Week by week it seems like we are turning the corner, away from the ugly pandemic, and back somewhat closer to how things were in ‘the good old days.’ Sports are opening up to larger get-togethers with more spectators beginning to refill the stands.
Last week Osceola hosted an eight school track and field meet at Robert W. Vesperman Athletic Complex. Osceola Chieftain head coaches Rick Stewart for the boys and Theresa Ellefson for the girls along with their excellent assistant coaches are guiding the team to some very impressive performances. The OHS boys narrowly missed claiming the top spot as a team fell to Hudson by only nine points. The Osceola girls also placed second behind Hudson. The Chieftains set two stadium records and broke one school record in the process.
“We can’t express how grateful we are to the staff members, alumni, community members, and parents who helped put this meet on for the student-athletes,” Stewart said.
“Tuesday’s meet was a nice change of pace,” Ellefson added. “It was exciting to battle against some different teams, which made it feel a lot like a pre-covid track and field meet.”
Certainly a highlight of the night was when sophomore Rachel Ulrich set a new stadium and school record of 2:19.46 in the 800m.
“Rachel continues to remain poised and peel off time in both the 1600 and 800 meters,” Ellefson said. “She took 11 seconds off her best time in the 1600m and broke the previous 800m school record that Brea Tinney set in 2007 with a time of 2:19.46. That time also set a new stadium record that was previously held by Sam Ritter from Prescott.”
“With the track season coming closer to an end, I’m so excited to be able to put up a school record breaking time in the 800 as our team prepares for conference and post season competitions,” Ulrich said. “I am so fortunate to be part of a talented team and to have great coaches and competitive hardworking teammates who continue to push me to run faster during practice and track meets.”
Certainly Ulrich wasn’t alone in posting outstanding performances. The Osceola ladies won five events with Ulrich winning the 800m and 1600m, Hattie Fox the 100m and 300m hurdles and freshman Gabbie Neumann earned the top spot in the pole vault. The Chieftains recorded several personal records (PRs) in the process.
“There were some high caliber female athletes that came ready to compete and our ladies didn’t back down,” Ellefson said. “Hattie Fox ran season PR’s in both the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. She is strong and a fierce competitor who isn’t afraid to bring it on race day. Hattie set a new stadium 300m hurdles record with a time of 47.07 that was previously held by Hannah Salami (of Osceola). Lauren Ellefson also had a strong showing. She took 10 seconds off in the 1600 and six seconds off in the 800. Gabbie Neumann took home the first place finish in the pole vault when she vaulted a PR of 9’, and Mallory Johnson had a 5.5 inch improvement in the triple jump. Other ladies that set PR’s in Tuesday’s meet are Britta Mani (100m hurdles), Olivia Schiebel (100m), Ari Hayton (400m), Tia Foster (400m), Chloe Backlund (3200m), and Alli Fogelberg (800m).”
The Osceola boys placed first in seven events with freshman Addison Uddin having a hand in three. Uddin won both the 200m and 400m and teamed up with Miles Leiskau, Dylan Salewski and Brock Studer to win the 1600m relay.
“Addison Uddin had a fantastic night,” Stewart said. “It is not too often a freshman on the boys’ side wins a 200-400 double and was a member of a victorious 4x400 relay team. He has been pushing himself and his teammates in practice and his times have been fantastic.”
Luke Haase placed first in the pole vault as did Sawyer Federation in the triple jump and Tyler Johnson in the shot put. The 3200m relay team of Salewski, Studer, Cole Klein and Mason Hancock also won their event.
“Miles Leiskau posted a great time for a freshman boy in the 400,” Stewart continued. “Cale Campbell ran a great 100 and has been coming on very strong of late. Mason Hancock and Quinn McDonald both had fantastic PR’s in the 3200 and their dedication to their training is showing through. Sawyer Federation had another great night in the triple jump and is really coming into his own in that event. Ayden Evans has been steadily improving and is excited to keep up his hurdling success. Luke (Haase) continued to shine in the pole vault and ran a solid hurdles race. We have such a talented and dedicated crew of boys on this team. The athletes know that they are going to see their performances improve as they continue to buy into training and the discipline it takes to succeed in track and field. There is no greater metaphor for life than this sport.”