By Bruce Monnin
MINSTER -- The warm weather was nice for the fans at Saturday's Minster Memorial track meet, but the wind helped keep the times up with the only new meet records set in the pole vault competitions.
The boys side was almost a repeat of last year, as Minster built up a lead in the early events which was eventually overcome as the Versailles Tigers pulled out the victory with 104.5 points to Minster's 93.
The girls portion mirrored the boys, as Versailles grabbed the early advantage, only to have the Lady Wildcats make a late run to once again prove victorious on their home track. Versailles kept it close until late, when Minster pulled away with 133 points to outdistance the Lady Tigers' score of 97.
It was a two-team race for the boys title between Minster and Versailles. Despite only gaining one first-place finish by Tony Kremer in the discus, the Wildcats seized a 74 to 53.5 advantage in the points with only six events remaining in the meet.
"The discus was premier today with 159-feet (from winner Kremer) and 149-feet (from third place Dane Sommer). Those are some good distances," stated Minster coach Larry Topp. "It seems a lot like last year's team, where we don't win a lot (of events) but we come in with a lot of extra points. It's just a solid team."
Versailles proceeded to win three of the last six events, and outscored the Wildcats 51-19 to overtake them for the win.
"The guys' 4x800 and 4x400 did a tremendous job. I think it was a great day for Versailles overall," offered Versailles coach Steve Glasscoe. "We beat Minster at the Versailles Invitational, so they want to defend their track, just like we defended ours."
Versailles had six total top finishes on the day. Besides the two distance relays, Pete Bohman won the 400-meter, Mike Dammeyer won the 800-meter, Doug Knapke won the shot put and Grant Roush set a new meet record in the pole vault, clearing a height of 13-6.
Despite only one event win, Topp found much encouragement in the results.
"We closed the gap (on Versailles) a little bit. We had some nice things that happened out there. Brian Ashworth scored his first invitational point in the 3200 run. Austin Winner is starting to step it up in the mile as well as Casey Heckman in the two mile," pointed out Topp.
Marion Local edged out New Bremen for third place in the meet by three points. The Flyers won no events, but coach Matt Schmackers noted, "Lee Schweiterman and Matt Prenger finishing second and third in the high jump got us big points. Overall, there wasn't anything major that stuck out, it was just a solid effort."
New Bremen was led by top individual performer Troy Lammers, who won three events, the 200-meter run, the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles. Lammers' experience in the hurdles races at last year's state track has caused him to adjust how he approaches this season.
"I look at my times more, and I do a lot more work on my form and technique in practice," said the Cardinals' standout.
On the girls' side, it was Versailles taking the early 51-36 lead over Minster after nine events. But the Lady Wildcats responded by compiling six first-place and four-second place finishes while scoring 98 points in the last eight events.
Leading the way, in a manner that all too sadly gets shrugged off as routine these days, was Sunni Olding.
She started the day running the anchor leg on the winning 3200-meter relay team, then proceeded to grab dominating wins in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs.
The Minster girls also won the 1600-meter relay, as well as compiling a number of other event wins, including Allie Brown in the 400-meter run, Joanna Gruber in the 800-meter run and Kristen Shenk in the 300-meter hurdles.
Minster coach Kristen Heitkamp also noted Stacey Sudhoff's effort in placing second in the high jump, topping her personal best by four inches.
"She definitely had the biggest personal record today, but I think it was the overall strength of our girls today that was the shining moment. The field events and the early running events didn't necessarily go the girls' way but some of those girls stepped up in their later events showing the strength that they have," lauded Heitkamp.
Versailles coach Steve Glasscoe seemed pleased with the effort of his team, especially the younger members of his team.
"Our 400 relay came in second, with three sophomores and a freshman on the team. We have a lot of firepower that's young. We told the freshman girls they were going to get their baptism of fire today. There was a lot of hoopla about our freshman girls, I think they showed people that the hoopla is warranted," explained Glasscoe.
Marion Local finished fourth in the team standings. Pivotal to the Flyers' effort was the meet turned in by Abby Schulte, who won the 100 and 200 meter dashes and also anchored the victorious 800-meter relay team.
Schulte was fairly pleased with her results.
"I had my second best time in the 100 and one of my better times in the 200, so I was happy with that," stated Schulte. "My times have started out where I left off last year, so I just need to get them down and get back to state."
The New Bremen girls finished in fifth place in the team standings, just one point behind Marion Local.
Anna Schlater just missed out on winning an event, finishing second in the shot put and third in the discus.