SPEARFISH, S.D. | Maddie Lavin wants to go out with a bang and she wants to take her Vermillion teammates with her.
Lavin anchors a medley relay that established a Region 4A meet record 4:21.76 last Thursday at Dakota Valley’s Robert Christensen Memorial Field. She also anchored a 4x800 relay that turned in the school’s second-fastest time (9:56.57).
Lavin enters this weekend’s South Dakota Class A state track meet seeded second in the 1,600 (5:13.01) for a team that has 11 state events. The University of South Dakota track, cross country and swimming recruit will also compete in the 3,200 during state competition that begins with Friday’s preliminaries at Lyle Hare Stadium in Spearfish and concludes with Saturday’s finals at Rapid City’s O’Harra Stadium.
“I think our relays are set up well for (this) weekend, at least the top three finishes, but of course, we want to go for the gold,” said Lavin, who has combined for 22 track and cross country medals over the course of her standout prep career in both sports.
“It would mean a lot. We have a lot of chemistry. A lot of those relays have run together for three years or more. You want to earn it as a team because you worked really hard for it. It would be so cool to see some of those dreams come true.”
Taryn Whisler, who will run with Lavin in the 1,600 and 3,200, also runs in the third-seeded 4x800 along with Rachel Brady and Madisen Martinez. The second-seeded medley (4:16.77) also includes Druecker, Ellie Schroeder and Mack LaBrune. Meanwhile, the Tanagers’ 4x100 and 4x200 foursomes are seeded fourth and sixth, respectively.
Lavin is hoping to return to the gold in both the 1,600 and 3,200. As a sophomore, she was named the Class A girls most valuable performer, winning both events.
“I love my mile,” said Lavin, who ranks second in the 1,600 (5:13.01) and sixth in the 3,200 (11:39.22). “I love the mentality going into it. You have a lot of different race strategies. It’s fun to be part of. I love the mile for its speed.”
Dakota Valley’s Alyssa Johnson, the defending Class A state high jump champion, is seeded third in that event with a 5-foot-2 height, an inch short of her winning effort a year ago. Johnson, who will high jump along with second-seeded teammate Nikita Reinschmidt (5-3), will also compete in the long jump and the 200.
Elk Point-Jefferson sophomore Kenna Curry enters as Class A’s leader in both the discus (132-7) and the shot put (40-3.75). Curry, a seventh-place finisher in the discus a year ago, turned in her season-best discus total at the Region 4A meet and said a week ago that her 39-4.5 shot at the same meet was just as good as her season-best effort at the Dakota XII Conference Meet.
“I liked how I kept my foot more on the ground than normal,” said Curry. “I watched that as hard as I could. I need to keep my arm and elbow up.”
Curry’s classmate, Riley Donnelly, is seeded third in the long jump (16-10.75) and fourth in the triple jump (34-9).
Vermillion freshman Tommy Nikkel is seeded second in both the 400 (50.91) and the 4x800 (8:22.04). Nikkel also runs in the fourth-seeded medley (3:39.38).
Dakota Valley's seven boys state events includes the high jump, where senior Cole Bergmann is seeded third (6-4). A year ago, he took third, clearing 6-5.
“I feel like I am fluid with my run-throughs,” said Bergmann, who will compete in the event along with classmate Sam Chesterman. “I keep it steady. I keep going the same way, the same pace. But I need to be more patient when I am up in the air, keep my knee up and my form up over the bar as I have so far.”
Elk Point-Jefferson's boys have three state events, including the shot put and discus, both manned by Drake Peed.