Arrows hold own in figuring out section field at Worthington Invitational


Facing several teams that will be competing against the Arrows at the Section 3A track & field meet later this spring, the Pipestone Area boys’ and girls’ squad performed well in head-to-head battles at Thursday evening’s Worthington Invitational in Worthington.

The Arrow girls were third behind Worthington (2AA, 151 points) and section opponent Luverne (119) in the team standings, with 72 points, beating out Windom (70) and section foes Southwest Christian/Edgerton (53) and Canby/Minneota (48) along the way.

The PAS boys also tallied 72 points on the day, placing them fourth behind section opponents Luverne (181), Canby/Minneota (99) and SWC/E (77). Section opponents Hills-Beaver Creek (65) and Murray County Central (48) rounded out the top-6 in the boys’ meet.

“It’s really a good meet where we can measure up a little bit, see where we stack up a bit as far as how we’re going to run relays and put people in open events,” Pipestone Area head coach Todd Tinklenberg said. “I thought we got a little clearer idea of where the variety of talent lies in our section. The biggest thing will be where they (opposition) put some of their kids… relays or open events, but it gives us an idea of what they have.

“A lot of kids have been reaching season bests and personal bests, and now we can readjust our goals in the direction they’d like to go in.”

Senior sprinter Meredith Draper spearheaded the Arrows’ attack in the girls meet, posting runner-up times of 13.48 seconds and 28.08 seconds in the 100 and 200-meter events, behind H-BC’s Brynn Bakken (13.07 and 27.25), while PAS teammate Aurora Winsel placed third in the latter event in a time of 28.45 seconds.

Draper and Winsel later joined forces with Avarie Brecher and Natalie Colvin (54.24) to claim a runner-up finish in the 4×100-meter relay, just off the pace set by the Patriots (1st, 53.49).

Also garnering top-5 finishes were Taylor Post, who set a personal-best mark of 54.64 in placing third in the 300-meter hurdles, Arinn McGee, fifth in the shot put (32 feet, 10 inches), Naomi Wallace, third in the high jump (5’-0”) and Paula Valdivieso-Zamora, who reached a PR distance of 30’-3.5” to place fifth in the triple jump.

“Taylor kind of took a 360 on us this year, wanting to try some long jump and some hurdles, and right now she’s climbing the ladder in those 300s,” Tinklenberg said. “She’s posted some pretty decent times and she has a good grasp on what she needs to do to get into that top 3-4, in contention, in the section. Even though only the top-2 go on, on any given day if you’re in the top-5… kids can hit hurdles or might be sick. You never know what’s going to happen around section time.”

“Naomi is right on that fringe, 3 or 4 of them right on that five-foot mark right now with one out of Luverne in the 5-4 range. The standard is 5’-2,” so jumping 5’-2” at the section meet will qualify her for state – regardless of place. She has come so close. We made a chart of two inches saying, ‘This is all you need by the end of the month.’  Every meet she’s had a jump where she’s cleared it and either her heel has clicked the bar because she didn’t kick her feet or… something else. So, she’s right there and we know she can go that height. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. I’m excited for it and I know she wants it bad.”

The Arrow contingent of Callie Lingen, Breelee Berkenpas and Alyvia Caskey raced to fourth, sixth and eighth place, respectively, in the 3,200 meters. Lingen posted a season-best mark of 13:39.36, while Berkenpas and Caskey finished with PR times of 15:08.87 and 15:39.8, respectively.

PAS hurdlers Aiden Voss and Connor Wagner nearly pulled off a second straight double-double on the week, as Voss topped the field in both the 110 and 300-meter events at 15.49 and 42.56 seconds, while Wagner was the runner-up at the shorter distance (17.39), but was edged by Lakeview’s Ethan Staab (44.34) in the 300-meter event – placing him third in a time of 44.42.

Sophomore sprinter Hayden Brooke (24.38) claimed a runner-up finish in the 200 meters behind Luverne’s Lucky Dara (23.8), while anchoring the Arrow boys’ best relay finish that saw him team up with Americ Suvandy, Trevin DeWilde and Colton Fey to post a third-best mark of 1:39.04.

Wagner also had a top-5 placing in the boys’ high jump, reaching a height of 5’-8” to place fourth.

“Connor’s right there in both hurdle events; there’s only 1-2 guys with comparable times or better, so it’s just a matter of battling through a knee injury and try to stay fresh,” Tinklenberg said. “He has to trim down the height of his hurdling, get that height a little closer to the hurdle rather than jumping over them, which will cut that extra second he’s going to need come section time.

“In the high jump, he’s just gotta be more consistent. His jump knee is the one that’s bothering him, but again, we have three solid weeks here for him to figure a few things out. Sometimes it’s just that unfortunate event being at a wrong time in a meet, so we’ll just have to see how they line up a bit and see if he can get quality jumps in before having to run. A lot of people don’t see all of that.”

The Arrows will be back in action Thursday when they participate in the rescheduled Rebel Relays in Slayton.

For complete results of the Worthington Invitational, go to