Apr. 7—MALCOLM — It was a cool, cloudy and breezy day, not ideal for a jumper like Raymond Central's Grace Mueller.
But the conditions for the Malcolm Invitational track meet Wednesday were still far better than the rain that the weather forecast had prognosticated a day earlier. Even more important, it beat the alternative every spring sport athlete had to suffer through a year ago — no season at all because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm just happy for any opportunity to compete this season," said Mueller, who won the girls long jump (16 feet, 9 1/2 inches) and triple jump (34-10 1/2 ), and was second in the 200.
"It was a little cool today, so I didn't have my best jumps, but that's OK," Mueller added. "I'll have more chances this season to improve on my PRs when the weather is better."
As a sophomore in 2019, Mueller finished fourth in the girls Class B long jump at the state meet going 17-6 1/2 , close to the 17-7 she jumped earlier that season. Raymond Central is in Class C this season, and Mueller is the top returning long jumper from 2019 in either B or C.
Mueller's best long jump this season is 17-3 registered at the Doane Indoor almost three weeks ago. She went a personal-best 36-0 in the triple jump last week in a triangular at Malcolm.
Her goals from a year ago have just carried over to 2021 — breaking 18 feet in the long jump and cracking the 37-foot barrier in the triple jump.
"I feel like I'm right where I was at this point a year ago (when the shutdown began)," said Mueller, who has committed to Nebraska Wesleyan to play volleyball and compete as a jumper on the track and field team. The 5-foot-9 Mueller was a standout outside hitter last fall on the Mustang volleyball squad, putting down 273 kills and popping up 226 digs.
"I'd love to win a state championship, but my goal right now is just to get back there (at the state meet) and hopefully medal again," she said.
Wilber-Clatonia's Mason Combs pulled off the jumps trifecta on the boys side, winning the high jump (6-0), long jump (19-7) and triple jump (40-3 1/2 ).
Other multiple event boy winners were Milford's Collin Piening in the 110-meter hurdles (16.24 seconds) and the 300 hurdles (:43.65); Wilber-Clatonia's Lucas Jacobsen in the 100 (:11.37) and 200 (:23.31), and Tommy Lokken in the 1,600 (4:57.77) and 3,200 (10:51.05); and Christian Schweitzer of Raymond Central in the shot put (47-4) and discus (126-9).
Wilber-Clatonia won the boys team title by a 184-118 margin over runner-up Malcolm. The Clippers captured the girls team crown 115 1/2 -109 over Centennial behind individual gold medals from Josephine Holliday in the 800, Kiley Elkins in the 100 hurdles and Cora Schweitzer in the discus.
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