Packer track and field team opens season at home

Published 9:21 pm Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Austin track and field team was finally able to get out and compete for the first time this season as the weather lightened up enough for the Packers to host a quadrangular with temperatures in the mid 40s at Larry Gilbertson track and field Thursday.

It was the first real action for a lot of Austin athletes, who had only had two days of practice outside before the meet. Austin junior hurdler Taige Iverson was able to shake off any rust she might have had as she took first in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 17.32 seconds and she took first in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 52.91 seconds.

“It was hard to get started, but once I started running it was natural,” Iverson said. “It was like riding a bike. It was good to see where times are to start off the season and it was nice that it was a home meet, because that makes less stressful.”

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It’s been a tough spring for all area athletes, especially hurdlers like Iverson as there is no way to simulate running a race, unless a track is available. Iverson said she’s had to do what she can to stay active.

“It’s been really frustrating,” Iverson said. “For the past four weeks we’ve been in the high school where all we can do is a little bit of conditioning. We’ve been trying to do hurdles in the gym, but you can really only go over one because you can’t get the same distance as the track. Hopefully the weather will be ready now.”

Austin junior runner Henry Hinchcliffe also came out strong in his first meet of the year as he won the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:50.23.

“As a team, I think we had a good day today,” Hinchcliffe said. “It’s been kind of rough getting adjusted. Distance runners have been outside every day, but when you’re not on a track that makes it pretty hard for you. But that’s Minnesota for you.”

Austin’s Connor Byrum clears the final hurdle in the 110-meter high hurdles Thursday. Eric Johnson/

Hinchcliffe also showed his support for his teammates he openly clapped for Austin sophomore Meti Omod as he passed Hinchcliffe down the stretch of the 800-meter run. Omod won that race with a time of 2:12.60 and Hinchcliffe finished second.

Hinchcliffe said he has enjoyed working with Omod, Raymond Lucero, Brockdon Lawhead, Jackson Marsh, OJ Cham, Alex Patrick and Blake Patrick.

“I think Meti had a fantastic race today,” Hinchcliffe said. “That’s a tremendous time, especially for someone of his age. All of those guys are really fun to work with. I’m having a blast with them so far and I can’t wait for more of it.”

Austin’s Connor Byram took first in the 110-meter hurdles, Andrew Chesak took second in the 100-meter dash, Josh Belden took fourth in the 400-meter dash and Jacob Steinbach took second in the 200-meter dash and second in the triple jump.

Austin’s Caroline Williams took third in the 100-meter dash, Hannah Quandt took second in the 100-meter hurdles, Abby Lewis took first in the 1600-meter run and second in the 800-meter run, Ava Boverhuis took third in the 400-meter dash, Tori Watkins took second in the triple jump, and Madison Herrick took second in the 200-meter dash.

Team results and full individual results were not available at press time due to technical difficulties.

Austin Meti Omod hands off to Mitchell Mayer in the 4 x 800 relay Thursday afternoon. Eric Johnson/