The state track meet wrapped up this past weekend and the girls Class B 400 meter dash came down to a photo finish with New Underwood's Cerington Jones winning by two-hundredths of a second over a sprinter who has already etched her name all over the South Dakota record books.
Sometimes in sports, it takes the greatness of a competitor to push an athlete to his or her best ... For New Underwood sophomore Cerington Jones, that push came in the form of White River standout Caelyn Valandra-Prue ... and Jones' best was enough to win a 400-meter state championship ...
Jones said, "So I ran against Caelyn, Caelyn Valandra-Prue, all year. And I have lost to her all year." Jones had raced the White River star many times before ... both when Valandra-Prue was winning state titles at Class A Todd County and again this season when she transferred to compete for the Class B Tigers ...
Jones said, "At the end of last track season, finding out that Caelyn was going to White River, I was like, 'Oh, this is interesting.' I was really excited because it would better me and it would better her too." As the season progressed, Jones and her head coach Stacy Finkbeiner realized that she was going to have to start faster if she was to fulfill her quarter-mile potential ...
Finkbeiner said, "We knew she had the opportunity, we talked about it all year long, we talked about what we thought she had to do to beat Caelyn, because like she said, she lost to her all year long and you knwo we really talked about being faster at the beginning so when she finished it you know we were nervous, but also excited at the same time, so when it came up we were pretty pumped." In Sioux Falls, her start was near flawless and Jones broke out to an early lead, setting up one of the most thrilling finishes you'll ever see as the New Underwood runner finished the race in 58.31 seconds to her rival's 58.33 ... Jones said, "I was like, 'You're still in front of her, you just have to keep going a little faster. And then right towards the end I could see her arm right there and I was like, "You've got to do something! You're going to have to lean and I leaned forward and I could see both of my arms out in front of me and I was like, 'Man, you're gonna fall.' And that's what happened."
Now, Jones will enter next season with a bit of a target on her back and an individual state championship on her resume ... but no matter what, she'll never doubt her coach's advice again. Jones said, "Mr. Finkbeiner had confidence in me. 'You could be a state champion in this.' So I was just like, 'OK, I'll do it. For you. And, so ... he was right." Congratulations to this week's Black Hills FOX Sports Athlete of the Week ... state champion Cerington Jones of New Underwood.
SF West at Post 22 tonight for a doubleheader ... THIS IS GAME ONE ACTION FROM OUT AT FITZGERALD STADIUM. 1. 4TH, WITH THE BASES LOADED WEST'S GRADY GULBRANSON HITS THE LINE SHOT RIGHT BACK UP THE MIDDLE AND INTO CENTER FIELD, TWO RUNS COME INTO SCORE. WEST ADDED ANOTHER RUN ON A SACRIFICE FLY. 2. 7-6 POST 22, KEATON HARTMAN SMACKS THE PITCH DEEP TO LEFT-CENTER FIELD, THIS BALL ONE HOPS THE WALL, TWO RUNS CROSS THE PLATE ON THE DOUBLE. HARTMAN HAD 3 HITS IN THE GAME. 3. ALEX WEAVER GIVES IT A RIDE TO CENTER FIELD, THIS BALL FALLS IN , JACE CALDWELL COMES ALL THE WAY AROUND FROM FIRST TO SCORE ON THE DOUBLE. WEAVER DROVE IN 3 RUNS IN THE GAME. 4. 12-8 HARDHATS, RYAN BACHMAN HITS THE HOT SHOT THAT TAKES A BIG HOP INTO CENTER FIELD, DREW MESSER CROSSES THE PLATE. BACHMAN DROVE IN 4 RUNS AS POST 22 WINS A WILD GAME ONE 16-10. 22 led the nightcap 11-3 in the fourth at last check ... they'll play a makeup game against SF East at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
In other Legion action tonight, the Post 320 Stars hosted Sioux Falls East and 320 picked up an 11-8 win in the opener as Devin Jacobs and Ren Svenson each knocked in three runs for the home team .... the Stars then got a three-hit, complete-game gem out of starter Isaac Powers to win the second game 4-0. Powers struck out six on the night.
And in Gillette, the Riders hosted Spearfish tonight and blanked Post 164 in two games ... Post 42 took the opener by a score of 2-0 before winning the nightcap 9-nothing.
And in Spearfish, the Sasquatch had an Expedition League doubleheader with Pierre and Spearfish fell 7-2 in the opener ... they were scheduled to play a second game but it was suspended due to an issue with the lights at Black Hills Energy Stadium.