USC/A-C grabs a pair of fourths

Published 9:12 am Monday, June 9, 2008

It was the culmination of a season for runners at the Class A state track and field meet Saturday at Hamline University.

Among those reveling in the conclusion of the season was the United South Central/Alden-Conger relay team.

The USC/A-C 4×400 relay came within one one-hundredth of a second from setting a new school record in the event Saturday at Hamline University at the Class A state track meet.

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The Rebel team of senior Jacob Elmer, junior Jordan Haroldson, sophomore Matt Wood and senior Bryan Hauge finished fourth in the event with a time of 3:25.21, besting their prelim time by three seconds.

“Our best time all season has been 3:29 so to improve by four seconds is quite an effort,” Hauge said. “I feel like we gave it our all.”

Elmer started the race strong and gave USC/AC a quality lead after the first leg. Haroldson continued the strong start for the Rebels as they continued to lead the race.

Then on the third leg Jeff Janssen of Fairmont turned on the jets and blew away USC/AC and the rest of the field as his team won the race with a time of 3:22.88, four seconds better than its prelim time and nearly two seconds better than the rest of the field.

“That was special,” Rebels head coach Kent Viesselman said of his relay team. “They’re OK with their fourth place and they’re tickled pink about their time.”

It was the second year in a row that the 4×400 team finished in fourth place, but that seemed of little importance for some.

“We’re really happy with our time,” Elmer said. “It’s a great way to end the career with a personal best and fourth in state.”

Junior Ciara Christenson of USC/AC also claimed a fourth place finish. Christenson finished second in the 300 meter hurdles two years ago and after a disappointing sophomore year she returned to state and set a school record with a time of 45.44.

“She didn’t have a good year and had a series of injuries and never got on track,” Viesselman said of Christianson’s season last year. “I told her lesser people would have hung it up or gotten really discouraged but she came back and had the best year she’s ever had.”

Christenson started strong but couldn’t hold off Bree Woebler, of Pipestone, who broke away from the pack and won the race with a time of 44.67.

“She went out fast and did what she had to do,” Viesselman said. “She was competitive the whole way.”

New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva had three finalists, including the Kerkhoffs in the 400.

Blake finished fifth and was all smiles after his race.

““To get up to state meet is a great accomplishment and then to get to the finals and place in the top five is great accomplishment,” Kerkhoff said. “It’s a great way to go out.””

Kerkhoff finished the race in 49.92 just behind defending champion Matt Muenchow, but still a second away from Chris Stoks of Virginia who clocked a 48.88 for the title.

There were a total of five runners the finished with runs under 50 seconds.

Alyssa Kerkhoff, a freshman, finished eighth in the 400 race, two places down from her sixth place finish of a year ago. After running a sub-minute race in the prelims, Kerkhoff was disappointed with the race in the finals.

“The competition was really tough,” Kerkhoff said. “You just try to run your race no matter the outcome.”

Ashley Tingelstad of Lake Park-Audubon set a new Class A record with her time of 55.83.

Three-time state entrant Heather Schmit finished eighth in the 100 meter dash to claim her second career medal.

“The race went pretty well,” Schmit said. “I did my best and I just gave everything I had left.”