Lincoln Boys win 5th consecutive ‘AA’ title with 4×400 victory


It boiled down to the last event of the season, but the Lincoln Boys athletic dynasty lives on.

With two top-eight finalists in the 200-meter and an unprecedented victory in the 4×400-meter relay, the Patriots stormed rival Roosevelt to claim their fifth straight Class AA Tag Team Championship on Saturday afternoon at Sturgis.

“It’s really nice to continue (the tradition), because in my mind we are doing this for the seniors last year who didn’t have a season,” said senior Gavin Fischer, who ran the anchor on the 4×400. “There was no better way to honor what they lost than to win it all in 2021.”

It was a remarkable performance for the Patriots (93 points), who took advantage of a 4th place finish by Fischer and an 8th place finish by senior Andy Blazevich in the 200 to secure a half point lead over the entering Rough Riders. in the 4×400.

AFTER: Far West: Brandon Valley and O’Gorman girls tied for ‘AA’ title

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Lincoln teammates celebrate winning the 4x400 boys race at the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Woodle Field in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Lincoln’s victory in this event was made slightly more unlikely by their position as the 3 seed and that of Roosevelt as the 1 seed.

“We knew it came down to the 4×4,” Martens said. “That’s what drove us.”

For such a spectacular finish as in the team standings, Philip Baker, Andrew Martens, Chase Johnson and Fischer ensured that the race itself came to a relatively anti-climatic conclusion, with a time of 3: 21.84. This left Lincoln well ahead of 2nd place Brandon Valley (3: 23.78) and 3rd place Roosevelt (3: 25.22), and sparked a wild scene on the pitch with the Lincoln relay team beset by their teammates as they left the field. Track.

“After those (last) 400s, you don’t know what’s going on,” Fischer said. “You catch your breath, it’s like everything is calm, then all of a sudden you hear a huge eruption, a roar. I look around and my whole team rushes towards me. There is no better feeling.

Roosevelt was second (88.5 points), his best tag team result since 2015 when he beat the Patriots for the AA crown.

Rapid City Stevens (80), Brandon Valley (71) and Aberdeen Central (62.50) rounded out the top five teams.

‘Speed. I am fast.

When the starter said “on your blocks” for that 4×400, Baker closed his eyes and passed a familiar phrase through his mind: “Speed. I am speed.”

“You know, like from Cars?” he clarified.

Baker ran the first – and possibly the most difficult – stage of the 4×400, tasked with giving his team a good start and was challenged to run the 400 open plus the distance to the exchange zone.

“In my head I’m like, ‘OK, I have to run 406 meters’ – and I spoke on that,” Baker said. “After that I had this feeling in my stomach that we’re going to take it.”

Lincoln's Andrew Martens passes the baton to teammate Chase Johnson in the 4x400 race at the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Woodle Field in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Baker allowed Lincoln to quickly take the lead and gave way to Martens, the team’s hurdles state champion (110 yards).

Martens’ job was relatively straightforward. Keep that lead and hand the baton to Johnson, who ran his knees with the mentality that no one was going to pass him.

“I ran straight to the fence (after my lap) and I was like, ‘I can’t watch this,’” Martens said with a laugh. “But then I had to watch him anyway. Maybe it’s between my fingers or something.

As he ran this final stage, Fischer could hear Roosevelt’s followers applaud their anchor, Paxon Fleming, letting him know he was getting closer.

“That’s when I knew I had to flip the switch,” Fischer said. “In my mind, I thought it was the state competition. I have to go. This is my chance to do my part for my team. I think I delivered.”

Lincoln's Gavin Fischer crosses the finish line as an anchor to win the 4x400 race at the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Woodle Field in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Stahl claims triple sprint crown

Matthew Stahl, the AA boys’ track MVP, spent the entire weekend.

On Friday he was one of three 100-meter records, crossing the straight in 10.49 to break JaRon Harris’s 2004 record (10.59), then on Saturday he crossed the line just ahead of Fischer, beating his Lincoln friend of 0.02 seconds (48.86).

So naturally, in the 200-meter scoreboard, Stahl notched a narrow victory, he did it from behind, edging out both Evan Henderson of Harrisburg and Jaden Guthmiller of Spearfish to complete his three-sprint sweep. opened with a time of 21.84.

“On the first day, as the preliminaries approached, I was scared. I’m not going to lie,” Stahl said. “But getting into the 100 final was probably the best race of my life. I went crazy, broke the state competition record by a fair amount and raced against the best. state competitors. Day two the 400 really surprised me. I didn’t think I was going to pull it off. I didn’t think I had that much in me for that last 100. Then the 200, I was just happy to close this victory and get the triple crown. “

Mack ends his career with a throw sweep

One of the most memorable scenes from this year’s Class AA State meet was in the shot put on Saturday morning where crowds of fans lined up the fences (five rows deep in some spots) to watch Cooper Mack.

The Watertown elder and Baylor engagement entered the weekend as third nationally in the event (67-3.5) and were expected by most to break Jack Lembcke’s 2013 record (63- 10.5).

The crowd was buzzing through the preliminary rounds and when Mack entered the circle for his first attempt at the final they broke out the slow applause.

When his record mark of 66-6.75 was announced, cheers from the crowd echoed throughout the facility.

“When the applause started, I was just lounging in it – it was almost distracting,” Mack said with a smile. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget for sure. Incredible support.”

This weekend’s state meet – which also saw Mack win the record on Friday (179-05) – marked the final chapter in what has been an incredible season for Mack, who holds the school records to throw it. weight (67-3.5) and discus (185-10).

Asked to reflect on his time as Arrow, Mack pointed the finger at his teammates.

“I have the best team here. I have no doubts about that,” he said. “They are great people and absolutely wonderful teammates. I will miss them very much … It was a fun race this year.”

As for what lies ahead, Mack will be heading to the West Coast (possibly Oregon) to compete before heading to Baylor to begin the next chapter of his career.

“Mainly I just want to get taller and show people what I’m made of,” he said.

Cooper Mack of Watertown competes in the shot put at the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Woodle Field in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Stevens’ Birnbaum gets his individual title

Winning a national track title has been on Simeon Birnbaum’s mind since he finished fifth in the national cross country competition last fall.

“I was not thrilled with this arrival,” said Rapid City sophomore Stevens, “and I knew if I worked hard in the offseason I might have a shot at winning the track title. “

Birnbaum claimed the AA championship on Saturday morning, beating Spearfish junior Keenan Urdiales in the 1,600-meter race with a time of 4: 23.49.

It was second first place of the weekend for Birnbaum, who was at anchor for the Raiders 4x800m relay team.

Birnbaum said he ran a “kind of underwhelming” 4.30am at Woodle Field last week, but gradually improved from there. “I had a very good training and it gave me confidence today,” he continued.

Rapid City Stevens 'Simeon Birnbaum extends his arms in celebration as he crosses the finish line of the boys' 1600-meter race at the State Track and Field Meet on Saturday May 29, 2021 at Woodle Field in Sturgis, Dakota from South.

After three relatively slow and tight first laps, Urdiales took off and set the tone for the final 400 meters. With about 200 meters to go, he made his last push.

Birnbaum expected Urdiales to make his move “all the time” and when he came he kept his attention on his opponent’s back and clung to him.

“I got to the last 100 meters and did it all,” Birnbaum added.

Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen.


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