By Rich Winter
If you look at the list of automatic qualifiers for the CLASS A 800 meters you will see Mr. Basketball, AJ Plitzuweit clocked in at 2:02.74...According to that list, Plitzuweit is the 9th fastest Class A 800 meter runner in the state.
Don't look at that list!!
At the Region 4A track meet last week, the Augustana basketball recruit got near the Holy Grail of high-school 800's as he clocked a sizzling, 2:00.95. As AJ steps into that race on Friday afternoon in Spearfish, he'll be in the fast heat. What strikes a chord with me is the guys he's going to be running with are kind of the heavy-weights of cross-country. AJ is a basketball guy that runs track and he's going to be right there with the big dogs...Ty Trainor of St. Thomas More, Derick Peters of West Central, Cooper Hitt and Lance VanZee of Sioux Falls Christian.
But it doesn't end there for Mr. Plitzuweit.
While a lot of kids that have secured their future with a basketball scholarship to Division 11 Augustana might not have laced em up for track their senior season, Mr. Basketball and his Tanager teammates have some unfinished business.
4x800 Relay - One of the first events on Friday morning is going to be the 4x800 relay. Four guys sprinting two laps and Vermillion is good, dang good.
At the Howard Wood Dakota Relays in early May, Vermillion finished 2nd, clocking an 8:22.04.
Sioux Falls Christian has run 8:13.66 but Vermillion has run 8:22.04 with Custer clocking an 8:23.58.
It's gonna be fun and very, VERY fast!
Vermillion's Tommy Nikkel, an emerging and very talented 9th grader has the 2nd fastest 400 meter time coming into state 50.91.
800 meters and Medley relay: Ok, so late afternoon Mr. Plitzuweit gets his shot in the 800 meters. Just prior to that event is the Medley Relay (200, 200, 400 and 800).
Vermillion has the 4th fastest medley time in the state clocking a 3:39 at Howard Wood. Someone will have to anchor that preliminary, hopefully fast enough to get the Tanagers into the finals where Plitzuweit would likely anchor.
Distance guy, Justin Sorenson is pre-qualified in the 1600 and 3200 meter events. The 3200 is the event right after the 800 meters.
After the 3200 meters comes the 200 meters and then, the MILE RELAY.
Only four teams pre-qualified for this event this season....
1.Sioux Falls Christian3:28.24
2.St. Thomas More3:31.40
Not sure if everyone saw this but at the Region 4B meet last week, Vermillion ran a 3:32.56
(Matt Bierle and AJ Plitzuweit and freshman Bryce Stockwell and Tommy Nikkel)
That last event is a bugger but tough guys will get through. Can't wait to see the Tanagers get out there and COMPETE.
One last run for Maddie Lavin...
So young Maddie Lavin is finally a senior. She's been good for so long I thought she was a senior when she was a sophomore but this is it, her last run at the state meet.
While there have been a lot of solo runs for Lavin, usually in the 1600 and 3200, this time she's got some teammates going low with her.
Vermillion has some very nice 400 and 800 relays this year that should be in the thick of things....But, the longer distance relays get interesting.
The Vermillion 4x800 looks dangerous!
They pre-qualified for the event with a 9:57, BUT, with not a lot of competition at the Region 4A meet they ran their best time of the year, 9:56
Some big-time teams at the top of this list and this race, early Friday morning is gonna be hells-interesting.
1.St. Thomas More9:53.08
Vermillion's Medley relay team, anchored by Lavin, finished 2nd at Howard Wood with a blistering time of 4:16....Not sure if Lavin will anchor that relay in the prelims as she's got the 3200 scheduled shortly after that.
Here are your 3200 meter contenders.
1.Simmons, Karlee 11:18.20Hill City
3.Byers, Ella 11:26.66Chamberlain
Lavin is a tough, cagey veteran and if she doesn't run the medley 800 in the prelims...LOOK OUT!
The 1600 meter run on Saturday will be Lavin's last in a Vermillion uniform...And it is going to be a special clash!
On Friday, Custer senior, Tori Glazier will be going for a 6th consecutive state title in the 800 meters. On Saturday, Lavin, Glazier and all of the heavy-weights of South Dakota distance running clash...
It used to be in the Class A 1600 you could run 5:32 in the Class A 1600 and get a medal. These days, not close...
1600m Run - 5:24.23
3.Byers, Ella 5:13.84Chamberlain
6.Hohn, Marion 5:21.81Hill City
7.Simmons, Karlee 5:22.54Hill City
Looking for the Vermillion girls to be among the top teams. They have some good shot-put and discus people and a ton of depth.