Babb finishes in top 20 among top runners from across the State

By Anne Homan,

Sports Reporter

Titans Varsity athlete Jaycie Babb (lef) finished 20th place becoming the first Titan to earn a top 20 finish at the Augustana Twilight Meet two years in a row. Photo: Anne Homan


With over 1200 athletes from over 60 schools and four states, Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls became the premier cross country event destination on Friday, Sept. 2 as the annual Augustana Twilight Meet got underway.


Among the athletes competing were members of the Tea Area High School cross country team.


The evening’s events were highlighted by a top 20 finish by Titan Varsity girl runner, Jaycie Babb. With her 20th place finish, Babb became the first Titan to earn a top 20th finish at the Augustana Twilight Meet two years in a row. The 5K race featured several top runners from the Region.


“Babb used a great opening surge to put herself in position and finished well to earn 20th place,” said Titan head coach Ryan Decker. Babb clocked a time of 19:56 in the event that featured over 250 runners.


Grace Bialas, who had a strong performance in the season opener in the Junior Varsity race, was moved up to Varsity.

“Bialas used a great middle run to move up the field to earn 51st place,” said Decker.


Bialas finished with a time of 20:53, the fourth fastest 5K ever run by a Titan girl.

Also competing for the Varsity girls were Jaydin Mitchell who claimed 173rd place (22:51), Meredith Decker who took 178th (22:54), Lydia Decker who took 202nd place (23:21), Haley Korver 205th (23:22); Brooklyn Reiners 216th (23:48); and Scarlett Taylor 244th (25:51). The Varsity girls finished 16th in the team competition that featured several States and both A and AA Classes. Among the Class A teams, the Titans finished fourth.


Five Titans competed in the field of nearly 300 for the Varsity boys. Reid Hammerquist led the way setting a new personal best in the 5K with a time of 18:06, crushing his previous best of 19:15. This time placed him 138th. The Titans’ Jack Campbell also recorded a season-best time of 18:26, placing him 167th place. Holden Jelen clocked a time of 18:35 to take 178th place; Alex Kayser claimed 288th place (20:54); and Peyton Sieber took 29th (21:58). As a team the Varsity Boys finished 29th in the team competition.


The Junior Varsity 4K races started the event at Yankton Trail. In the field of nearly 300 athletes, ten Titans were featured in the girls’ JV race. Abby Hilleson led the way for the Titans with a 50th place finish and a time of 18:58. Logan Castle took 51st (18:59); Daphne Decker finished in 104th place (19:59); Miah Thorstenson took 109th (20:07); Erica Boterman took 116th (20:15); Breslyn Rand finished 122nd (20:22); Kiley Pendergast took 205th (22:16); Averi Johannsen took 238th (23:26); Aiden Pearson earned 255th (24:28) and Brailey Groeneveld claimed 269th (25:16).


The JV Boys had 12 Titans in the field of over 400.


“Tate VanLaecken continued his great start to the season, clocking a new 4K personal record,” said Decker. VanLaecken clocked a time of 16:10 to capture 116th place. Dawson Lowery clocked a 16:37 for 155th place; Jonah Klemisch a 16:46 for 166th place; Jacob DeYoung a 17:15 for 217th place; Noah Korver an 18:25 earning 312th place; Kadin Zolnowsky grabbed 363rd place (19:48); Riley Clark took 369th place (19:52); Ayin Waltner finished 372nd (19:58); Cameron Hallvin earned 387th place (20:37); Matthew Rogers claimed 392nd (20:55), Max Bengford earned 398th (21:33); and Malachi Kaiser 406th (22:10). The JV Boys finished 27th as a team.


The Twilight Meet ended with a 5K run by the college women and a 4-mile run by college men.


Prior to the Augustana Twilight Meet, the Titans competed at Dakota Valley on Aug. 30.


The Titans recorded 17 medal finishes and claimed the Varsity Girls and Middle School Girls’ team titles.


The Varsity Girls managed to repeat as Meet champions led by Babb who paced the Titans with a second place finish in a time of 18:31. Bialas captured third place with a time of 19:39 in her first career varsity race. Korver earned a medal with her 20th place finish and time of 21:57. M. Decker took 21st (22:21); B. Reiners claimed 24th (22:29); L. Decker took 27th (22:38); Mitchell claimed 29th (22:45); and Taylor finished 38th (23:53). The Titan Girls won the team title over Sioux City East and Dakota Valley.


The Varsity boys were led by Hammerquist who earned eighth place with a time of 17:27. Jelen clocked a time of 17:45 for 11th place. Kayser ran strong, finishing in 25th in a time of 19:45. Sieber claimed 28th in a time of 20:36. The Titan boys finished third in the team competition.


The JV boys competed and were led by DeYoung who took 11th place in a time of 17:07. Rogers claimed 24th place in a time of 18:31.


Seven Titans competed in the JV girls’ race. Hilleson earned second place in her first career JV race, with a time of 18:07. M. Thorstenson also medaled, grabbing a sixth place in a time of 18:52. Gracie Kramer took 21st place (22:14); Pendergast claimed 25th place (22:54); Groeneveld took 27th (23:43); Averi Johannsen finished 28th (23:44), and Pearson took 29th (23:58). The JV girls finished third in the team competition.


For the middle school boys, three Titans earn medal finishes. VanLaecken placed 3rd place with a time of 10:37. Klemisch close took fourth (10:41); Dawson Lowery sixth place in a time of 10:49; Kadin Zolnowsky finished in 23rd (12:09); Noah Korver took 25th (12:22), Riley Clark finished 28th (12:30), Grant Curtis 29th (12:36), and Cameron Hallvin 30th (12:36), Malachi Kaiser 36th (13:55); and Cael Hermanson 43rd (15:19). The MS boys finished second in the team competition.


The middle school girls’ race featured 19 Titans competing in the field. Results were as follows: Daphne Decker 2nd place (12:22); Jayne VanLaecken 3rd place (12:31); Erica Boterman 4th (12:42); Breslyn Rand 5th (12:52); Logan Castle 6th (12:59); Kinsley Gass 7th (13:00); Elena Mehlbrech 8th (13:06); Lilly Turek 11th place (13:12); Natalie Hyronimus 12th (13:19); Gretchen Curtis 16th place (13:40); Mikayla Berg 20th place (14:12); Sophie Sherwood 21st (14:15); Lola Underberg 22nd (14:18); Emerson Smolik 23rd (14:18); Grace Chapman 28th (14:55); Ella Kamps 29th (15:00); Brekkyn Quigley 34th place (15:32); Selina Bolte 36th (15:58); and Kelsey Kramer 37th (16:02). The Titan middle school girls won the team competition.


The Titans will compete in the Nike Heartland Meet at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls on Saturday, Sept. 10. Action is set to begin with middle schoolers at 9:45 a.m., followed by Varsity then JV. They will be back at Yankton Trail Park on Sept. 13 when they compete in the Sioux Falls Christian Invite.