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Track: Luverne girls a close second at True Team

STILLWATER -- Having once again qualified both of its high school track and field teams to the Class A State True Team Meet, the Luverne Cardinals reinforced their program's event depth and quality performances Saturday with strong showings in both the girls and boys divisions.

After leading most of the meet, the LHS girls were passed by defending champion Esko and finished a solid second in the team standings of the nine-team field, held in varying weather conditions at Stillwater High School

Esko racked up a total of 414½ points to claim an 11-point win over the Cardinals, who scored 403½ points -- a 76½-point improvement from their fifth-place finish in 2012.

Luverne's boys, paced by a stellar 60-point performance by senior Alex Weis, placed fifth in the final standings with 338½ points, improving from last year's score of 321, which put the Cardinals in sixth.

"We are so proud of both teams and how well all of the kids performed Saturday," declared LHS head coach Craig Nelson. "We moved up the ladder in each division and we're thrilled with the improvements shown by each group."

For the girls, it is their seventh straight time finishing among the top five teams at the elite meet and the program's fourth finish among the top two teams.

The Cardinals won the Class A girls' title in both 2008 and 2010, finished second in 2009, third in both 2007 and 2011, and were fifth last year.

Luverne's boys have a trio of top-five finishes, having placed third in 2005 and fifth in 2006, before Saturday's performance. The Cardinal boys were ninth in 2011 and sixth a year ago.

But, Daniel Muller, a fine hurdler and pole vaulter who scored 55 points for the Cardinals last year, graduated in 2012.

Still, the LHS boys performed well again at the state level, highlighted by a one-two finish from Weis and Cody Rofshus in both the shot put and discus, along with a first-place finish by the 4x200-meter relay team of Jackson Winter, Ethan Rust, Darrion Jones and Griffin Ahrendt.

Winona Cotter, which was third last year with 356 points, won the Class A boys' title with a score of 429, while defending champion Maple Lake (401 points last year) was second Saturday with 414½ points.

Esko was third with 368 points, followed by Holdingford (362½). Luverne (338½), Blue Earth Area (301), Pine Island (277½), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (241) and Crookston (195).

Osakis was a strong third in the girls' meet with 383 points, followed by Lake City (350), BEA (336½), Maple Lake (309), Trinity School River Ridge (288½), West Marshall (234½) and D-G-F (213½).

"We definitely had a shot at winning the girls' title," exclaimed Nelson. "We led most of the meet and we thought it might go down to the wire, and it did. We just came a little short in the end."

Five Luverne girls

each score more

than 30 points

While everybody contributes in a true team meet, the Cardinal girls had exceptional scoring days from sophomore Kynzie Smedsrud, junior Makayla Hohn, eighth-grader Madison Schandelmeier, sophomore Tayla Peterson and senior Allison Dohlman, who racked up 47, 35, 34, 33 and 33 individual points, respectively.

Smedsrud finished second in both the 100-meter high hurdles (17.24) and 300-meter lows (49.95). She placed sixth in the triple jump (32-3½) and anchored the Cardinals' fifth-place 4x100-meter relay team (54.22).

Hohn won the 3,200-meter run (11:53.76) and finished second in the 1,600 (5:28.52).

"That's a tough double," praised Nelson. "I thought that our distance runners -- both girls and boys -- really came through with great performances."

Schandelmeier scored a third in the 1,600 (5:32.35), placed fourth in the 800 (2:32.08) and added three points by placing 16th in the pole vault (6-6).

Peterson was second in the 100 (13.65) and third in the 200 (27.59). In between those two races, she anchored Luverne's fourth-place 4x200 relay (1:53.92).

Dohlmann placed second in the discus (99-4) and third in the shot put (34-3), while freshman Morgan Edwards scored 24 key points by placing fourth in the shot put (33-9½) and 10th in the discus (68-7).

"Our throwers had a super day," chimed Nelson. "Our girls scored 57 points and Alex and Cody combined for 70 points in the two throws for the boys."

Luverne's 4x800 relay team scored 24 points with a second-place finish, clocking a time of 10:36.57. Running for the Cardinals were Kaitlin Wohnoutka, Anna Tofteland, Madison Stearns and Mariah Aukes.

The Cardinals finished fourth in the 4x400 (4:23.21) with the team of Wohnoutka, Tofteland, Courtney Siebenahler and Jaidyn Elbers.

Tianna Doppenberg, Erin Sietsema and Naomi Dooyema ran the 4x100 with Smedsrud. Elbers, Dooyema and Sierra Schmuck teamed with Peterson in the 4x200.

Elbers finished third in the 300-meter low hurdles (50.34), Aukes was fourth in the 3,200 (12:34.61) and Wohnoutka claimed fifth in the 800 (2:32.89) for LHS's other top performances on the track.

Siebenahler placed eighth in the triple jump (32-2) and seventh-grader Samantha Pierce cleared 4-4 and tied for ninth in the high jump.

Weis, Rofshus

place 1-2 in both

shot put, discus

Weis (140-3) and Rofshus (137-10) had the meet's best two throws in the discus and did the same in the shot put, as Weis (48-6¾) won and Rofshus (48-3½) was a close second.

"Those two guys are among the best in the state in each event," summed up Nelson. "Bo Biever had a great day for us in all three sprints, scoring a lot of points."

Biever racked up 43 points for the Cardinals with a fourth in the 200 (23.89) and fifths in both the 100 (12.27) and 400 (53.08).

Luverne clocked a winning time of 1:36.11 in the 4x200 and finished fourth in the 4x800 (8:46.45) with the team of Peyton Stemper, Eli Dooyema, Jackson Frankenhoff and Josh Friedrichson.

Weis scored 16 more points for the Cardinals with a third-place finish in the 110-meter high hurdles (16.78) and completed his stellar day with an 11th in the 300-meter intermediates (46.05).

Dooyema scored 15 points for the Cardinals with a fourth-place performance in the pole vault, clearing 11-6.

Cody Hess ran to a fifth-place finish in the 3,200 (10:43.14), while Friedrichson was ninth (10:53.43).

Trenton Rops placed sixth in the intermediates (44.47) and Winter finished seventh in the 200 (24.48).

Drew Weis and Hess finished eighth and ninth, respectively in the 1,600 with times of 4:50.87 and 4:50.88.

"All-in-all, both the girls and boys have had great seasons this spring and they certainly did well againSaturday, competing at the state true team level," concluded Nelson. "Our future looks bright for each team."

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