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Girls run to Border Battle title

Wildcat junior Amelia Kjos, center, gets off to a good start in the third heat of the girls' 55 meter dash last Friday at the Border Battle Track and Field Meet at UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse. Kjos posted the fifth fastest time in the event before going on to set a new school record in the 200 meter dash. <i>Bob Burrows photos</i>1 / 2
Wildcat freshman Courtney Kempf clears a hurdle during the second heat of the 55 meter hurdles at the Border Battle Track and Field Meet last Friday at UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse. Kempf was the Cats' highest finisher in the event with a ninth place time of 10.56 seconds.2 / 2

The Wildcat girls' track and field team posted five first place finishes and set two new school records on its way to a first place finish at the inaugural Border Battle Friday, April 19 at UW-River Falls' Knowles Fieldhouse.

The Cats finished with a total of 127.83 points while Hudson took second with 118.33. White Bear Lake was third with 96 followed by Osceola with 65.33, Park-Cottage Grove with 58, Somerset with 54, Hill-Murray with 50.5 and Hastings with 14.

The meet was originally scheduled to be held outside at the high school track but was moved inside to the Knowles Fieldhouse due to the weather.

"It was a great meet and I was so proud of the girls," head coach Colleen Sowa said. "We have not had an ideal spring and have been doing most of our training inside. It's hard to be cooped up inside for almost two months. Everyday our athletes come ready to work and train no matter the conditions. Their dedication and work ethic was shown in the meet on Friday."

Sowa said nearly all the Wildcat girls achieved either a personal best or improved their performances in some way.

"It was so exciting as a coach to see them step up and compete with intensity," she said. "Ours girls are strong willed individuals. I didn't have anyone tell me they were nervous or scared, they were ready and excited to compete. As a coach I couldn't have been more proud of them."

Junior Amelia Kjos set a new school record to win the 200 meter dash with a time of 26.86 seconds. The old mark of 27.07 was set by Katie Kolpin in 1998.

Senior Paige Skorseth broke her own school mark in the 1600 meter run, taking second with a time of 5 minutes, 14.81 seconds and took first in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:28.77.

The Wildcat girls swept the top two spots in both the triple jump and pole vault. In the triple jump, junior Karlie Place won with a distance of 34-feet, 1.75-inches while sophomore Annie Wagner was second with 33-10.75. Junior Megan Pechacek gave the Cats three of the top four finishers with a fourth place effort of 32-1.25.

Senior Riley Claude and Place both cleared 10-feet in the pole vault, with Claude taking first and Place second based on number of attempts.

The Cats' 4x200 meter relay team of Wagner, Kjos, freshman Karissa Murphy and Place also took first with a time of 1:49.36.

Place contributed a second place leap of 15-9.25 in the long jump while Wagner was fourth with 15-5, while Veronica Naranjo cleared 4-10 in the high jump to finish second.

The Cats' 4x400 meter relay team of freshman Rachel Shew, Pechacek, Murphy and freshman Courtney Kempf combined for a third place time of 4:28.88, while sophomore Annie Frisbie boosted the Cats' team score with a fourth place time of 5:35.61 in the 1600 meter run.

Kjos took fifth in the 55 meter dash in 7.72 seconds, and Alexandra Ronnestrand was fifth in the shot put with a throw of 32-3, while freshman Shayna Ziriax was seventh in the 800 meter run in 2:40.12 and sophomore Alison Casey took seventh in the 3200 meter run in 13:05.46.

Kempf was the Cats' highest finisher in the 55 meter hurdles, placing ninth in 10.56 seconds.

The Cats are scheduled to compete at the Park-Cottage Grove Invitational this Friday, April 26, beginning at 3:45 p.m.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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