Tiger track team finally gets back to competition in Austin meet

Returning to competition for the first time since March 25, the Marshall track and field team took part in its first outdoor meet of the season on a chilly Saturday in Austin and had a few standout performances despite a limited number of athletes.

With the first chunk of Marshall’s outdoor schedule gone due to cancelations and postponements, Tiger girls’ head coach Marie Sample had activities director Bruce Remme put a call in to Austin when she learned about the meet in the days leading up to Saturday’s competition. Remme got the Tigers in, but many runners, jumpers and throwers had prior plans that prevented them from taking part in the event.

Sample was desperate to have her team end its long layoff and was ecstatic with her squad’s turnout and its performance at the meet.

“Kids aren’t used to having weekend meets so they had booked themselves up with work or other activities,” she said. “When I first told them about (the Austin meet) they said, ‘Well, we have all these places to be and we’re going to be busy.’ So I said, ‘Well I don’t know when all this snow is going away and I don’t know if we’re going to have a chance to have another meet, and we’ve got one sitting in front of us. If there’s any way you can rearrange your schedule so you could come, please do so.’

“They started to change their plans a bit and I ended with 32 kids that could come. We had some kids who couldn’t make it but for the most part I had a really strong group and we had fun. It was awesome. I never thought 39 degrees would feel so warm.”

The Marshall girls’ team had a pair of first-place finishes on the day, one by a senior and one by a seventh-grader. The team placed fifth out of seven squads with 86.75 points. Rochester Century dominated the competition with a team score of 219. Host Austin was second with 98.5 points, Esko was third with 96 points and Mankato East placed fourth with 93.75 points.

Tiger seventh-grader Nichole Sample didn’t seem to be affected by the four-week layoff between competitions. She won the 1,600-meter run with a time of five minutes, 37.42 seconds. Not far behind her was Marshall freshman Jackie Turner, who took third with a time of 5:48.93.

“She sat and rode the front pack of that mile until about a lap-and-a-half to go and then she just took off,” Marie Sample said of her daughter Nichole. “She did great and had a lot of fun with it. … That kid has no idea what she’s capable of doing yet.”

Marshall senior Sarah Andersen had a big day in the jumping events. She won the triple jump with distance of 33 feet, 10.5 inches. She nearly won the long jump as well, taking second with a leap of 15-3, which was just a quarter of an inch from the winner’s jump.

“She had a great day. And we didn’t have our triple jump and long jump coach with us so she basically did it all on her own,” Marie Sample said. “We haven’t had a lot of time at the track and she’s had to practice those events in the gym, but she’s dedicated and comes to do what she needs to do. She’s a senior leader and a good kid and I’m happy she’s doing well.”

Among other top finishers for the Tiger girls were Kendra Soupir, Maddie Verschaetse and Rachel Miller. Miller finished third in the 100 hurdles with a time of 17.90 seconds, Soupir ran the 100 dash in 13.71 seconds to take third, and Verschaetse also had a third-place finish in the 800 run with her time of 2:35.35.

Marshall’s 4×800 relay team took second with a time of 10:17.76.

The Marshall boys’ team ended the meet sixth place out of seven squads with a score of 60.5. Rochester Mayo was first (151), followed by Mankato East (134), Rochester Century (133), Austin (104) and Esko (93.5).

Since the athletes didn’t have much heads up prior to learning about the meet, Marshall boys’ head coach Mike Jacobs said many members on the squad had prior commitments and only about one-third of the team was able to head to Austin.

The Tigers didn’t have any first-place finishers, but did have a few runners-up. Andrew Bell finished second in the 3,200 run with a time of 10:18.15. Sophomore Samuel Marshall came in second in the 400, finishing the race in 53.10 seconds. It was his career-best time, and Jacobs said Marshall is nursing an injury. Mike Larson added a third-place finish in the 1,600 with a time of 4:49.79.

Marshall also had some strong efforts in the field events, three of which came from Zachary Drum in the jumping events. Drum took second in the triple jump (40-11.75), fourth in the long jump (18-11.25) and fourth in the high jump (5-6). He also ran a leg for the Tigers’ 4×800 relay team that took fourth.

“Zach is a kid who for two years told me ‘I’m not a runner. I don’t run,'” Jacobs said. “I put him in the 4×400 and he got a 50-second leg for the first time he’s run the quarter for me. He contributed all the way around and I’d say he was the highlight of the day for us in terms of the triple jump and, no matter what he did he had a good impact for us.”

In the discus, an event that the throwers haven’t been able to practice while forced indoors due to the snow, senior Brock Baumgarn placed fourth with a throw of 129-0.

The Tigers are scheduled to take part in two events this week. The first is Tuesday in Worthington, and the second is a make-up meet in Tracy set for Thursday.