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What to watch for at the 2024 Corn Palace Relays

Apr. 11—MITCHELL — Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Corn Palace Relays are a go for Saturday at Joe Quintal Field.

The annual event, which has been impacted in recent years by poor weather conditions, will be run beneath forecasted sunny skies and 80-degree temperatures.

As of Thursday afternoon, 17 schools are registered to compete in the all-day event, and will bring with some of the top athletes in the state across many events.

Here's a glance at what to know entering the event.

A duo of Mitchell boys enter the weekend's meet as just two of three runners in the state to have broken 51 seconds in the 400 meters so far this season. Nathan McCormick ran in 50.64 seconds at the Brandon Triangular on April 9, marking the second-best time in South Dakota, and sophomore Alexier Padilla ran a third-best 50.76 in the same meet.

With the top-four finishers in the Class AA 400 meter at state last season all graduated, the opportunity lies for Padilla and McCormick to both break through and score points for the Kernels in the event this May. Saturday's meet will mark another step towards that goal.

Among the top projected competition includes Sioux Falls Christian's Bennett Wassenaar (51.24) and Ethan/Parkston's Kolter Kramer (51.34).

The Class B cross country state champion will have his chance to showcase his abilities to a hometown crowd Saturday.

Mitchell Christian's Silas Holdeman, who claimed the Class B crown with a time of 16:13 time in October, will get an opportunity to run in Mitchell. He'll have plenty of challengers from other expected participants.

Sioux Falls Lincoln's Miles Lechtenberg holds the fourth-fastest 1600-meter time in Class AA (4:27.97), Mitchell's Hunter Patton has run a 4:36.46, and Gregory's Finn Adams has the second-best time in the 1600 meter at Class B this season (4:50.55).

On the girls' side, Sioux Falls Christian's has three girls with top-four times in the 1600 meter at the Class A level, in Corinne Braun (5:12.29), Sadie Pettengill (5:19.32) and Natalie Smith (5:21.78).

The girls' discus competition will include a showdown between two to the best throwers in the state. Burke's Paige Bull has the second-best discus throw to this point in the season (122 feet, 2 inches), while Mitchell's Lilly Young is close behind with a fourth-best (121-4).

Young has found success in the shot put as well, with a 21st-best 34 feet, 9.25 inches. She'll be challenged in the event by Mount Vernon/Plankinton's Clara Fink, who has the third-best throw of (40-4), and Lincoln's Norah Christiansen (39'-10.5') and Kierra Lubovich (39-4).

Track and field power Sioux Falls Lincoln will be in Mitchell on Saturday, meaning several of the state's fastest sprinters will be competing, including three girls who finished top eight in the girls' 100-meter dash at the 2023 state championships.

Linnea Nesheim, who placed seventh at state last year, holds the best 100-meter dash mark state-wide in 2024 (12.34), while defending state champion Ellen Merkley and runner-up Ella Termaat also return.

The dominant 100-meter dash showing has also translated onto the boys' side, where the Patriots' Mikey Roche owns the top 100 meter time in the state this season (10.77), and teammate Griffin Fischer has the second-fastest time (10.79) and the top 200 meter time (22.03).