Whether it was better conditioning, better conditions or just simply the lure of free ice cream, track and field athletes from across the state continued to amp up their efforts this past week.
There was a total of 48 new state-leading times and distances recorded in the last seven days, so the leaders this week look much different than they did a week ago.
One of the groups that made a major move was the relay squads from Herreid-Selby Area.
I gave them a proposition in Mobridge the other day, said Wolverines coach Rick Quaschnick. I told them if a relay team qualifies for state, I would treat the entire team to ice cream at Dairy Queen.
The runners took him up on the offer, qualifying more than one relay squad for state and improving their times in other relays.
As a result, the Wolverines now have the fastest Class B time in the boys' 400-meter relay, are sixth in both the boys' 800-meter and sprint medley relays, and are fifth in the girls' 400-meter relay.
That is just fine with Quaschnick, who tends to have an affection for relays.
I love relays, Quaschnick said. I work with handoffs constantly.
It was those key handoffs that made the difference this past week.
You never want to say you hit your peak. We always feel there's room for improvement, Quaschnick said. Our handoffs were just about picture perfect.
In a race like the 400-meter relay, handoffs often spell the difference between winning and losing.
That will make or break, Quaschnick said, because all the schools have fast kids.
Quaschnick said the athletes enjoy competing in relays, are working hard, and are capable of lowering their times even more in the future.
I think they'll get better yet, Quaschnick said of the relay times. The weather is going to get better. The kids are going to get stronger. They're getting better with exchanges.
The bigger question is whether the Wolverines can be prodded along with more ice cream proposals in the near future.
Herreid-Selby Area returns to the track in Eureka today for the Yellowstone Trail Conference meet.
I told the kids (Tuesday) night, it's too bad Eureka doesn't have a Dairy Queen, Quaschnick said.
Hidden in all the numbers of the past week was a rare accomplishment by a pair of Madison runners. The Bulldogs recorded the top times in Class A for boys and girls in the same event on the same day.
Competing in the Hamlin Banana Relays on Tuesday, Chris Nielsen clocked a :49.80 time in the 400-meter dash. Minutes before, Lexi Finck turned in the top time in Class A in the open quarter in a time of :59.65.