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  • Val T.

Dodt named Star of Stars as Pioneer boys win Cass County Invite

Moolenaar, M. Harding, Nies, Strycker win events as Lady Panthers also prevail


BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS

Sports Editor, RTC


The Pioneer girls and boys track teams swept the Cass County Invitational titles at Logansport on April 29. The Pioneer girls won with 88 points, 20 more than runner-up Lewis Cass. The Pioneer boys won with 88 points, 10 more than runner-up Lewis Cass.


LOGANSPORT — Leighton Dodt was named the Fred Kinder Star of Stars award after winning the 400 meters, 1,600, 3,200 and also running a leg on the victorious 4 x 800 relay team to lift the Pioneer boys track team to the Cass County Invitational title at Logansport on April 29.

Rylahn Toloza also starred for Pioneer, winning the 100, the 200 and the long jump, all in personal best performances.

Meanwhile, Pioneer also took the girls title thanks to individual wins from Aspen Moolenaar in the pole vault, Michelle Harding in the long jump, Keirsten Nies in the high jump and Makenna Strycker in the 800.

Pioneer also won the 4 x 100 relay in the girls meet. That quartet consisted of Michelle Harding, Nies, Moolenaar and Rachel Harding.

Both the Pioneer girls and boys scored 88 points in their respective meets. The girls beat runner-up Lewis Cass by 20 points while the boys beat Lewis Cass by 10.

Caston finished fourth out of four teams in the girls meet with 22 points and fourth in the boys meet with eight.

Lewis Cass freshman Aftin Griffin, who won the 100, 200 and 400, won the Fred Kinder Star of Stars award in the girls meet.

Pioneer girls

Moolenaar, a freshman, set a personal best of 8-6 in the pole vault, and she was also second in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles behind Lewis Cass’ Liberty Scott.

Michelle Harding also was second in the 200 behind Griffin and third in the 100 behind Griffin and Rachel Harding. Her winning long jump of 16-4 ½ beat out teammate Blair Grigsby by three inches for the title and was a personal best. Her 100 time of 13.10 seconds was also a personal best.

Nies, a sophomore, fell short of a personal best in the high jump, but her clearance of 4-10 was good enough to beat Logansport’s Lanee Huff and teammate Rachel Harding on the fewest-misses tiebreaker. She was also fourth in the 200 and part of the 4 x 400 relay that claimed second.

Strycker, a sophomore, set a personal best in the 800 in 2:44.56, scooting by Lewis Cass senior Fernanda Montiel, who finished in 2:46.38.

Strycker joked afterwards that she really does not like the 800, but she said she’s not a sprinter and not a distance runner, so the 800 is a compromise. She said she ran a 3:10 at the Purdue indoor meet back in March. She said the key to her race is “all mental.”

“You definitely need to get a good first lap,” Strycker said. “You need to get out in front of everybody when you break. And then after the first lap, you need to stay strong. You can’t give in to when your body is telling you to stop. You’ve got to just stay strong and stay in front of the pack. … You’ve just got to keep telling yourself, ‘You’re almost done. You’re almost done.’”

In the 400 meters, Paula Collado Fernandez ran a 1:03.09 and finished second behind Griffin. A potential rematch could occur at the Kokomo sectional on May 16.

“So Paula has done so well all season that we really didn’t sit and have that race strategy conversation,” coach Teresa Montgomery said. “I put that on me. She hasn’t had anybody within two or three seconds of her at all. And so she just wasn’t prepared. You know, Paula comes from Spain. This is the first time she’s ever even run track and field, so a little bit of conversation training is going to go a really long way for her in the next couple weeks.”

Coach Montgomery said that Violet Montgomery, the team’s top distance runner from last year, will miss this season with an illness.

Caston girls

Caston’s only individual champion in the girls meet was Tayler Shafer, a Bethel University signee who won the shot put with a heave of 29-10. Teammate Breana Amezquita was third at 29-2.

Amezquita and Shafer also finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the discus and accounted for 12 points by themselves.

“Tayler did a great job,” Caston coach Blair Zimmerman said. “She came over nearly giddy. She’s like, ‘I got it. I won it with a 29-10.’ I’m super proud of her for working hard. We’ve got coach (Ben) Brubaker working with our throwers this year. So they’ve all been making some great improvements. Excited to see them moving forward.”

Also, Mackenzi Roudebush and Stevanna Young took third and fourth, respectively, in the 3,200 meters.

Pioneer boys

Perhaps more known for his distance running – he was the regional cross-country champion last fall – Dodt, a sophomore, won the 400 in 52.25 seconds. His time was 0.97 seconds faster than Lewis Cass freshman Gavin Griffin.

Dodt also won the 1,600 in 4:38.34 and the 3,200 in 10:24.28.

Montgomery called Dodt’s 400 time “insane.”

