According to coach Duey Ferber, the Section 5A Track and Field Meet — for both boys and girls — can be summed up in one word: tough.
The Panthers faced strong competition, especially from Fairmont, while competing at the sub-section level Thursday, May 25 at United South Central.
The top four individual placewinners in each event and the top two relays advance to section, and the Panthers advanced seven boys and two girls while taking home two gold medals.
Brady Agrimson led the boys, qualifying in four events. He won the 300 intermediate hurdles in 41.99 seconds, was second in the triple jump at 40-5 and third in the 110 high hurdles in 17.18.
Teddy Gushwa, Jerret Utpadel, Agro Gushwa and Agrimson combined for second in the 4x400 relay in 3:42.63.
Also advancing to section: Mason Ferber, fourth, 300 hurdles; Jacob Schuller, fourth, high jump; Lonnie Wilson, fourth, long jump.
Other NRHEG places: 4x200, third (Wilson, Ferber, Utpadel, A.Gushwa); 4x800, third (T.Gushwa, Schuller, A.Gushwa, Wilson); Nathaniel Techau, fifth, shot put; Ben Lewer, seventh, 1600 and 3200.
“We were fortunate enough to send seven boys to the section meet,” said coach Duey Ferber. “This is a tremendously tough sub-section.”
Boys’ team scores: Fairmont 248, Blue Earth Area 137.5, Maple River 98, NRHEG 98, Madelia/Truman 78, Martin County West 73, USC/AC 62.5.
Senior Maddie Wagner was the girls’ only champion, clearing 5 feet to win the high jump. Her twin, Marnie, was the Panthers’ only other section qualifier, placing third in the 200 in 28.72.
“This was a meet dominated by Fairmont,” said Coach Ferber. “Our sub-section is the toughest I have ever seen. Just to make it to sections is extremely difficult.”
Other places: 4x200, fourth, (Elsa Gushwa, Caitlin Goette, Wagner, Wagner); 4x400, fifth (Journey Utpadel, Natalie Johnson, Sophia Malekas, Goette) Johnson, fifth, 300 hurdles; Maddie, fifth, long jump; Utpadel, tie for sixth, 800; Goette, tie for sixth, 8000; Jade Mely, sixth, 3200; Olivia Christopherson, seventh, 300 hurdles; 4x100, seventh (Gushwa, Maddie Kormann, Grace Kofstad, Katie Cliff); Lauren Hermann, seventh, shot put; Hannah Budach, eighth, discus.
Girls’ standings: Fairmont 233.5, Blue Earth 137, Maple River 131, M/T 109, NRHEG 56, USC/AC 42.5.
The nine remaining Panthers will compete in the Section 2A meet Saturday, June 3 in St. Peter. The top two individuals, first-place relays and those meeting qualifying standards advance to state June 9-10 at Hamline University in St. Paul.