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State track: Versatility shines amongst area boys

ALEX PURDY/DAILY GLOBE Windom Area 4x100-meter relay runner Victor Ogeka (middle) motors to the finish line Saturday at the state Class A track meet. The Eagles finished seventh in the event. Ogeka placed fourth in the triple jump and 13th in the long jump over the weekend.

ST. PAUL — Versatile boys track and field performers Victor Ogeka of Windom Area, Jose Gonzales of Mountain Lake Area, Nolan Hohenstein of Jackson County Central, and Cody Rofshus and Dirk Thone of Luverne all came away from the 2014 Minnesota state meet with more than memories.

Ogeka, a senior, after placing fourth in the Class A triple jump Friday at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University with a leap of 43-11.5, finished 13th in the long jump Saturday by going 19-11. He also anchored the Eagles’ 4x 100-meter relay team (Alex Leopold, Brian Ogeka and Tyler Morgan ran the first three legs) which finished seventh in a time of 45.05 seconds.

Gonzales, another senior, was sixth Saturday in the 800-meter run, at 1:59.79. He qualified for the finals with an impressive 1:56.50. Gonzales also placed 17th in the state long jump competition, going 18-10, and he anchored the Wolverines’ 4x400-meter relay (Jared Saunders, Cody Klassen and Caleb Bargen made up the rest of the team) which finished ninth in 3:35.72.

The JCC senior Hohenstein followed up a fifth-place finish in the shot put on Friday (51-3.5) by placing 10th in the discus on Saturday (143-8). Hohenstein had thrown the shot 53-3.25 in the Section 3A meet, which ranked him third in state Class A in that event. He threw the discus exactly the same distance as he threw it in the sectionals.

Rofshus, another senior, entered the state meet with the second-best shot put distance (54-1) and the fifth-best discus heave (153-9). On Friday, he threw the shot put 56.3, which established a new school record while earning him a silver medal. On Saturday, he fired the discus 157-4 — less than he was shooting for, but still good enough for fifth place.

“I didn’t throw what I wanted to today,” Rofshus admitted. “I was hoping to hit at least 165. I’ve been throwing a lot better than that in practice. But nobody really threw very well today.”

Jayme LaPlante of Chatfield won the Class A discus gold with a throw of 162-8. LaPlante had gone as high as 171-8 before Saturday and silver medalist Tyler Kolander of Waseca, who threw 162-4 at Hamline, had reached 177-0 prior to the state finals.

Rofshus and the Cardinals were plenty solid at the state meet, however, placing eighth as a team with 26 points. Minnehaha Academy won the Class A competition with 50 points, followed by Waseca with 45 and Foley with 43.

The Cardinals’ 4x800-meter relay team of Drew Weis, Payton Stemper, Ethan Marshall and Cody Hess placed second overall, at 8:18.27. Crosby-Ironton won the event in 8:16.93.

The Cards’ 4x 200-meter relay foursome of Jackson Winter, Blake Richters, Trenton Rops and Thone placed fifth at 1:32.53. Also Saturday, Thone ran a 22.96-second 200 meters, good enough for fifth place.

“I never felt tired the whole way. But I feel I could go faster, especially at the beginning,” said Thone, who added that he never feels he gets a good start out of the blocks due to never having really practiced it.

Even so, Thone sounded very pleased at how the Cardinal boys performed as a group. They set three new school records, he said, in the 4x 800-meter run, the shot put and the open 200.

“I honestly think we did the best we could,” testified the senior.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Matt Lavoy placed 15th Saturday in the 1,600-meter run, coming in at 4:38.20. Mountain Lake Area pole vaulter Hunter Quiring finished 10th on Friday with a 12-0 leap. Murray County Central’s Tyler Scotting, who placed fourth last year in the state 300-meter hurdles, was injured at the conclusion of the Section 3A meet and was unable to compete in his heat Friday.

Two Worthington Trojans competed in the Class AA competition over the weekend. Will Dudley, who placed fourth in the pole vault last June and reached 15-0 this season, finished in a tie for eighth by clearing 13-0 (Calvin Deike of Mankato East won the event by clearing 14-6). Dudley’s teammate, Gbrown Ochothow, didn’t qualify on Friday for the finals in the 110-meter high hurdles.

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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