Getting to compete at the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse brought out the best in many of the members of the New Richmond High School track teams.

The Tigers competed at the Griak Indoor Classic on Saturday. It’s the first time in many years the meet fit into the Tigers’ schedule, but with the unavailability of the UW-River Falls indoor facility this spring, the Tigers added the Griak Classic to their schedule.

The Tigers and Osceola were the only Wisconsin teams competing at the Classic. The meet was highly beneficial for the Tigers, especially in giving many of the team’s younger athletes a chance to begin proving themselves. The Tigers fared quite well, especially the boys, who placed fifth among 15 teams in the meet. The Tiger girls ranked 13th among 18 teams.

The biggest surprise of the meet reflected how quickly the younger Tigers are making progress. Freshman Kennan Stowers was the champion in the 400 meters with a time of 54.89 seconds.

“I thought he’d do well, but I didn’t expect him to win it, in a very good time this early in the season,” said Tiger boys coach Roger Reuvers.

Stowers wasn’t the only Tiger freshman who made an impact in the boys results. Alex Jarchow placed in two events. He took fifth place in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5 feet, 8 inches and he landed eighth in the triple jump results, with a distance of 38-2.

Junior Joe Powers also placed in two events Saturday. He took sixth place in the 60-meter hurdles. The coaches had him run the 400 to get him ready for the 300 hurdles he’ll run outdoors and he took eighth place.

The boys also had excellent results in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter relays. The Tigers placed fourth in the 3,200 relay, led by Brady Lease’s 2:16 split. The Tigers were fifth in the 1,600 relay, with Jacob Parent and Peyton Pohl finishing with split times under 56 seconds. Parent also placed seventh in the 60-meter dash.

Distance running is shaping up as a strength for the boys. Cale Bishop, Max Fore and Tyler Harris all finished in under five minutes in the 1,600 meters. Reuvers credited their dedicated work over the winter for how well they are starting the season.

The pole vault may be a strength for the team in the field events. Joe Charbonneau cleared 10-6 to place fifth in the event and Cayden Henning was eighth by clearing 8-6.

“I feel good about where our kids are at,” Reuvers said. “We’re moving in the right direction. The kids this year are very interested and want to learn.”

Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss agreed with Reuvers’ assessment of the team’s early-season progress.

“We’re really pleased with the work ethic,” Weiss said.

The girls team had a blend of strong finishes, produced between veteran athletes and newcomers. The team’s top finish was produced by sophomore Barb Kling, who took third place by clearing five feet in the high jump.

The Tigers are trying to build up their success in the field events. Sophomore Abbie Montreal and freshman Maddy Casey showed promise in the long jump, where they both cleared 14 feet to finish among the top nine girls in the event. Freshman Dyllan Powers placed sixth in the pole vault.

Distance running is an area where the Tiger girls always shine. They placed eighth in the 3,200-meter relay and eighth in the 1,600-meter relay. A surprise for the girls was the sixth place finish by freshman Kaisa Engstrom in the 3,200 meters.

“She’s going to help. She loves to run,” Weiss said.

The Tigers will complete the indoor portion of their schedule this Friday when they compete at the UW-Stout Elite Meet. The outdoor meets are scheduled to begin on Thursday, April 11, at Menomonie.