Incredibly, we've come to the conclusion of another exciting high school track and field season in the Dakotas, and that means it's time to present Midco Sports Network's "Varsity Sports" Platinum Medals for 2017! A few things to note:
- We only medaled events that are contested in both North and South Dakota, which explains why javelin isn't included. If you're curious, Ty Ogren of Grand Forks Red River and Akealy Moton of West Fargo had the top jav marks in ND this year, but as South Dakota is still a few years away from adding the jav, Ogren and Moton only get a shout-out in this blog, not a full Platinum award. Be patient, javelin throwers! Your time will come. (Speaking of which - if you want a litle summer training in the art of the jav, the NSAF is sponsoring a three-day clinic in Sioux Falls on August 10-13 at Howard Wood Field. A must-attend if you're a thrower or triple jumper.)
- For consistency, we use fully automatic timing (FAT) to determine our champions and converted any existing hand-held marks accordingly. FAT is a more accurate - and therefore, slower - way of timing races, so if these times look off from what you've seen in the paper or on a website somewhere... Well, you'll just have to trust my math. (The Cliff's notes version of handheld to FAT conversion? Round up to the nearest tenth of a second and then add .24.)
- This year's Platinum marks were outstanding across the board, with one all-time state benchmark and eight new Platinum records set over the course of the spring. If we're being honest, 2017 didn't quite hit the heights of 2016, when 16 (!!) Platinum records went down, but again, it's not like we were hurting for talent this year. (It should be noted that of those eight Platinum records, seven were set on the girls's side.)
- Platinums were distributed almost evenly this year between the two competing states, though after earning 15 of the 28 awards, South Dakota would get the slight edge for the second time in three years. Athletes from each state's biggest class were espcially dominant on the girls's side, as only Belle Fourche's Shayla Howell managed to nab a Platinum as a smaller-school competitor. Four smaller-school athletes would win five of the 14 Platinums on the boys side. As usual, seniors set all but two of the top boys marks and times this year - one more than in 2016 - while the Class of 2017 nabbed half of the girls' top efforts, a higher number than we've seen in either of the previous two seasons.
- In a departure from years past, only nine of the 28 marks were set at the North or South Dakota State Track Meet, with only an additional three going down at a region or conference meet. (For context, in 2016, 21 of the season's best times or marks were set at state, region or conference meets. In all honesty, I'm leaning toward inclemate weather as the biggest reason those numbers are down this time around.)
- We had a record six Platinum winners from a year ago return to the top of the podium in 2017, with Hunter Lucas, Krista Bickley, Jasmyne Cooper, Karly Ackley, Elizabeth Schaefer and Akealy Moton all defending their crowns (or in Lucas and Bickley's case, adding new ones as well). Lucas and Ackley are actually repeat double-Platinum winners and currently hold the record for most career Platinums won with four apeice, while Moton is now the first athlete to win a Platinum in three straight years in the same event. (Again...It's only the third year of this competition, but I think it still merits mentioning.)
- Finally, extra recognition to our four Double-Platinum winners! Cameron Kuil of Winner, Hunter Lucas of Fargo Davies, Krista Bickley of Brandon Valley and Karly Ackley of Grand Forks Central all posted the best time in two events. Of the four, only Bickley will return to defend her titles in the 200m and 400m next season, so best of luck to Kuil at SDSU, Lucas at Minnesota, Ackley at Iowa State, and to all our Platinum winners with whatever's on the way next in their T&F careers and in life!
Again, here are you 2017 Platinum Champions! Well done!
300m Hurdles : Roarick Schollmeyer, Bismarck Century – 39.10 (NDHS State Meet Finals, 5/27) 38.56
Shot Put : Xavier Ward, Canistota – 58-2.75 (SDHS State Meet, 5/26) 63-6.5
Discus : Austin Eppard, Chester Area – 174-3 (Tom Main Invite, 4/22) 178-1
High Jump : Allan McDonnell, Wall – 6-9 (Comet Classic, 5/2) 7-0
Long Jump : Adrian Davis-Aguilar, Minot – 23-3.25 (WDA Region Meet, 5/19) 23-4
Triple Jump : Sage Hagen, Rapid City Central – 46-4 (Track-O-Rama, 4/13) 47-3
Pole Vault : Mike Herauf, Dickinson – 15-7 (Knutson Invite, 5/9) 16-0
Totals: 8/14 from North Dakota, 9/14 from the biggest class in either state
*State Record ^Set This Year +Converted to FAT
Congratulations again to all of our winner this season! I should mention that if you've got a Platinum mark that you think we missed, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter @AHeinertMidcoSN.
Until the 2018 season, keep it Platinum, Track Nation!