The Panther Pit may be a little sparse in numbers, but Storm Lake St. Mary's is filling the gaps successfully in track this season and have turned out some solid performances in recent meets.
On Monday, the girls wrapped up a gold and two silver finishes to earn them a sixth place finish out of 13 teams. Freshman Emily Mohr ran the 3000-meter relay for the first time ever and won it in a time of 12:45. Mohr also wrapped up second place in the 1500, while junior Christine Becker came in second in the 800-meter run.
Tuesday night, the boys traveled to Alta for the Alta Relays, where both relay teams and individuals landed in the middle of the milieu as some members stepped into new positions. Michael Ivey ran the 110-meter hurdles for the first time and placed third, as well as long jumping to a fifth place finish. He was also part of the fourth place shuttle hurdle team and the fifth place distance medley relay. Weston Pickhinke placed fourth in the 100-meter dash, and Paul Yak earned third in the 3200-meter run against competitors that will prepare him for tough district action. Yak, Ivey, Diew Malou, and Justin Cullen comprised the debuting shuttle hurdle relay team, which was formed mostly on a lark.
"A week ago they wanted to try it just for fun, and they've had so much fun they're still doing it," head track coach Angie Reinert said.
Regardless of how long he'd been running in them, Ivey placed in every event he competed in.
"With small numbers that's really what we need," Reinert said.
However, the road is not easy for a school that has to scratch to field relay teams, and shares a head coach.
"Since I'm head coach for both, there are a lot of days either the boys or the girls don't have practice because one or the other has a meet," Reinert said. "It makes it challenging."
St. Mary's will be running at the Storm Lake public meet on Friday against bigger schools.
"It will be a good meet to get good seed times for districts because it's such a nice track - that is, if it doesn't rain," Reinert said.