Trojan boys, Cardinal girls win Class AA titles
WORTHINGTON -- There is only one word to describe Worthington's Travis Pedersen's day at the 56th Annual Trojan Relays Thursday.
In his last home meet, the senior won all four events to lead Worthington to an overall team title in Class AA with 199 points.
"It's a great way to end a great year here," Pedersen said. "All my time spent has really paid off by winning my last home meet. It really means a lot."
On the girls' side, it was Katlyn Sawtelle that turned in a perfect day to lead Luverne to a team title.
"I thought it wouldn't be that great because of the weather, but it was actually a pretty good day," Sawtelle said. "You didn't really feel it when you were running."
After the Trojans' 199 points, Pipestone Area finished second with 124.5 points, while Marshall, New Ulm and Luverne capped the team scoring.
But for the Trojans, it was Pedersen and Adou Omot that led the Worthington charge.
"Adou Omot had a big night again," Worthington head coach Mike Traphagen said. "Travis Pedersen and Tommy Mammen are having great seasons, and we know they have a great chance to win whatever race they are in."
Pedersen earned his first victory in the 400 meter dash, edging Andrew Illikman of New Ulm by .34.
"I had a little tougher time in the 400, but I just gave it my all," Pedersen said. "Today proved to be my day, and I really took advantage of it."
He also captured first in the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.70, defeating Mammen (24.18) for the top finish.
"That one was kind of weird because it was started too soon," Pedersen said. "I don't think anyone was set. I just ran and felt real good during that run, especially on the straight away here, it was like I was running by myself."
Mammen was able to capture an individual title in the 100 meter dash (11.53).
Pedersen also finished first in the triple jump with a leap of 40-5.75, defeating Jordan Raske of Marshall by more than three feet.
But it was the 4x400 relay where Pedersen won by his most convincing fashion. The Trojan team of Pedersen, Omot, John Mead and Mammen finished in a time of 3:36.65, more than 12 seconds ahead of Pipestone Area.
"They said we had a seeded time of 15 seconds, so we knew that we would have a pretty comfortable lead," Pedersen said. "But we did what we needed to do."
With the 4x400 victory, Omot picked up his third victory of the night.
"(The day) was all right, but it was kind of cold today which made it tough," Omot said. "We did well on our 4x4 team. We came out strong and that's what we needed."
Omot picked up a victory in the 1,600 meter run with a time of 5:06.09, defeating fellow Trojan Aaron Grafing by three seconds.
"It was a good race and good competition. Me and Adou were pushing each other the whole way," Grafing said. "It helped a lot (to have Adou in front), he kept me going and kept me working hard."
Omot also earned a victory in the 800 meter run by nearly five seconds.
In the field events, PA's Eric Stark competed in just two events, the discus and the high jump.
"I thought that I'd get last in the high jump and maybe place in the disc, but I guess everybody jumps the same when the weather is like this," Stark said.
His expectations proved to be low as his toss of 128-11 gave him a first place in the discus throw.
"I threw pretty good," Stark said. "It was my first meet, so I'm surprised that I beat everybody else."
In the high jump, Stark cleared 5-4 and defeated Mead, who also cleared 5-4.
"I jumped pretty bad, but the weather was pretty bad," Stark said. "Usually I do better, but what can you do?"
In one of the closest races of the day, Worthington's Brandon Berger edged Luverne's Greg Muller by a .16 in the 110 meter hurdles.
"It feels great every time going over them," Berger said. "The Luverne guy was pretty tough. He's always tough every time we get together. We always eye each other across the field and notice each other."
In his first attempt at the 3200 meter run, seventh grader Ethan Spittle gave Worthington another first place in a time of 10:52.42.
"He's a pretty natural runner and pretty competitive," Traphagen said. "That's a good combination in a track athlete. He surpassed my expectations on what he'd do tonight, but I thought he'd have a pretty good chance to be good in that event."
Behind the four victories from Sawtelle, Luverne scored 184.5 points as a team, while Worthington finished second with 165.5 points and PA finished third with 114 points in class AA at the Trojan relays.
"I think we liked our effort from our girls, and we've liked it all year long," Traphagen said. "I think we did a pretty good job of staying close to Luverne and they are a quality team."
Sawtelle was golden on the hurdles, winning the 100 meters in 16.75 and the 300 in 48.37.
"(The 100) was a lot better than the 300 because the weather was better," Sawtelle said.
She also won the pole vault (8-0) and was a member of the 4x400 team that place first in a time of 4:14.31.
Sawtelle joined Allison Henke (first in the 800 meter run), Paige Nath (second in the 400) and Lexi Jo Heitkamp, who had two individual victories on the day.
Heitkamp finished first in the 1,600 meter run with a time of 5:27.69, but trailed Worthington's Kaitlin Gerber (second place) for most of the race.
"I tried to kick it up a little bit, but she was an awesome leader," Heitkamp said. "She did a good job of kicking it up. I didn't know when to pass her until the end."
With 150 meters left, Heitkamp found an extra push and was able to capture the victory.
"I could hear my coach yelling at me, so I knew it was definitely time to kick it," Heitkamp said.
She also won the high jump by clearing 4-8.
Trojan Jenny Mammen won two events individually, both by close margins.
In the 100, she edged Alyssa Christianson of Marshall by .05.
"It was pretty close but I just pushed myself and I always try to do my best," Mammen said. "With the weather conditions out there, you have to work past that and strive for you best."
In the 200, Mammen and Luverne's Steph Hendricks were neck and neck at the finish line, with Mammen claiming a victory by .02.
PA's Bree Woelber captured a first individually in the 400 meter dash, and fought off a late-race charge from Nath.
"It was hard; that Luverne girl was really good and I could see her at the end. It was a good race," Woelber said. "I was freezing and my legs were like logs and were hard to lift."
She also finished second in the long jump with a distance of 15-8 and was on the Arrow 4x400 team that placed second.
"It was very bad, but I got second," Woelber said of the long jump. "But it was a horrible jump for me. Normally, I jump 16-10 and my best is like 17 something, and today, I got a 15-8."
In the field events, Worthington's Jenna Donkersloot and Luverne's Callie Sawtelle had close battles in the shot put and the discus.
Donkersloot won the shot with a put of 35-03, while Sawtelle finished second.
Sawtelle would even the score in the discus, capturing first with a throw of 99-07, while Donkersloot finished second.
Worthington will be at the conference meet Thursday at Redwood Falls.