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Track sweeps Mustang Open

Wildcat senior Ben Rayne (5) competes in the 1600 meter run at the Mustang Open at Menomonie High School Thursday, April, 12. Rayne was one of three Wildcats to finish in the top five with a fourth place time of 5 minutes, 1.91 seconds. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Wildcat junior Sofia Naranjo Mata, right, and freshman teammate Rachel Randleman compete in the 100 meter dash at the Mustang Open at Menomonie High School Thursday, April, 12. Naranjo Mata won the event with a time of 12.89 seconds while Randleman was eighth in 13.59. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Wildcat track and field girl' coach Kristi Wagner said the Cats originally planned to just send their JV teams to the Mustang Open last Thursday, April 12, in Menomonie. But when the varsity meet in Irondale, Minn. scheduled for Friday April 13 was cancelled, boys coach Matt Kumershek suggested sending everybody.

The result was a Wildcat sweep in the first outdoor meet of the season.

"Coach Kumershek made a great call," Wagner said. "It was about a 45-degree temperature. Not ideal, but at least it was a meet."

The field events were moved inside and Wagner said by the time the meet's final race-- the 4x400 meter relay-- rolled around it was dark. But the runners still enjoyed being outside.

"The 4x4's were competing in the dark so many teams dropped out," she noted. "But we had entered three boys teams and three girls teams who all hung in there. It was pretty interesting because in the latter boys race, it was tough to even see who was passing to who, but the cool thing is we still had three. Tremendous credit to all of those kids involved. Wildcat Tough."

The River Falls girls finished with 118.7 points to take the 10-team title while the boys took first with 132.7. Medford was second in the girls competition with 105 while Menomonie was runner-up on the boys side with 93.5.

Sofia Naranjo Mata paced the River Falls girls with a pair of first place times, winning the 100 meter dash in 12.89 seconds and the 200 in 26.51. Calla Dexheimer won the 3200 meter run in 12 minutes, 8.49 seconds while Sam Krueger cleared 10-feet to win the pole vault.

Krueger also took second in the 100 meter hurdles in 17.35 seconds and Ambrea Kjos was third in the 300 hurdles in 51.48 while Emma Pupungatoa was third in the shot put with a throw of 35-11.

Connor Hines won the boys long jump with a distance of 19-08.75 while Jared Creen placed second in three different events with a time of 11.59 seconds in the 100 meter dash, a height of 5-10 in the high jump and a distance of 42-03 in the triple jump.

Tyler Cernohous was second in the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:44.35 and Jared Syverson was second in the 400 in 52.94 seconds. Stefan Klechefski contributed a pair of third place finishes in the 100 meter dash in 11.66 seconds and the 200 in 23.4.

Wagner said the Wildcats showed plenty of spunk under less than ideal conditions in their first outdoor meet of the season.

"Something our staff is really trying to teach kids is being a tough competitor, establishing a mentally strong team culture," she said. "We figure if we embrace the adversity (poor weather), we can use it as an advantage going forward and be stronger at conference because of it."

This Friday's Wisconsin-Minnesota Border Battle, originally scheduled to be held at Ramer Field, has been moved inside to UW-River Falls Knowles Center with a 4 p.m. start.

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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