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St. Croix Central track team shows courage in conference meet

Senior Aaron Delander was the only Central boy to win a Dunn-St. Croix Conference title, in the long jump. He also placed second in the 300 hurdles and third in the triple jump.1 / 2
Senior Laura DeSmith had a monumental day for the Panthers in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference track meet. She earned conference championships in the long jump and 1,600 meter relay and she took second place in the triple jump and 100 meter dash.2 / 2

The fact that the St. Croix Central teams competed, and competed quite well, in the 2013 Dunn-St. Croix Conference track meet showed a great deal of courage.

The Central student body was informed that morning of the death of two fellow students. Despite the emotional weight of the day, the Central boys were able to place second and the girls third in the meet the Panthers hosted last Tuesday.

The Panther boys put up a healthy battle, but just didn't have the horses to catch Elk Mound, which won with 156 points. The Panthers' 130 points easily took second place, well ahead of Colfax's 91 points. Central's girls were in a four-way battle behind Mondovi, which ran away with the title. The Panther girls amassed 91 points to take third place.

Central's boys were able to take second place despite winning just one event in the conference meet. The victory came from senior Aaron Delander, who took the top spot in the long jump. His winning distance of 21 feet, 1 inch was more than a foot farther than his top competitor.

Delander also recorded second and third place finishes in the meet. He took second place in the 300 intermediate hurdles and he was third in a immensely talented triple jump field. Spring Valley's Zac Webster won the event by leaping 48 feet, 4 inches, one of the longest jumps in the state this year.

Delander, Jag Johnson and Jason Matteson took third, fourth and fifth for the Panthers in the triple jump. The jumping events were the most productive area for the Panther boys. Johnson took second place in the high jump, with Josh Freyholtz placing fourth. Freyholtz took second place in the pole vault, with Tony Berg in sixth.

Panther senior Carl Moll took on one of the most demanding schedules of the meet, running the 1,600, 400 and 800 races in the 90-degree heat. Moll far exceeded his expected times in the first two races, capturing second place each time. He was spent by the third race in a short span, but still managed to place fourth.

A nice surprise for the Panthers was the 110 hurdles, where juniors Brandon Smith and Dante Carlson took second and third place.

The Panther girls were able to produce three championship performances. Two came in the jumping events, which have been the Panthers' domain for years in the D-SC. Senior Laura DeSmith earned the championship in the long jump, while freshman Emma Landry and DeSmith took the top two places in the triple jump.

DeSmith and Landry were also part of the Panthers' victory in the 1,600 meter relay. They joined Bailey Booth and Hope Hoolihan in winning the relay title.

DeSmith produced another second place finish for the Panthers in the 100 meter dash. Kayla Pabst came through in second place twice, with strong performances in both throwing events.

Central coach Amanda Webb said she didn't know what to expect from the Panthers, between the emotion of the day and the temperatures that soared to near 100 degrees.

"The kids stepped up and did their best. That's all we can ask," Webb said.

2013 Dunn-St. Croix Conference Track Meet

Boys team scores: Elk Mound 156, St. Croix Central 130, Colfax 91, Glenwood City 89, Spring Valley 71.5, Boyceville 68, Mondovi 49, Elmwood-Plum City 47

Girls team scores: Mondovi 143, Elmwood-Plum City 95, St. Croix Central 91, Elk Mound 90, Colfax 85, Glenwood City 63.5, Spring Valley 62, Boyceville 22.5