Bison's Krautschun wins 3,200, Birnbaum breaks another record Friday at state track meet

·8 min read
Rapid City Stevens Simeon Birnbaum leads the third heat of the 800-meter Class AA boys race at the 2022 South Dakota high school state track and field meet Friday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.
Rapid City Stevens Simeon Birnbaum leads the third heat of the 800-meter Class AA boys race at the 2022 South Dakota high school state track and field meet Friday at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls.

In Bison distance runner Lane Krautschun's mind, he wasn't supposed to cross the finish line first in the Class B boys 3200-meter run Friday at Howard Wood Field.

He yelped as he crossed the line, and then dropped to his knees, saying a quick prayer before he rose to celebrate.

Through April, he was struggling with an injury that caused a tingling in his quads. He thinks it might have been a sciatic nerve issue. The state cross-country champion was "super, super worried," he said.

"I'm so relieved," Krautschun said after his championship run, "so happy."

Krautschun is the latest in a string of Bison runners who have dominated the Class B field in the 3,200 in the past few years. Daniel Burkhalter, who was in his senior year with Bison when Krautschun joined the team, won several big distance races in his career with the Cardinals. Jonathan Burkhalter won the 3,200 for Bison a year ago.

"It's really cool to see what those guys did and try and emulate it," Krautschun said.

Coming off a Class B boys cross-country championship a few months ago, he was likely expected to be the favorite in 3,200 at the start of the season after what he called "pretty good winter training." But he ran one 3,200 race at the start of the season and immediately felt pain.

The plan Friday was to settle in for the first mile, then pick up the pace in the fifth and sixth laps of the eight-lap race. Someone made a pass on him late in the race, and he wasn't sure if it was the time to respond, but he felt good, so he made his push.

"A huge (personal record)," Krautschun said of his race. "This is by far my best race of the season."

Belle Fourche's Sawyer Clarkson starts strong, finishes strong in A boys 3,200

Belle Fourche runner Sawyer Clarkson said he doesn't think there's any other way to race, so he took the lead immediately in the boys Class A 3200-meter run and pushed the whole way.

"I think every state meet everyone should go for their best," he said. "Get their fastest time, try to set (personal record) and win. And so, yeah, that's just how I race."

Clarkson kept his first-place pace throughout and finished with in time of 9:24.35, which was nearly 20 seconds faster than the next closest competitor. He won the gold medal in the event, which is given to the athlete who has the best time, regardless of class.

He had struggled with back pain recently and had taken 12 days of rest following the Howard Wood Dakota Relays. He said he spoke to his mom about the race, and they both agreed -- rest up, knowing he has the stamina to push the whole time. Clarkson said he had been thinking too much about pacing. So Friday, he didn't pace at all and the result was a time better than any Class A athlete has ever run at the state meet.

"All the kids who raced today, they're the ones who make winning a state title so important," Clarkson said. "If I wasn't racing against really good kids, then it wouldn't mean nearly as much. So I'm really happy I'm brought up in Class A where we have some really good runners like that."

Stevens Simeon Birnbaum sets meet record in 800

After he bided his time the majority of the race, Rapid City Stevens Simeon Birnbaum made a late push that left no doubt he'd cross the finish line first in the boys Class AA 3200-meter run Friday morning.

His time of 9:27.17 was just ahead of Aberdeen Central's Josh Martin, who finished in 9:28.24.

Birnbaum is so talented he can hold back in such a long race, but still win it at the end.

After that victory, Birnbaum said, he was looking forward to the 800-meter run.

"I hadn't broken the record yet," he said with a grin. "That always gives me motivation."

And so, just hours after the 3,200, Birnbaum broke the state meet record in the 800 with a time of 1:51.03. The top eight finishers all crossed the finish line in less than 1:59, the first time that has happened in state history.

Birnbaum said there isn't much strategy to the 800. His plan was to get ahead and hold the pace for as long as he could. There's no time "to mess around" in an 800, he said, "You just get to the point."

Birnbaum has now won every event that he has participated in this weekend ahead of Saturday's 1600-meter run. And he holds the state record in that event. But Brinbaum is driven by records, and he'd like to make his time even harder to top.

"There's some really great youngsters out there, and I think they can come up and get these records now, so I'm really going to try to lower them for them," he said.

Aberdeen Central's Rohfs, Merxbauer go 1, 2 in AA triple jump

The Aberdeen Central boys got a boost in the Class AA team race when Sam Rohlfs and Jacob Merbauer took first and second in the boys triple jump.

A day after winning the long jump, Rohlfs added gold in the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet, 9.75 inches to easily win the event. Merxbauer followed with a jump of 44 feet, 1.25 inches.

That gave the Golden Eagle boys 18 team points in a single event. When the Friday ended, Aberdeen Central was in first place with 46 team points.

SF Christian's Davelaar holds off Milbank's Batchelor in 800

Sioux Falls Christian's Isaac Davelaar was expecting a tight race. He waited back like he usually does as Milbank's Nick Batchelor pushed ahead of him on the final lap of the boys Class A 800-meter run. With 200 meters left, Davelaar needed to pick up speed.

"Nick's a really great runner," Davelaar said. "I'm thankful I get to run against him."

Davelaar won, holding off Batchelor in a time of 1:55.88 to pick up his second-straight state championship in the event.

He said he would like to say both wins feel the same, but admitted that last year's feels better because it was unexpected. Not that there was anything wrong with Friday's victory.

In his footrace at the end with Batchelor, Davelaar and the Milbank runner provided a preview to what should be a wild team title race between the Chargers and the Bulldogs Saturday.

The Bulldog boys had 34 team points at the end of Friday, compared to Christian's 22, but there are a slew of finals set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Davelaar will run the 1,600, and the Chargers have several relay races in which they are expected to do well.

"I think we'll see on Saturday," Davelaar said. "We'll figure out at the end."

Other Friday highlights

  • Brandon Valley's Julian Watson set the state track meet record in the 400-meter prelims with a time of 48.06. He qualified for the Saturday finals, where he's expected to be the favorite.

  • Platte-Geddes' Lee Reiser bested his own personal record by more than 3 feet to win the Class B boys shot put  with a toss of 54 feet, 8 inches. "I put a lot of extra work in this week. Going to bed earlier. Not lifting as hard... I was hoping for it, but you can't expect anything."

This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Krautschun wins 3,200 off injury and more from boys state track Day 2