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LAST CHANCE INVITATIONAL: Harsh conditions make for an even more difficult meet

Cold temperatures, rain and nearly 30 mph winds provided bad conditions for area athletes to grab state-qualifying times at the Last Chance Invitational on Monday afternoon.

Cold temperatures, rain and nearly 30 mph winds provided bad conditions for area athletes to grab state-qualifying times at the Last Chance Invitational on Monday afternoon.

But Grand Forks Red River senior Jake Greenlees has reason to believe he will eventually grab a spot at state in the 200 meters, which has eluded him all season.

Greenlees ran his fastest time of the year in the 200 at Cushman Field, in spite of the poor conditions.

His time of 23.34 seconds was a tenth-of-a-second shy of earning a qualifying time. Greenlees will have one final opportunity to get that spot at the East Region meet in Fargo on Saturday.

"He's been running it all year and he's been real close," Red River boys coach Bob Zimney said.

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How did Greenlees put together his best time of the season in such difficult conditions? Zimney had to pause for a few seconds before coming up with an answer.

"I think one part of it might be that he was running with (teammate) Ryan (Todhunter)," Zimney said. "Ryan kind of pulled him along to a good finish. Also, it's getting to that time of year where regardless of the weather, you have to run good times."

Todhunter, a junior, did that, too.

He won the 200 (:23.04), the 400 (:51.51) and the 300 hurdles (:39.56).

"It was the first time in his high school career that he's run the open 400," Zimney said. "He might have run it in middle school, but he's never run it in high school."

Todhunter ran a state-qualifying time in the 400 but likely won't compete in that event at the state meet, which is in Bismarck in two weeks. Todhunter has qualified for a total of eight events. He'll run the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles and two other events.

"We'll have some decisions to make," Zimney said.

Grand Forks Central senior Ronnie Kyllo ran a strong meet, winning the 3,200. He also came within a second of earning a state-qualifying time in the 1,600.

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"He should be able to get that at EDC," Central boys coach Sean Allan said. "Today was a real tough day. It was too cold for the sprinters and too windy for the distance runners. But I thought we really competed well."

Kari Novotny won both the pole vault (8-6) and the long jump (14-11) to lead the Central girls.

"We talked about it before the meet -- that we've competed in bad weather all year," Central girls coach Eric Polries said. "I was happy with the way everyone ran. It was good preparation for EDC and state. You never know what to expect when you get there."

The highlight event for the Roughriders was the 400, where they finished 1-2-3. Michelle Vein won the race, while Erin McLeod and Erin Wysocki followed.

"I think this type of meet is good for us," Red River girls coach Chris Douthit said. "I thought we really competed, even though the weather wasn't very good. I think this meet really prepares us for the conference meet."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@

gfherald.com.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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