MHS girls ready for state challenge

MARSHALL – With the Class 2A state track meet beginning on Friday, Marshall senior Sydney Griffin and 3,200-meter relay team have been preparing all season for this moment.

Griffin is competing in the long jump, where she qualified by placing second in the the Section 2 Championships with a distance of 16-feet, 3-inches.

Griffin injured her ankle before last year’s section meet and was in a walking boot for two months. She used that as motivation to make it to the state level in, this, her senior season.

“It was hard watching everyone and seeing everyone make it to state,” Griffin said. “That and being able to watch (teammate) Sarah (Andersen) go during my sophomore year really motivated me this season.”

Andersen competed in the 2012 state meet in the triple jump, where she placed 10th overall.

Griffin, normally a long jumper that crosses the 17-foot mark, will trust her abilites and rely on the work she has put in with Tigers assistant coach Chris Shaffer.

“I think she’s ready to go,” Schaffer said. “She’s a real intense competitor. For someone who is as talented as she is, she sometimes lacks a little self confidence. Right now, it’s about building her confidence and making her believe she can place if she jumps to her ability.”

Griffin will be playing volleyball at the University of North Dakota this fall and was part of a Marshall dynasty that won three straight state tournament titles.

With that in mind, Shaffer isn’t worried about Griffin performing on a big stage.

Griffin also competed in the triple jump this season, but scratched at the section meet.

3,200 relay

The 3,200 relay team consists of a young, but talented group.

The team consists of sophomore Jackie Turner, eighth grader Nichole Sample, freshman Claire Boersma and Sophomore Rose Anderson.

Eighth grader Sydney Blomme and senior Jenna Christianson will serve as alternates.

Nichole Sample, while just an eighth grader, has been impressive in relay splits this past season and has also been successful in the 1,600 and the 3,200.

“They are super excited,” Marshall girls track coach Marie Sample said. “They are sitting with the eighth place time right now, so that’s pretty exciting. These are some of the biggest schools in the state and they are excited to be running with them.”

Team chemistry is something that will also be in play as the same group of girls run together for cross country in the fall.

Sample feels this will only help them once the state tournament comes around.

“They are a really tight-knit group,” Sample said. They really care about each other and really take care of each other. When one is tired, the other ones pull them along. They are focused and make good decisions outside of track.”

While they did go as a group to the state cross country meets, this is the group’s first time at a state track meet.

The group is young, but Sample doesn’t feel that this will have an effect on their performance.

“They trust in their ability, they trust in their training and they trust their coach,” Sample said. “They’ll do anything I ask them to do and they believe in it and themselves.”

Their seeding time of 9:28.76 was a team best.

Nichole Sample will be running the anchor leg for the team.

Sample is another runner who will got to experience the state meet as a spectator when she was younger.

“I’m a little nervous to be running the anchor leg, but I think it will be worth it.” Sample said. “It should be really fun. I’ve wanted to run there ever since our Marshall 4×800 team compete two years ago.”

At the 2012 state meet, the Tigers 3,200 relay team finished 14th with a time of 9:50.54.

Turner, being the team’s oldest and most experienced competitor, aside from Christianson, will look to make an impact as well, running the second leg.

She knows that the handoffs are going to become even more key on the state tournament stage.

“We focused on it,” Turner said. “Especially right before sections and this past week. That could make a difference between a couple places. Good handoffs make a huge difference.”

Turner has excelled in her first season of track, dominating season meets in the 1,600 and 3,200 run.

She also broke the school record in the 3,200 run earlier in the season.

Boersma will run the first leg and will hand off to Turner. Andersen will take the third leg before Nichole Sample finishes it off.

“They’re a smart group of kids,” Marie Sample said. “We’re not really going to worry about time, we’re just going to get in there and race.”