By Bruce Monnin
COLDWATER -- The Minster boys and the New Bremen girls jumped out to early leads after the first events in the Midwest Athletic Conference track meet Tuesday night at Cavalier Stadium in Coldwater.
The Minster boys' total of 421/2 points provided a slim early lead over second-place Coldwater's total of 381/2 points. On the girls side, a string of high finishes led New Bremen to 35 points and a lead over second-place Minster with 31 points.
Despite the intermittent showers which plagued the event, three meet records were broken in the boys' portion of the event. The Versailles' 3,200-meter relay team cracked the record books early when they posted a time of 7:57.79, almost 10 seconds faster than the previous record.
New Bremen's Troy Lammers followed shortly thereafter, setting a new meet record in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.82 seconds. It was the start of a successful day for Lammers, who also qualified for the finals in the 100 dash, the 200 dash and the 300 hurdles, two of them with the best time in the field.
Another busy man was Coldwater's Ben Pax. He qualified eighth in the 100 dash, fifth in the 200 dash and helped the Cavalier 400-meter relay qualify with the sixth-best time. Meanwhile, he was going back-and-forth from the pole vault area, where he won the event while setting a new meet record by clearing a height of 14 feet, six inches. Last year the pole vault ended in the darkness over an hour and a half after the running events were complete with hundreds of fans watching. This year the event was less dramatic.
"It was definitely not the same atmosphere as last year," commented Pax. "I could actually see the plant box this year, which was definitely a benefit."
Meanwhile, Minster built its lead without any victories, but by claiming multiple placings in several events. Their strongest event was the long jump, where the WIldcats' Justin Meiring was just edged out by one inch by Parkway's Brandon Bowen, while Michael McVety finished fourth. Minster also had two athletes place in the discus and high jump.
The New Bremen girls grabbed their early lead on the strength of a third-place finish in the 3,200-meter relay, Liz Schnelle's second place in the high jump and Anna Schlater winning both the discus and the shot put. Indeed, the Cardinal throwers dominated, with Jeff Thobe also winning the shot put on the boys' side.
Schlater was able to advance to the state track meet in both events last year, and is hopeful for a return trip this season.
"I'm a lot better in shot put (than last year) and in discus I'm about the same," said Schlater.
Minster gained over half its points from Amy Kremer and Stacy Sudhoff's first-place and third-place finishes in the high jump. They also won the 3,200-meter relay, shaving four seconds off the time posted by last year's eventual state champion team.
Marion Local's Abby Schulte and Coldwater's Karla Niekamp were standouts in the running preliminaries. Schulte finished with the top qualifying times in the 100 and 200 dashes, while Niekamp posted the best times in the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles.
The finals of the meet will begin Friday night at 6 p.m. The Minster and Versailles girls are expected to be in a close contest for the MAC title, while on the boys side Coldwater, Versailles, Minster and New Bremen are the favorites.