“He continues to surprise us and just do amazing things,” coach Montgomery said. “He asked if he could try the 400 a couple weeks ago at a Tuesday night meet and ran a 53. And so, hey, we know you have other talents than the 32. So we’re going to spread him out, and it worked today in a big way.”

Toloza won the 100 in 11.00 seconds and the 200 in 23.00 seconds. His winning long jump of 21-2 was more than 16 inches further than teammate, runner-up and fellow junior Cayden Hill.

Toloza thanked assistant coach Zach Williams for helping him with his work in the blocks.

“Just staying low in getting out of the blocks,” Toloza said when asked for what advice Williams has given him. “Don’t go straight up.”

Toloza suffered a back injury during the 2021 football season, which lingered into the spring of 2022. He’s back and healthy this time.

“I’m really glad because last year was bad,” Toloza said. “I just had to sit there.”

Jackson Baker completed a Pioneer sweep of the flat ground running events when he won the 800 in 2:05.40. Baker, a junior and a 2022 regional qualifier in the 800, topped Lewis Cass’ Enoch Hines, who was second in 2:08.18.

The 4 x 800 relay team, which consisted of Carson Meyer, Ian Kitchell, Baker and Dodt, broke the school record with their time of 8:29.65. That was over eight seconds clear of the field and a new school record.

Caston boys

Caston scored all eight of their points in the 300 hurdles, where Brady Evans won in 43.44 seconds and fellow senior Austin Dague was fourth in 46.90.

“It feels great, but I’m really tired,” Evans said.

Evans suffered a torn ACL in a basketball game during the 2021-22 basketball season. He missed most of the season last year but made it back in time for sectionals.

“Rehab took some time, took some getting used to it,” Evans said. “Didn’t feel great, but it’s been getting better and better. It’s obviously a little bit harder to get over the hurdle because I’m not nearly as flexible, but I’m getting there. It seems to be working out OK.”

Zimmerman hopes that Evans’ win is a sign of optimism as he prepares for the May 11 conference meet at LaVille and the May 18 sectional meet at Plymouth.

“He was really concerned when he first injured that leg that it was going to end careers. Then just last year for him to have rehabbed enough to make it back in time for sectionals and then come out and go so hard in hurdles this year. We’re so excited, and we’re really hoping that he’s got a good shot of being one of our frontrunners as we go to the sectional race.”

Cass County Invitational at Logansport girls track results: Pioneer 88, Lewis Cass 68, Logansport 62, Caston 22

Scoring on 6-4-3-2-1 basis for individual events and 6-4-2 basis for relays

All Caston and Pioneer results

100 m

1. Griffin (LC) – 12.56 seconds, 2. Rachel Harding (PIO) – 12.85, 3. Michelle Harding (PIO) – 13.10, 4. Kaitie Hutsell (CAS) – 13.47, 8. Maddie Sprow (CAS) – 16.13

200 m

1. Griffin (LC) – 26.25 seconds, 2. Michelle Harding (PIO) – 27.59, 4. Keirsten Nies (PIO) – 29.26, 6. Camila Hernandez-Rios (CAS) – 30.13

400 m

1. Griffin (LC) – 58.47 seconds, 2. Paula Collado Fernandez (PIO) – 1:03.09, 4. Chloe Chan (PIO) – 1:08.11, 7. Maddie Sprow (CAS) – 1:23.79

800 m

1. Makenna Strycker (PIO) – 2:44.56

1,600 m

1. Martinez (LOG) – 6:34.16, 3. Kylie Jamerson (PIO) – 6:42.25, 4. Jaded Aguilar (CAS) – 6:43.64, 6. Laylynn Malchow (PIO) – 7:33.59

3,200 m

1. Hernandez (LOG) – 13:34.97, 2. Kylie Jamerson (PIO) – 14:23.90, 3. Mackenzi Roudebush (CAS) – 14:28.78, 4. Stevanna Young (CAS) – 14:53.78

100 m hurdles

1. Scott (LC) – 15.94 seconds, 2. Aspen Moolenaar (PIO) – 17.43 seconds, 4. Blair Grigsby (PIO) – 19.11

300 m hurdles

1. Scott (LC) – 51.38 seconds, 2. Aspen Moolenaar (PIO) – 53.32, 3. Blair Grigsby (PIO) – 53.59

4 x 100 m relay

1. Pioneer (Michelle Harding, Keirsten Nies, Aspen Mollenaar, Rachel Harding) – 51.50 seconds

4 x 400 m relay

1. Lewis Cass – 4:22.19, 2. Pioneer (Blair Grigsby, Chloe Chan, Rachel Harding, Keirsten Nies) – 4:29.22, 4. Caston (Kaitie Hutsell, Ali Paul, Camila Hernandez-Rios, Mackenzi Roudebush) – 5:18.65

