep up.
Adam Reichert provided a win in the 300-meter hurdles, shattering his old personal best.
"That was the best race I ever ran," he admitted afterwards with a grin on his face.
St. Henry's boys also earned three other dominating wins. Aaren Hemmelgarn won the 1600 meters with a season-best performance and then completed the distance double with a win in the 3,200 meters. He used two Sidney runners to take the wind for him during the first three laps and then succeeded in his goal of finishing in a time under 10 minutes.
"Winning the double in this wind really hurts," admitted Hemmelgarn. "But if you want to win, you have to go."
Jacob Rindler won the 800 meters with his best time of the season. Rindler sprinted out to a five-second lead after one lap, then completed the run in under two minutes.
The Redskins entered the 1,600 relay, the final event, one point behind Lehman Catholic and they needed to finish in seventh place for the team title. After legs by Adam Reichert, Tanner Wourms and Matt Meier, the Redskins were in third place by about 15 meters when they gave the baton to their anchor, Jacob "The Hammer" Rindler. Rindler lived up to his coach's nickname by quickly catching Anna and Marion Local and then pulling away down the homestretch for the St. Henry win.
New Bremen's Parker Manger earned another win for local athletes by winning the long jump by half an inch over Spencerville's Colton Miller. Parkway also got into the win column when the team of Jacob Stein, Dakota Hucke, Adam Carr and Cody Carmean won the 400 relay.
On the girls' side, Marion Local took the early lead in the team standings with three wins in the field events. Madison Chrisman was able to outthrow Spencerville's Abby Freewalt by a single inch in the discus. About the same time, Gina Kramer was able to win the high jump over St. Marys' Erin Kinkley thanks to the tie-breaker of having fewer missed jumps.
Olivia Hemmelgarn added to the Flyers' lead by winning the pole vault. She set a new meet record with a vault of 10-6 and edged St. Marys' Kelly Heitkamp on a tie-breaker.
Russia eventually passed Marion Local by winning six running events, but the Flyers kept it close with a second place in the 400 relay and a win in the 1,600 relay. Along with winning the pole vault, Hemmelgarn was also part of both relays (along with Rose Berning, Alyssa Homan and Gina Kramer in the 1,600).
The only other local girl to earn an event win was Parkway's Emilie Baker. She turned in an impressive victory in the 300-meter hurdles, posting a time that was over second faster than the rest of the field.
Many of these same teams will be participating next week in the Mercer County meet on Thursday and Friday in Coldwater.