The Great River Conference Relay Meet was staged at the Aitkin High track on April 20. The meet featured the “survival of the fittest” as Mille Lacs Raiders girls track coach Jeff Walz referred to the weather conditions of a mixture of cold, wind and snow during the meet.
The relay meet is unique in that even the field events are considered a relay because the distances or heights are added up among three athletes in each event and scored.
“We love this format of this meet, since no other conference school has won this meet more often than Mille Lacs,” Walz said.
Because the Raiders were not able to fill every event, with only 13 athletes on the roster, they had to give away many points to the field.
The Raiders did manage to win their share of events, including the pole vault, high jump, hurdles and 1600m medley. “Our field events were amazing where we finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in all of them,” Walz said.
Mille Lacs finished third among the seven schools who competed, just one point less than second-place Aitkin.
The Raiders were led in points by Svea Carlson (26), Kailee Barnett (21), Katie Rocholl (21), and Aiyanna Mitchell (21).
The Mille Lacs Raiders girls track team competed in the five-team, East Central Invitational on April 23 and won the event by one point over Aitkin.
“The meet turned into an epic battle between us and Aitkin,” Walz said.
How close was it? Mille Lacs won seven events and Aitkin three. Both teams were scoreless in four events. On the track, Aitkin built a 7-point lead and the meet came down to the field evens. Amazingly, in the six field events, Aitkin and Mille Lacs finished in the top five in 24 of the 30 places. The Raiders dominated the pole vault, discus and high jump, while Aitkin did well in the long jump and triple jump.
In a competition so close, every point ended up being important.
Isle sophomore Nevaeh Merrill, for instance, decided to run the 300m hurdles with little experience and finished third overall which helped the cause. Veterans like Molly Saboo came through big by winning the 800m and 1600m races setting personal bests in both.
Svea Carlson won the pole vault with a personal best of 4’10”, Katie Rocholl won the 100m hurdles and placed in all her events, Aiyanna Mitchell won the 300m hurdles and placed in all her evens and Abby Biniek and Emma Haggberg scored well in the shot and discuss.
Mille Lacs 111, Aitkin 110, Braham 58, EC 42, Hinckley 34.