It was a team effort for Aitkin’s boys’ track and field team last week.
In a format that challenges depth, the Gobblers watched five different athletes come away for four wins in the Great River Conference relay meet last week.
Junior Craig Visnovec was one of those five helping with wins in the 800-meter sprint medley relay, the 4x100 relay and the triple and high jumps.
“He did awesome,” Aitkin boys track head coach Adam Carlson said. “Anytime someone is able to do that well it is fantastic. He’s all about stepping up and maxing out. He tries really hard to make sure he’s in that many events.”
Aitkin hosted the relay meet, which highlights a team's combined scores and times in each event. For example, in the high jump and long jump, each team featured up to four participants with the combined score of each athlete producing the team score for that event.
“The meet was really, really fun,” Visnovec said. “I was a little nervous beforehand because I’ve only been in track for one year, and have only done one relay meet like that before.”
Visnovec ran the opening 100 meters in Aitkin’s 800-sprint medley relay. Visnovec was followed by Mason Boyd, who ran 100 meters, Jacob Williams, who ran 200 meters and Jaelend Williams, who ran 400 meters.
Boyd and Jaelend Williams were two other Gobblers who notched four wins for Aitkin.
“It’s really good to see smiles around the entire team,” Visnovec said. “One thing, I enjoy about track is that there is always positivity around. Seeing other people succeed really gives you motivation to work a little bit harder and pay respect to them.”
Visnovec ran the third leg of Aitkin’s winning 4x100 relay that finished in 53.77.
“The sprinting is going really well for Craig,” Carlson said. “The 4x1 is going well and he’s in the hurdles. The 300 hurdles is a good event for him and he’s going to try for pole vault too.”
Visnovec loves the sprints.
“I like them because it’s a lot easier to push myself in a short amount of time,” he said.
The Gobblers won the high jump with a total score of 14-foot-8 led by Visnovec, Anton Roettele, Lucas Moen and Joseph Buisman.
Roettele also was a part of four wins for the Gobblers.
In the triple jump, Aitkin won with a combined score of 100-3 with Visnovec, Jaelend Williams and Clayton Purdy all contributing.
“I think my sprints and jumping go hand and hand,” Visnovec said. “I love the short distances and doing the high jump and triple jump is also running short distances.”
Breckyn Williams was the fifth Gobbler athlete to win all four events he participated in including the co-ed relay.
“With COVID going on, a lot of teams are smaller and we were concerned about being smaller as well,” Carlson said. “Just about every kid is in three or four events and we are able to fill the events and have people in them. Track is a sport about having enough numbers to fill events and that’s been great.”
Carlson trusts Visnovec will do the workout in practice and set an example for the younger athletes on the team.
“He is a hard worker which is great,” Carlson said. “He is also a thinker. Instead of just doing it, he wants to understand why he’s doing it and do it better. He’s a really smart guy.”
Visnovec’s versatility and attitude also make him an ideal track and field athlete..
“Most of our team is made up of people like that,” Carlson said. “I don’t have a lot of people who are trying to get out of things and they are willing to fill up events. Craig is definitely helping lead by example and when he steps up other people want to step up as well. He’s always positive and encouraging. He’s not crazy vocal, but he is affirming and supportive.”
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Landon Janzen, Aiktin, tallied hits with two runs and three RBIs on the week.
Andrew Villareal, Pequot Lakes, went 2-4 with a double and three RBIs.
Michael Leidenfrost, Pierz, went 3-4 with three runs, three RBIs and a double.
Rian Struss, Pine River-Backus, went 3-3 with three runs and six RBIs.
Josh Kossan, Staples-Motley, pitched six innings and struck out 10 in a win.
Josh Dykhoff, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 3-4 with two runs, three RBIs with a double and a home run.
Tony Kreklau, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 3-4 with three RBIs.
Owen Miller, Aitkin, tallied four hits against Crosby-Ironton.
Track and Field: Quintin Laveau, Pillager, won three events at the Pequot Lakes invite.
Golf: Logan Herold, Pierz, was individual medalist at Blackberry Ridge Golf Club.
Sport: Track and Field
Highlights: Won four events in a Great River Conference meet