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Dakota Relays Day 2 recap: Menno's Ashton Massey earns first Dakota Relays title in 300-meter hurdles

May 4—SIOUX FALLS — Immediately after lunging across the finish line, Ashton Massey's eyes darted toward the Howard Wood Field video board.

But it wasn't to ascertain the outcome of a close finish at the line — Massey already knew she'd out-leaned Bennett County's Peyson O'Neill for the victory — it was to see her final time. And when a personal-record 45.06 seconds flashed on the screen, Massey's face lit up with a smile.

For all Massey has accomplished in her prep track and field career, she had never won an individual event title at the Dakota Relays prior to Saturday, adding an extra layer of emotion to the victory.

"It was a good run, and I'm really excited about it," Massey said. "It was kind of a mess because I felt really behind on my warmups, but I'm super thankful for what happened.

"This one was special. My coach came and met me in the tent (at the finish line) and we had a little moment," she added later. "I'm so proud of what we accomplished together."

O'Neill, just a seventh grader, crossed eight-hundredths back of Massey in 45.14 seconds. The budding star led the field by at least a full stride going over the third-to-last hurdle, but a slight stumble opened the door for Massey to close the gap and overtake O'Neill down the stretch.

"I could tell going around the curve that (O'Neill) was ahead of me," Massey said. "But the end is where I feel the most confident in my race because I have a kick that I don't think many other people have. I felt confident down the homestretch that I could go get her, and then she had a misstep and I was like, 'This is my time. I can go get her if I go right now.' I just attacked that last hurdle and finished it."

Immediately after taking in her new personal best from the video board, Massey turned to O'Neill and shared a brief word of sportsmanship and mutual admiration.

"She is so young, so talented and has so many years left. I'm thankful I'm not in the same class as her (Bennett County competes in Class A, Menno in Class B) because she is an athlete and people are going to know her name," Massey said of O'Neill. "She has so much to be proud of."

Massey added a podium finish in the triple jump to her weekend, recording a personal-record leap of 36 feet, 5.25 inches, which was good for seventh place. It ranks as the No. 1 distance among Class B jumpers this season. Sioux Falls Washington's Nyariek Kur, who had already won the high jump and was third in the long jump and 100-meter hurdles on the weekend, also topped the triple jump charts with a winning mark of 39-4.25.

After collecting the 800-meter special event title for her already lengthy resume on Friday night, Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Berkeley Engelland tacked on the girls' 400-meter title at the Dakota Relays on Saturday morning.

Engelland cruised to the win, finishing in 55.72 seconds, more than two full seconds clear of second-place Anna Vyn (57.78), of Sioux Falls Christian. Much like after Friday's special event, she was pleased to come out on top but was hoping to see a better time pop up on the scoreboard.

"I was really happy about winning," Engelland said, "but I did want to break 55 (seconds). Just didn't quite get it."

With the win, Engelland successfully defended her 2023 title in the 400 meters in what was her final prep race at the Dakota Relays. During her career, Engelland notched seven podium finishes and three event titles individually at the Dakota Relays, in addition to three first-place finishes in relay races.

"It being my last Howard Wood (Dakota Relays) race, this was pretty special," Engelland said. "I got to get up on the podium one more time. I've been absolutely blessed, and it's a great feeling."

Engelland will return to Howard Wood Field in three weeks for the Class A state championships, where she'll look to add to her tally of 10 career state titles.

"I just have to work on my times and keep pushing myself," said Engelland, who plans to attempt state title defenses at 100, 200, 400 and 800 meters.

Here's a look at the other top Mitchell-area placers from Saturday's action at the Dakota Relays:

* Hanson's Brock Tuttle tacked on a sixth-place finish in the discus to his eighth-place finish in the shot put from Friday. Tuttle recorded a heave of 163 feet, 9 inches, in the discus, topping his previous personal best by 5 feet. Ethan Thomas, of Grand Forks Central (N.D.), who also won the shot put (with a top-25 mark nationally) and was third in the javelin on Friday, won the discus with a mark of 172-9.

* Burke's Piper Hanson, who advanced through Friday's preliminary and semifinal rounds to reach Saturday's girls' 100-meter hurdle final, lowered her personal record to 15.29 seconds in a sixth-place finish. Kate Laqua, of Fargo Davies (N.D.) won the race in 14.72 seconds.

