Herders hitting their strides in weeks leading up to state meet

By: 
Stephen Kalb-Koenigsfeld, Pioneer Editor

In the weeks leading up to the state track and field meet in Laurel, the Sweet Grass County boys’ and girls’ teams are hitting their marks in preparation for the three most important invites of the year.

On May 11, the Herders hit the road to Belgrade for the district meet. Heading into the event, two boys have already met their automatic qualifying standards, and are preparing to better their marks.

Headlining the boys’ season has been junior Casey Gunlikson, who will appear at the state meet in the 100, 200 and 300-meter hurdles as the top runner in the 100 and 300 hurdles. At last week’s meet in Laurel on May 1, Gunlikson set the school record in the 300 hurdles in a time of 39.21. He’s one of two Class B athletes to hit the sub-40-second mark. 

Senior Nathan Baker continues to show his dominance in the throws events. He’s auto-qualified in the shot put and discus, while having the sixth-best javelin throw in the state at 157 feet, 11 inches. 

Senior Junior Mosness has also excelled at the mid-distance events, clocking the sixth-best 400 time in the state at 52.65 on May 1. 

Mosness also put his skills to the test in the 800, where he ran the 13th-fastest time at 2:10.93 on May 5. He’ll look to triple at the divisional and state meets in both those events, and the 4x400 relay as well. 

The boys’ mile-relay is just three seconds off the state qualifying measure at 3:37.32 (fourth in Class B). After some switching of athletes, the boys seem to have the right recipe to shave off a few seconds and get back to the state meet. 

“They’re all team players. We’ve had to do some jostling early on in the season with the boys’ relays,” said head coach Jennifer Wood. “But they’re all friends and are supportive of each other. And that’s how we’ve decreased some times.”

On the girls’ side, Brooklyn Pederson continues to be one of the most consistent throwers in the ring. 

Pederson is just eight inches off the automatic qualifying standard, but holds the fifth-best mark at 34-3. 

Jolie Wood has showed off her bursts of speed this year in the sprints and mid-distance events. Wood clocked a 1:03.42 in the 400 on May 1, placing her 11th in the state.

Ashlyn Wood recently ran a personal best 53.61 in the 300 hurdles, which has her up to 23rd in the state in the event. 

The girls’ 4x400 relay of Alyssa Stosich, Bella Donald, Ashlyn and Elle Terland also clocked 4:35.89 back in April for the 16th-best relay time in the state. After returning a majority of the runners from last year’s state relay squad, the seconds to shave are still there. 

The Herders head to Belgrade on May 11 for the district meet before turning around and running at Laurel on May 17 for the divisional meet.

The boys’ and girls’ state track and field meet will be held in Laurel on May 25 and 26. 

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