There are many unique stories involving this week’s Minnesota state high school track and field meet.
Delaney Smith, the senior shot putter and discus thrower from Windom Area High School, is uniquely talented and could win a shot put gold medal at the prestigious meet scheduled Thursday, Friday and Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
For Worthington Trojan sophomore Abagotte Opiew, the uniqueness comes from the fact that he will be there. Opiew, who placed first last week in the Section 2AA boys triple jump, is the only Trojan who qualified for state.
Smith is a veteran state meet competitor who competed at the state level as a freshman and sophomore, placing as high as third in the shot (there was no track and field season last year due to COVID-19). She ranks ninth in state Class A in the discus, where she has thrown 125-6 this season. But it’s the shot put that puts her in a class by herself.
She has broken her own school record five times this season, going 43-0, 44-1, 44-9.75, 45-0.25 and 45-8. She has the best shot put throw in the entire state this year, where ironically the second- and third-bests are also from Class A competitors (43-7 and 41-4).
“I think she can increase her distance yet,” said Windom Area head track coach Les Knutson on Monday. “I think (Erin Elder, the Eagles’ throw coach) does a really good job of getting them to peak at the right time.”
Elder has coached state champions before, and there’s nothing to indicate that Smith can’t be another one of them.
What makes Smith special, said Knutson, is her determination to “strive to improve. She wants to get better and better.”
She is also a team player. Knutson recalls that early in the 2021 season when it was time to set up the pole vault apparatus, Smith took charge. “You could tell she’s a farm girl who knows how to work,” said the coach.
Opiew had a goal early in the 2021 season to establish a new Worthington High School triple jump record. He hasn’t done it yet, but he’s close. And his 43-6.75 leap in the sectional meet (the second-place competitor went 43-1.75) places him in good position to do well at state.
“He’s a competitor. That always helps,” said WHS co-head coach Cory Smidt. “And he’s ranked fourth going into state. It’s going to be a matter of inches.”
The triple jump is a touchy event where, according to Smidt “all three phases (hop, step and jump) have to be in line.” But Opiew has shown that he has what it takes to finish among the leaders.
Here are the area qualifiers for Worthington in Class AA and for the Section 3A field for the state track and field meet:
Triple jump: 1. Abagotte Opiew, Worthington, 43-6.75.
100-meter dash: 1. Ashton Sandbulte, Luverne, 11.17; 2. Maverick Goblirsch, Redwood Valley, 11.25.
200-meter dash: 1. AJ Josephson, CM, 23.12; 2. Tyson Bork, H-BC, 23.17.
400-meter dash: 1. AJ Josephson, CM, 49.87; 2. Micah Schaap, SWC/E, 50.28.
800-meter run: 1. Mason Clark, Redwood Valley, 1:59.78; 2. Ben Van Eps, Central Christian, 2:01.54.
1,600-meter run: 1. Camden Janiszeski, Luverne, 4:33.33; 2. Darius Fenske, Laq qui Parle Valley, 4:33.67.
3,200-meter run: 1. Nathan Neu, Ortonville, 10:06.73; 2. Kody Wassman, Mountain Lake Area, 10:23.12.
110-meter hurdles: 1. Aiden Voss, Pipestone Area, 16.18; 2. Trevin Ssali-Gaustad, JCC, 16.27.
300-meter hurdles: 1. Ridge Van Westen, JCC, 42.14; 2. Silas Whitebuffalo, Yellow Medicine East, 42.22.
4 x 100-meter relay: 1. Hills-Beaver Creek (Dewell Rauk, Cole Baker, Gavin Wysong, Tyson Bork), 44.21; 2. Redwood Valley (Blake Stephens, Mason Clark, Aeneas Pacheco, Maverick Goblirsch), 44.52.
4 x 200-meter relay: 1. Luverne (Arekel McLaughlin, Eli Radtke, LaShad Smith, Ashton Sandbulte), 1:32.79; 2. Redwood Valley (Skyler Sherbon, Mason Clark, Aeneas Pacheco, Maverick Goblirsch), 1:33.26.