* Wagner's Jhett Breen, the top-ranked Class A boys' 300-meter hurdler so far this season, posted a time of 40.65 seconds to finish sixth in the event. Jeran McNichols, of Bismarck (N.D.) won the race in 39.36 seconds.

* Iker Diaz Montilla, of Burke, added to his fifth-place high jump showing from Friday with a leap of 43 feet, 10.25 inches, to place sixth in boys' triple jump. The effort was Montilla's personal record and marked the farthest distance in Class B this season. Taking first in the event was John Williams III of Minot North (N.D.) with a leap of 45-6.

* Burke's Paige Bull launched a personal-record throw of 127 feet, 7 inches, which is also tops in Class B so far this spring, to place seventh in the girls' discus. Jana Ter Wee of West Lyon Inwood (Iowa) won the event with a mark of 142-6.

* Mitchell's Nathan McCormick recorded a personal best of 50.40 seconds in the boys' 400 meters, which doubled as the fastest Class AA time this season, earning a seventh-place finish. Josh Berger of Century (N.D.) took the individual title with a 48.20.

* Ethan/Parkston hustled to second place in the Class A boys' 4x100-meter relay with a 44.46-second mark. Dell Rapids (44.24) was the top finisher.

* Four area schools placed inside the top eight of the Class B boys' 4x100-meter relay, led by Freeman (45.00) in third. Gregory (45.44) was fifth, with Canistota (45.49) in seventh and Freeman Academy/Marion (45.66) in eighth. Ipswich took the win in 44.33 seconds.

* Winner finished fourth in the Class A girls' 4x100-meter relay with a time of 51.57 seconds. Oak Grove Lutheran (N.D.) took down the relay victory in a meet-record time of 49.52 seconds.

* Freeman (53.11) took fifth place in the Class B girls' 4x100-meter relay, with Burke (53.17) in sixth. Colman-Egan won in 51.56 seconds.

* Gregory earned the runner-up spot in the Class B boys' 4x400-meter relay, notching a time of 3:34.98. Freeman (3:38.73) was seventh in the relay, which was won by Deubrook Area in 3:30.26.

* Mitchell's Lainee Forst, Carsyn Weich, Addie Siemsen and Emerson Smith combined to take eighth place in the Class AA girls' 4x400-meter relay with a time of 4:12.37. Brandon Valley ran away with the title in 3:57.78, more than 10 seconds clear of second place.

* Freeman (4:16.61) placed fourth in the Class B girls' 4x400-meter relay, while Burke (4:16.84) was fifth. Centerville claimed the win in 4:11.98.

* The Mitchell quartet of Avrie London, Lainee Forst, Carsyn Weich and Emerson Smith took third place in the Class AA girls' sprint medley relay in a time of 4:20.15. Brandon Valley (4:08.04) was the winner.

* In the Class B girls' sprint medley relay, Burke (4:28.49) checked in at fourth place, with Gregory (4:29.60) right behind in fifth place. Deubrook Area crossed first in the relay in a time of 4:22.25.

* Gregory finished third in the Class B boys' sprint medley relay, notching a time of 3:44.65, while Freeman Academy/Marion (3:47.39) was seventh. Deubrook Area won the relay in 3:41.46.

* Ethan/Parkston (3:43.25) claimed sixth in the Class A boys' sprint medley relay, and Winner (3:43.81) was seventh. Hot Springs took home the title in 3:35.90.

* Checking in at eighth in the Class AA boys' sprint medley relay was Mitchell's squad of Carter Lee, Will Prunty, Connor Singrey and Grayson Hetland, who combined to post a time of 3:43.80. Brookings won the relay in 3:37.27.

* Custer's Ciana Stiefel broke the meet record in the girls' pole vault, clearing 12 feet, 9 inches, to claim the title. The mark measures as the best in South Dakota and 33rd-best nationally.

* Jeran McNichols, of Bismarck (N.D.), tied the meet record in the 100 meters, blazing to a mark of 10.45 seconds. McNichols also set the meet record in the 200 meters (21.24) during Friday's special event and added a third Dakota Relays title in the 300-meter hurdles.

* Meet records were broken in seven of the eight Metro middle school relay races. Ben Reifel Middle School had three record-setting teams, with Memorial, Whittier, Tea Area and O'Gorman Middle Schools all claiming one record.

* Teams representing Aberdeen Central broke meet records in the boys' and girls' unified 4x100-meter relays.