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Tigers 2nd in Missota

New Prague and Farmington once again pulled away from the pack at last Thursday's Missota Conference track and field championships.

Each of the conference's eight teams won at least one of the meet's 18 events, but the Trojans claimed five event championships in piling up 188 team points. Runner-up Farmington won four events and totaled 170.5 points, 10 fewer than it would have had if not for being disqualified after a second-place and school-record finish in the 4x800 relay.

The 4x800 team of Isaiah Rockett, Nathan Wyatt, Levi Freetly and Ryan Monroe combined to circle the track eight times in a school-record time of 8:13, with Monroe stumbling across the finish line just off the pace of first-place New Prague. But shortly after, it was discovered Monroe also competed in two other events of 800 meters or longer, a violation of a Minnesota State High School League rule that states an athlete may not compete in more than two events of that distance in one meet.

It wasn't the first time that rule cost the Farmington track program. As it turned out, the Farmington girls team broke the same rule 15 minutes earlier. Jackie Beckett, Bailey Opsal, Devyn Alberts and Kaitlyn Mincke combined to win the girls' 4x800, but that race was one of three disqualified after Opsal competed in the 800 and 3,200 later in the meet.

The same thing happened to the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton boys track team two weeks ago at its Section 3A True Team meet in Slayton. TMB's standout distance runner Ryan Tholen won the 1,600 and 800 and helped his team place second in the 4x800, but all 81 points Tholen helped score were wiped off the board after the violation was discovered, costing the Panthers a trip to the Class A True Team State Meet.

Luckily for the Tigers, the MSHSL doesn't consider an athlete competing in three events of 200 meters or fewer to be a safety concern. Senior speedster Josh Jackson was well within the rules when he won the 100 in 11.16, the 200 in 22.18 and helped the 4x100 cross the finish line first in a school-record and Missota Conference-record time of 42.95. Derek Waldbillig, Adam Sturm and open 100 runner-up Jordan Hauschild (11.35) rounded out the relay.

Hauschild and Sturm joined Harrison Agbor-Eyong and Josh Zitzmann in claiming the 4x200 in 1:31.32, just over a second off the pace of runner-up Shakopee. Zitzmann went on to place second in the 300 hurdles in a sharp time of 39.59 and third in the 110 highs in 16.01. Agbor-Eyong provided fourth-place finishes in both hurdle races, running times of 16.46 and 41.35.

The Tigers claimed two more solid scoring doubles in the 400 and 800. Kevin Johnson was third in the 400 in 52.28, just ahead of teammate Andrew Thomas' fourth-place 52.90. In the 800, Freetly placed third in 2:05.20 and Rockett was two hundredths of a second back in fourth.

Rockett, Johnson, Thomas and Brent Beenken closed out the meet by combining on a fourth-place clocking of 3:34.43 against a tough field in the 4x400 relay.

Mike Bendix scored valuable points in three field events for the Tigers. He finished third in the triple jump with a leap of 42-6.75, fourth in the long jump with a jump of 19-10.75 and tied for fifth in the high jump, clearing 5-10. Teammates Drew Schaeppi and Jake Gerten each cleared 11 feet in the pole vault to place ninth and 11th, respectively, and Michael Amofah was seventh in the triple jump at 41-11.25.

Newcomer Logan Hussung continued his rapid improvement in the throwing events, placing second in the shot put with a toss of 50-1 and eighth in the discus with a spin of 131-5.

Wyatt bounced back from his leg of the 4x800 to place third in the 1,600 in 4:44.80. Teammate Joe Simonsen was eight seconds back in seventh place.

The Tigers compete again today at the Section 1AA Meet at Lakeville South High School. Events get under way at 1:15 p.m. Athletes who meet the qualifying standards will wrap up their seasons at the Class AA State Meet June 6-7 at Hamline University in St. Paul.