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Bigler, Gillingham qualify for state meet

Photo by Jake McNeill Marshall freshman Taleigha Bigler competes in the 800m run at the Big South Large School championships at the Southwest Minnesota State track in Marshall on May 23. Bigler qualifed for the state championships as an individual and as part of two relay teams at the 2AA Championships in Worthington Friday morning.

WORTHINGTON — In 13 years of coaching the Tigers, Marshall head girls track and field coach Marie Sample said she couldn’t recall a time when an athlete qualified for the state meet in three events or a time when a thrower qualified for the state meet. Both happened at Friday’s 2AA Section meet in Worthington, where Taleigha Bigler qualified in the 800-meter run, the 4×400-meter relay and the 4×800-meter relay while Paige Gillingham qualified in the shot put.

“She [set a personal record] by a half inch today and secured the second spot by two-and-a-half inches. I knew it would be close. I was thinking she would do really well today and she had a great day,” Sample said of Gillingham.

Gillingham threw 35 feet, 4.5 inches in the shot put to secure the state qualification. In the discus, Brooke Gillingham finished just short of advancing alongside Paige, throwing 104 feet and one inch to place third, one spot back of the qualification.

Bigler ran three events, the 4×800, 800-meters and 4×400, and qualified in all of them.

“I was talking to [Bigler] after the meet, I can’t remember a girl to qualify in three events. The only person I can remember doing it was on the guys side [Beau Bofferding],” Sample said. “We’ve had some really good athletes do it in two, but not three.”

Bigler and Brooke Gillingham are freshmen and Paige Gillingham is a sophomore, giving the three athletes years to continue competing at the state level.

Bigler ran as the anchor in the 4×800, alongside Miracle Tucker, Allyson Sample and Anna Kuecker. She received the baton in second place and moved up to first before Mankato East retook the lead. Still, the Tigers’ time of 9:32.33 was still 38 seconds faster than third-place Mankato West.

In the same day, Bigler ran a 2:20.26 in the 800 meters, putting her just under two seconds back of first place and just over three seconds ahead of third. From there, she also ran a personal best in her leg of the 4×400-meter relay, competing alongside Peyton Boeck, Katelyn Leibfried and Bri Simpson, to help the Tigers put together a time of 4:05.33. They finished one second back of first-place Mankato East and about 1.5 seconds ahead of Mankato West.

“She has individual goals, but also has team goals. She’ll do everything she can to compete for her team,” Sample said of Bigler. “She does all the little things… She wants to win, that can be kind of contagious.”

As a team, the Marshall girls finished fifth out of 12 teams with 62 points, sitting 7 points back of fourth-place Belle Plaine and 15 ahead of sixth-place Fairmont.

Mankato East won the meet with 173.5 points while Mankato West and New Prague rounded out the podium.

Ava Holmgren put together a third-place performance for Marshall in the high jump while Autumn Deutz placed fifth in the pole vault.

On the boys side, Marshall placed 10th with 27 points, 11 points ahead of 11th-place Glencoe-Silver Lake and 9 points back of ninth-place Hutchinson.

Chidi Nwakama had the best individual performance for the Marshall boys team, placing sixth in the 100 meters at 11.47 seconds, while Andrew Elton placed seventh in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump. The Marshall 4×400-meter team, comprised of Nwakama, Alexander Franson, Josh Leibfried and Keagen Anderson, placed third. Their time of 28.74 put them 2.3 seconds back of Mankato East and a state qualification.

The Marshall 4×800-meter relay team also placed fourth. The team, including Sam Deutz, Mykel Paulsen, Leibfried and Anderson, ran 8:08.22.

Marshall’s qualifiers will compete at the Class AA state meet on Friday starting at 9 a.m. at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Those who advance past Friday’s preliminaries will advance to the finals on Saturday, June 10 at 9 a.m.


100m: 8-Bri Simpson, 13.38. 800m: 2-Taleigha Bigler, 2:20.26; 8-Jersey Leysen, 2:33.27; 9-Avery Schneekloth, 2:33.29. 1600m: 11-Oakley Schneekloth, 5:51.16; 12-Miracle Tucker, 5:52.78; 13-Landrey Graven, 5:53.65. 3200m: 3-Allyson Sample, 11:00.70; 12-Cameen McFarquhar, 12:51.78; 15-Peyton DeMuth, 13:06.20. 100m hurdles: 28-Anna DeGroot, 21.18. 300m hurdles: 26-Madi Ziemer, 58.17; 29-Anna DeGroot, 1:00.11. 4x100m: 4-Alexi Schneider, Aysia Miles, Makayli Burrell, Chioma Onyeaghala, 52.73. 4x200m: 8-Alexi Schneider, Aysia Miles, Makayli Burrell, Chioma Onyeaghala, 1:53.98. 4x400m: 2-Peyton Bock, Katelyn Leibfried, Taleigha Bigler, Bri Simpson, 4:05.33. 4x800m: 2-Miracle Tucker, Allyson Sample, Anna Kuecker, Taleigha Bigler, 9:32.33. Shot put: 2-Paige Gillingham, 35-04.50; 19-Adyson Fischer, 28-06.50; 28-Brooke Gillingham, 25-09.75. Discus: 3-Brooke Gillingham, 104-01; 17-Paige Gillingham, 85-02; 28-Olivia Degroot, 69-04. High jump: 3-Ava Holmgren, 5-01.00; 23-Avery Fahl, 4-05.00. Pole vault: 5-Autumn Deutz, 10-02.00; 15-Delaney Dieken, 8-02.00. Long jump: 11-Chioma Onyeaghala, 14-09.00; 27-Chika Nwakama, 13-02.75; 29-Autumn Deutz, 13-01.75. Triple jump: 19-Peyton Boeck, 30-10.25; 26-Julia Fahl, 27-08.50; 31-Gracelyn Foster, 26-05.50.


100m: 6-Chidi Nwakama, 11.47. 1600m: 8-Kohen Holcomb, 4:50.63; 13-Landon Marthaler, 4:54.28; 14-Sam Deutz, 4:55.46. 3200m: 4-Josh Leibfrid, 9:55.75; 10-Landon Marthaler, 10:31.31; 14-Chase Werner, 10:43.24. 110m hurdles: 5-Soe Ka Maw, 15.90. 4x100m: 9-Cesar Guzman, Ansfrid Velasquez, Mickey Hess, Malachi Klem, 46.18. 4x200m: 12-Malachi Klem, Soe Ka Maw, Mickey Hess, Lincoln Degroot, 1:38.65. 4x400m: 3-Chidi Nwakama, Alexander Franson, Josh Leibfried, Keagen Anderson, 3:28.74. 4x800m: 4-Sam Deutz, Mykel Paulsen, Josh Leibfried, Keagen Anderson, 8:08.22. Shot put: 15-Cesar Guzman, 43-05.00; 26-Ty Schnaser, 36-08.25. 30-Jack Miller, 32-03.25. Discus: 17-Jack Meier, 120-02; 19-Evan Schotzko, 116-04; 31-Jacob Scherr, 87-09. High jump: 19-Alexander Franson, 5-04.00. Pole vault: 14-Austin Dunn, 9-11.00; 19-Aidan Schuerman, 9-05.00. Long jump: 8-Andrew Elton, 20-02.75; 29-Luke Novotny, 16-07.25. Triple jump: 7-Andrew Elton, 40-04.00; 17-Abubakar Hassan, 36-10.00; 22-Salman Osman, 35-11.50.


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