The parking lot, which is normally close to empty on Fridays in the summer, boasted numerous vehicles with license plates from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota, in addition to the South Dakota ones. What was even more unexpected was the lack of a brisk wind.
Swisher Field is almost always windy, but much to the relief of athletes, fans and workers at the Region 8 Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships on Friday, the wind conditions of none to a little breeze were more than comfortable. The meet, which kicked off on Thursday, was buffeted by wind the first day.
The region meet, which advances individuals to the national meet in Greensboro, N.C., on July 22-28, completed multi-events on Friday, along with a race walk, steeplechase and handful of field events.
Today’s schedule, which begins at 8 a.m. at Swisher Field, features finals in the 3,000-meter run, 200- and 400-meter hurdles, and 400- and 3,200-meter relays, along with full slate of field events. Semifinals in several events highlight the afternoon schedule.
Athletes of various ages found success on Friday.
Spoken like a true track athlete
One of the younger competitors at the track meet sounds like a veteran already.
Ten-year-old Lauren Harris of Omaha, Neb., won the 9-10 girls’ triathlon which is made up of three events, a 200-meter dash, shot put and high jump. For winning her age division, Harris received a medal and got to take the top spot on the awards stand.
“It feels pretty good to win, but I wasn’t here to get the first prize,” said Harris, who will attend fifth grade this fall at Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School. “I was here to get PRs (personal best times and distances).”
Harris, who arrived in Aberdeen on Thursday, will also compete in the three open events that make up the triathlon so she will be in the city until Sunday. This is her first trip to the state of South Dakota.
“We heard about the triathlon from one of the coaches and since I was already doing those three open events, we decided to go for it,” she said.
Harris plans to attend the national meet in the triathlon and will see what takes place in her other three open events. She’s hoping for some good times and marks, and medals are just an added bonus.
South Dakotan tops in triathlon
A Pierre elementary school athlete topped the field in the boys’ 9-10 triathlon. The boys’ competition includes a 400-meter dash, shot put and high jump.
Isaac Polak, 10, won the shot put, his best event, tied for first in the high jump and placed second in the 400-meters on his way to the win.
“I did as well as I would want to,” said Polak, who attends St. Joseph Elementary school. “I was glad about what I did.”
He’s not going to nationals this year.