4 x 800 m relay

1. Logansport – 11:45.22, 2. Pioneer (Laylynn Malchow, Alaina Callaway, Chloe Chan, Kylie Jamerson) – 12:16.50

Long jump

1. Michelle Harding (PIO) – 16-4 ¼, 2. Blair Grigsby (PIO) – 16-1 ½, 6. Ali Paul (CAS) – 13-11 ½

High jump

1. Keirsten Nies (PIO) – 4-10, 3. Rachel Harding (PIO) – 4-10, 5. Ali Paul (CAS) – 4-8

Discus

1. Sipe (LC) – 79-10, 4. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 74-8, 5. Tayler Shafer (CAS) – 71-2, 7. Brenner McLain (PIO) – 62-9, 8. Chelsea Clark (PIO) – 48-5

Shot put

1. Tayler Shafer (CAS) – 29-10, 3. Breana Amezquita (CAS) – 29-2, 7. Brenner McLain (PIO) – 25-2 ¼, 8. Chelsea Clark (PIO) – 22-9

Pole vault

1. Aspen Moolenaar (PIO) – 8-6, 2. Makenna Strycker (PIO) – 7-0

Cass County Invitational at Logansport boys track results: Pioneer 88, Lewis Cass 78, Logansport 69, Caston 8

Scoring on 6-4-3-2-1 basis

All Caston and Pioneer results

100 m

1. Rylahn Toloza (PIO) – 11.00 seconds, 6. Kevin Gluth (PIO) – 12.04, 7. Chase Angot (CAS) – 12.16

200 m

1. Rylahn Toloza (PIO) – 23.00 seconds, 4. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 24.54, 7. Austin Dague (CAS) – 27.03, 8. Chase Angot (CAS) – 27.72

400 m

1. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 52.25 seconds, 3. Ian Kitchell (PIO) – 53.50, 7. Kane Finke (CAS) – 1:02.18, 8. Josiah Helt (CAS) – 1:03.94

800 m

1. Jackson Baker (PIO) – 2:05.40, 6. Jack Cooper (PIO) – 2:18.37, 7. Josiah Helt (CAS) – 2:42.57, 8. Braden Rush (CAS) – 2:44.80

1,600 m

1. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 4:38.34, 2. Carson Meyer (PIO) – 4:45.75, 6. Zach Rogers (CAS) – 5:29.13, 7. Edgar Aguilar-Mendez (CAS) – 6:31.37

3,200 m

1. Leighton Dodt (PIO) – 10:24.28, 2. Carson Meyer (PIO) – 10?27.81, 6. Curt Shaffer (CAS) – 12:08.06, 8. Braden Rush (CAS) – 15:33.62

110 m hurdles

1. Rene (LOG) – 16.55 seconds, 4. Austin Brooke (PIO) – 18.05, 6. Kamden Long (PIO) – 20.96

300 m hurdles

1. Brady Evans (CAS) – 43.44 seconds, 4. Austin Dague (CAS) – 46.90, 6. Austin Brooke (PIO) – 47.52, 8. Isaac Nicoll (PIO) – 50.65

4 x 100 m relay

1. Logansport – 45.91 seconds, 3. Pioneer (Kaleb Boller, Kevin Gluth, Rylahn Toloza, Isaac Nicoll) – 47.22, 4. Caston (Zach Rogers, Chase Angot, Kane Finke, Brady Evans) – 51.93

4 x 400 m relay

1. Logansport – 3:40.25, 3. Pioneer (Ian Kitchell, Cayden Hill, Kevin Gluth, Jackson Baker) – 3:43.60, 4. Caston (Kane Finke, Zach Rogers, Brady Evans, Austin Dague) – 3:59.69

4 x 800 m relay

1. Pioneer (Jackson Baker, Ian Kitchell, Carson Meyer, Leighton Dodt) – 8:29.65

Long jump

1. Rylahn Toloza (PIO) – 21-2, 2. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 19-9 ¾, 7. Austin Dague (CAS) – 16-2, 8. Chase Angot (CAS) – 14-4 1/2

High jump

1. Bau (LOG) – 6-0, 2. Austin Brooke (PIO) – 5-10, 3. Cayden Hill (PIO) – 5-10, 7. Brady Evans (CAS) – 5-2

Discus

1. Fale (LC) – 150-2, 5. Silas Rouch (PIO) – 86-9, 6. Liam Rouch (PIO) – 78-2, 7. Liam Wilburn (CAS) – 49-10, 8. Josiah Helt (CAS) – 49-9

Shot put

1. Fale (LC) – 44-6, 4. Liam Rouch (PIO) – 33-7, 6. Silas Rouch (PIO) – 30-5 ½, 7. Liam Wilburn (CAS) – 26-0, 8. Aaron Warnock (CAS) – 22-2 1/2

Pole vault

1. Sejour (LOG) – 9-6, 2. Isaac Nicoll (PIO) – 9-6, 3. Kevin Gluth (PIO) – 7-0


Makenna Strycker Rylahn Toloza Aftin Griffin Brady Evans

Leighton Dodt

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