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State track and field: Luverne's Rofshus earns silver in shot

Les Knutson

Daily Globe

SAINT PAUL — With one attempt left in the finals of the Class A boys shot put at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University Friday afternoon, Luverne senior Cody Rofshus uncorked a personal record — and LHS school record — heave of 56 feet, three inches.

That extraordinary effort moved Rofshus into the lead among the 16 qualifying state-meet shot putters, improving from his best previous mark of 54-7¾ which was achieved on his third throw in the preliminary round.

“We were all thrilled when we saw where that one landed,” declared LHS head coach Craig Nelson. “Cody really got everything behind that last throw and took the lead, which was really exciting for all of us watching.”

Chatfield senior Jayme LaPlante, who was in first place (56-½) prior to Rofshus’ final mark, responded to the challenge and captured the state title with a distance of 56-11½ on his last throw.

But, Rofshus earned the silver medal and scored 10 points for Luverne, putting the Cardinals in a three-way tie for sixth among 28 teams who scored on the opening day, which featured finals in just four events.

“We’re just tinkled pink for Cody and how well he performed up here,” beamed Nelson. “He has had a wonderful season and a great career. He capped it off in style by placing second in the state, which is really good, along with setting both a personal and school record.”

Rofshus broke the Luverne school record of 55-4 set by Andy Tilstra in 2000. Tilstra later competed in the shot put for the University of Minnesota.

Rofshus will compete in the discus today, as finals in 14 other events will be staged, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton freshman Kendra Ludeman earned eight points for the Panthers with an exceptional performance in the girls high jump Friday, clearing the bar at 5-3 and placing an impressive third.

T-M-B junior teammate Samantha Gervais cleared 5-0 and finished in a four-way tie for eighth, giving the Panthers another .75 points. T-M-B is 10th in the girls standings, among 32 teams who have scored, with 8.75 points.

Luverne has three points in the girls meet, garnered by a stellar seventh-place finish by seventh-grader Gabrielle Ferrell in the 3,200-meter run. Ferrell clocked a PR time by 12 seconds, running the eight laps in 11:41.11.

“She ran a very smart race,” praised Nelson about Ferrell’s performance. “She just had a tremendous effort, pretty amazing for a seventh-grader.”

Three seniors, two juniors and one sophomore finished ahead of Ferrell, who will run the second leg on Luverne’s 4x800-meter relay team today, which is seeded second.

“We sure hope those young legs can bounce back and she can run really well again today,’ concluded Nelson. “Our other three girls will be fresh and ready to go.”

Adrian senior Nicole Slater earned another state-meet medal, finishing ninth in the 3,200 with a time of 11:51.04. Slater is in the mix again today when she runs her final high school race, competing in the 1,600-meter (mile) run.

Pipestone Area sophomore Maria Spanier was impressive in qualifying for today’s finals in the 300-meter low hurdles, clocking a fine time of 45.65 in Friday’s prelims. Spanier finished second in her heat and has the fourth-fastest seed time for the nine-runner finals.

Mountain Lake Area qualified its 4x200-meter relay team for today’s finals, running a time of 1:47.22, finishing fifth in its heat and eighth overall. The Wolverines (senior Mikayla Falk, freshman Emily Jahnke, junior Brianna Soutthivong and junior Lydia Hildebrandt) ran nearly two-and-a-half seconds faster than the 1:49.66 they ran when they finished second in the Section 3A Meet.

Luverne was not able to advance either of its sprint relay teams. The Cardinals were 12th overall in the 4x200 (1:47.83) and 14th in the 4x100 (51.96).

Murray County Central senior Paris Thomas ran a time of 17.23 in the prelims of the 100-meter high hurdles and Luverne freshman Kami Sawtelle whirled the discus 98-11, but neither was able to advance to the finals.

Redwood Valley junior Kayla Huhnerkoch advanced in the 800-meter run, winning her heat with a time of 2:15.56, the second-best overall qualifying time.

Ogeka, Hohenstein, Dudley

earn state-meet medals

A trio of Southwest Conference seniors claimed state-meet medals Friday in field events.

Windom Area’s Victor Ogeka placed fourth (six points) in the Class A triple jump with a distance of 43-11½, nearly matching his school-record performance in winning the section meet May 29. Ogeka competes in the long jump finals today and will sprint the anchor leg on the Eagles’ qualifying 4x100-meter relay team.

Jackson County Central’s Nolan Hohenstein notched a fifth-place performance (five points) in the Class A boys shot put. His best distance Friday was 51-3½, nearly two feet less than his mark at the section meet.

Worthington’s Will Dudley capped a remarkable all-around athletic career for the Trojans by claiming his second Class AA state-meet medal in the pole vault. Dudley easily cleared 13-0 on his first vault Friday, but was unable to make 13-6 in three attempts. He finished in a tie for eighth-place (1.5 points), earning a repeat trip to the awards podium.

Dudley placed fourth in Class AA in 2013, as a junior, clearing 14-0. Earlier this season (April 25), he set a new WHS school record (and Dudley family record) when he soared over the bar at 15-0 and won the Hamline Elite Meet on the same venue.

His father and pole vaulting coach, Steve Dudley, cleared 14-4 in 1979 as a state-meet competitor in Nebraska, representing Gothenburg.

Mankato East senior Calvin Deike won the Class AA pole vault Friday morning, clearing 14-6.

LHS 4x200, MLA 4x400,

Windom 4x100; Thone,

Gonzales all advance

Three area relay teams advanced to the finals in Class A, as the Luverne 4x200, the MLA 4x400 and the Windom 4x100 each qualified via fine performances in Friday’s prelims.

MLA senior Jose Gonzales (800-meter run) and Luverne Dirk Thone (200-meter dash) also qualified individually.

Gonzales shattered his former PR with a sizzling 1:56.50, which earned him second in his heat and fourth overall.

Thone ran a blistering 22.43, finishing third in his heat and fifth overall, while breaking the LHS school record of 22.51 set by Greg Muller in 2010.

Earlier, Thone anchored the Cardinals’ 4x200 to a second-place finish in their heat with a season-best time of 1:31.46, which was the third-best overall Friday. Junior Jackson Winter, senior Blake Richters and junior Trenton Rops ran the first three legs for Luverne.

With junior Jared Saunders, senior Cody Klassen and junior Caleb Bargen preceding Gonzales, MLA ran the 4x400 nearly three seconds faster than they did in qualifying at the section meet. The Wolverines were clocked at 3:30.33 Friday, finishing fourth in their heat and eighth overall.

Windom will run in the 4x100 finals with junior Alex Leopold, sophomore Brian Ogeka and junior Tyler Morgan sprinting the first three legs. The Eagles finished fourth in their heat and eighth overall, clocking a new school-record time of 44.53.

MLA senior pole vaulter Hunter Quiring just missed the awards stand by one place, finishing 10th, clearing 12-0.

Worthington sophomore Gbrown Ochothow finished seventh (out of nine) in his heat of the Class AA 110-meter high hurdles, clocked at 16.33 Ochothow finished just ahead of Mankato West junior Logan Bristol (16.36) who beat him in the Section 2AA finals May 30.

MCC senior Tyler Scotting, who was injured at the end of his race in the Section 3 finals, was unable to complete his heat of the Class A 110-meter high hurdles Friday.