4 x 400-meter relay: 1. Luverne (Arekel McLaughlin, Camden Janiszeski, LaShad Smith, Ashton Sandbulte), 3:32.77; 2. Southwest Christian/Edgerton (Jaden Barron, Levi Van Dyken, Aidan Schaap, Micah Schaap), 3:34.16.
4 x800-meter relay: 1. Lac qui Parle Valley (Caleb Johnson, Hunter Martinson, Darius Fenske, Payton Sterud), 8:25.13; 2. Central Christian (Jeremy Brown, Abe Larson, Mason Groen, Ben Van Eps), 8:26.32.
High jump: 1. Riley Ashburn, MACCRAY, 6-1; 2. Dylan Serreyn, Windom Area, 5-11.
Pole vault: 1. Austin Frank, BOLD, 13-1; 2. Eli Radtke, Luverne, 13-1.
Long jump: 1. Micah Schaap, SWC/E, 22-4.75; 2. Riley Ashburn, MACCRAY, 21-0.
Triple jump: 1. Micah Schaap, SWC/E, 43-8. 2. Ben Van Eps, Central Christian, 42-5.
Discus: 1. Francis O’Malley, Montevideo, 149-2; 2. Tony Nelson, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 146-5.
Shot put: 1. Tony Nelson, T-M-B, 54-11; 2. Francis O’Malley, Montevideo, 48-10.5.
100-meter dash: 1. Hannah Schjenken, Redwood Valley, 13.20; 2. Anna Suda, Southwest Christian/Edgerton, 13.33.
200-meter dash: 1. Taryn Rauk, Hills-Beaver Creek, 27.25; 2. Jessica Novotny, BOLD, 27.27.
400-meter run: 1. Gracie Zewiske, Luverne, 58.73; 2. Gracie Bucher, Windom Area, 1:01.02.
800-meter run: 1. Grace Drietz, Canby/Minneota, 2:16.49; 2. Morgan Gehl, Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda, 2:18.56.
1,600-meter run: 1. Morgan Gehl, HL-O/F, 4:58.74; 2. Grace Drietz, CM, 5:01.96.
3,200-meter run: 1. Amanda Overgaauw, Murray County Central, 11:00.45; 2. Tenley Nelson, Luverne, 11:06.38; 3. Jenna DeBates, Luverne, 11:06.52.
100-meter hurdles: 1. Samantha Untiedt, HL-O/F, 16.98; 2. Braelyn Kracht, SWC/E, 17.16.
300-meter hurdles: 1. Regan Feit, Luverne, 46.51; 2. Avery Koenen, Montevideo, 48.20.
4 x 100-meter relay: 1. Redwood Valley (Cali Johnson, Hannah Schjenken, Kate Ahrens, Avery Wilson), 51.37; 2. Hills-Beaver Creek (Abigail Harris, Ashlee Kelderman, Layla Deelstra, Taryn Rauk), 51.74.
4 x 200-meter relay: 1. Luverne (Sarah Stegenga, Isabella Oye, Christina Wagner, Gracie Zewiske), 1:48.35; 2. Southwest Christian/Edgerton (Haley Wieck, Kierra Binford, Anna Suda, Ellie Decker), 1:48.81.
4 x 400-meter relay: 1. Luverne (Regan Feit, Tiana Lais, Tenley Nelson, Gracie Zewiske), 4:06.88; 2. Canby/Minneota (RyAnn Hansen, Claire Stoks, Braelyn Merritt, Grace Drietz), 4:10.17.
High jump: 1. Aidyn Bruns, CM, 5-2; 2. Avery Koenen, Montevideo, 5-1.
Pole vault: 1. Kaitlyn Schuur, SWC/E, 11-2; 2. Peyton Hanson, Jackson County Central, 9-2.
Long jump: 1. Hannah Schjenken, Redwood Valley, 16-11.5; 2. Avery Koenen, Montevideo, 16-8.75.
Triple jump: 1. Avery Koenen, Montevideo, 36-9.5; 2. Hannah Schjenken, Redwood Valley, 34-7
Discus: 1. Delaney Smith, Windom Area, 125-6; 2. Kaitlynn Bot, Lakeview, 115-10.
Shot put: 1. Delaney Smith, Windom Area, 44-5; 2. Jocelyn Hart, Luverne, 39-1.