The Chatfield High School boys and girls track and field teams began their 2014 seasons back in March at the Byron Indoor Meet, which was held at Rochester Community and Technical College, with a strong showing. Although most of the Chatfield participants were limited to two events in this early stage of the season, the Gophers placed in a numerous events.

The Gopher girls' team got off to a strong start in the 55-meter dash, with Autum Erickson and Ashley Baker finishing within one one-hundredth of a second of each other (7.80 and 7.81) and taking second and third, respectively. Baker, a senior, also placed second in the long jump with a distance of 14'8" and was a part of the second place distance medley relay team. Erickson, Maddy Kammer, and Karen Gomez joined Baker in the distance medley as they finished with a time of 4:58, just four seconds behind the first place team.

Kammer, a junior and the defending state champion in the 400-meter dash, also finished tied for second in the high jump, clearing the bar at 4'6". The last Gopher girl to place in the opening meet of the year was Mikaela Bray, who finished third in the pole vault by clearing 7'3". Despite their individual successes, the Chatfield girls' team as a whole placed fourth out of five teams, as the host Byron ran away with the team win.

The Chatfield boys' team also had several impressive performances at the inaugural track meet of the season, led by Jayme LaPlante, who competed in last year's state meet in the discus and shot put. The senior thrower succeeded in his first attempt at shot put by taking first with a throw of 50'9 ½". LaPlante also took third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.29 seconds.

Fellow thrower Julius General, a junior, placed third in the shot put with a throw of 38'9". Junior Anthony Voigt made a strong push to become the second Gopher to place first in an event, only to be eclipsed down the home stretch in the 800-meter run. Instead, Voigt settled for second place with a time of 2:21.32, just 19 tenths of a second behind the winner.

Eighth grader Austin Swancutt delivered the most surprising effort of the night, placing second in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.67 in what was the first track meet of his young career. Also taking second place was the 4x400 meter relay team that was comprised of Kevin Bradt, Chase Salerno, Alex Haffner, and Justin Friedrich. Bradt and Salerno also placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 400 meter dash. The boys' team placed fifth out of five teams but only finished 20.5 points behind the first place Cannon Falls Bombers.

After having the past couple weeks off, the track and field season may start to ramp-up this week. The Chatfield Invitational was scheduled for Tuesday, April 8, after this edition went to press. Next Tuesday is the Plainview-Elgin-Millville Invitational, which was originally planned for last week. A meet at Wabasha-Kellogg last week was also postponed due to the extended winter weather.