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Boys Track & Field: Tigers dominate at Missota meet

The Tigers' latest conference track and field championship was no different. Coach Brian Helmstetter's athletes won seven events, crowned six individual champions and turned in 17 top-three finishes in piling up a first-place total of 235 points at Thursday's Missota Conference Championships at Prior Lake High School.

Defending champion New Prague was well off the pace in second place with 175.5 points and Red Wing was the only other team to reach triple digits with 115 points.

"The guys are proud of what they accomplished and understand the hard work and dedication it took to achieve a conference championship," Helmstetter said.

A trio of triples highlighted the day for the Tigers. Senior sprinter Josh Jackson added to his long list of conference crowns with three first-place finishes and Josh Zitzmann and Logan Hussung accomplished the rare feat of being a part of three straight Missota Conference championship teams in one school year. Zitzmann, a senior, was an all-state selection as a receiver, returner and cornerback for the football team and an all-conference player for the basketball team, while Hussung, a junior, was the go-to receiving tight end on the gridiron and a solid post player on the hardwood.

Jackson did all his damage on the track. He started Thursday's finals with a winning time of 11.05 seconds in the 100-meter dash, then came back four events later to anchor the 4x100 relay team of Zitzmann, Derek Waldbillig and Adam Sturm to a first-place clocking of 43.64. Jackson capped off his day with a 22.33 that easily claimed the top spot in the open 200.

Zitzmann earned an individual conference title of his own and went on to finish near the top in two other events. He opened Thursday with a winning time of 15.09 in the 110 hurdles, then went on to place second in the 300 hurdles in 40.36 and third in the triple jump behind teammate Michael Amofah, who won the event by covering 43 feet, 2.25 inches.

In Tuesday's long jump final, Amofah secured his first Missota title with a school-record long jump of 21-11.25. That leap broke the previous record of 21-9 that was set in 1991.

The Tigers' other individual victory came in the 400 where Isaiah Rockett and Andrew Thomas crossed the finish line 1-2. Rockett, who also anchored both the 4x800 and 4x400 relays to runner-up finishes, won the event in 51.99. Thomas was second in 52.89.

The 4x800, which clocked in at 8:15.30, was rounded out by David Zitzmann, Ryan Monroe and Levi Freetly. The 4x400 also included Thomas, Freetly and Monroe and brought the baton home in 3:29.33

Freetly went solo for a fourth-place time of 2:04.61 in the open 800 and Monroe ran a sharp 4:41.56 to place fourth against a tough field in the 1,600.

The 4x200 relay also ran into some tough competition in Thursday's final. After posting the meet's best prelim time on Tuesday, the foursome of Waldbillig, Drew Schaeppi, Tanner Fuchs and Matt Shutey slipped to third by 47-hundredths of a second in the finals.

The Tigers also found themselves just short of a couple of first-place finishes in the field events. Hussung was just off the pace of Red Wing standout Luke Johnson in both the shot put and discus as he placed second in each event with tosses of 56-4.5 and 153-2, respectively.

Jake Lippert added a third-place leap of 6-2 in the high jump.