State track and field: Arrow boys find the mark
les knutsonDaily Globe ST. PAUL -- Sparked by a pair of second-place performances Saturday at the Class A state high school track and field meet at Hamline University's Klas Field, Pipestone Area's talented boys racked up 37 points and finished f...
ST. PAUL - Sparked by a pair of second-place performances Saturday at the Class A state high school track and field meet at Hamline University’s Klas Field, Pipestone Area’s talented boys racked up 37 points and finished fourth in the final team standings - among a total of 84 teams which were able to produce points.
Senior sprinter Eli Stevens and sophomore jumper Tyl Woelber each earned state-meet silver medals in their favorite events, accounting for 20 of PA’s points.
Woelber, a versatile all-around athlete, finished with four medals, as he also placed in two other individual events and ran the leadoff leg on the Arrow’s fifth-place 4x400-meter relay team.
Stevens, who twice lowered his own school record in the 400-meter dash in two days at Hamline, earned a trio of medals as he finished eighth in the 200-meter dash finals and ran a strong anchor leg on the 4x400, moving the Arrows from sixth to fifth.
The state meet was scored 12-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for the top nine places in each of 18 events. Pipestone placed in seven of those events, scoring eight points with a pair of relay places, along with 17 individual points from Woelber and 12 by Stevens.
“Our kids performed well,” summed up Todd Tinklenberg, who completed his 17th season as the Arrows’ head track and field coach after serving as an assistant on Bob Nangle’s staff for the previous 12 springs. “They all stepped up and came through with excellent efforts at a big-time meet. Counting the girls’ 4x200-meter relay, we came home with a total of 17 medals - you can’t beat that.”
Rushford-Peterson/Houston, paced by the state-meet-proven tandem of junior Noah Carlson (36 points) and senior Matt Culhane (20 points), won the state title with 57 points, edging Pine Island (55) and Minnehaha Academy (53).
“We figured that we might be able to score close to 40 points and that maybe would be enough to get in the top three,” Tinklenberg said. “As it turned out, it wasn’t quite enough to bring home a team trophy, but fourth is pretty good when you consider all the schools that had participants competing.”
Foley (33), La Crescent (31), St. Clair (29), Fairmont (28), Mora (27) and the International School of Minnesota, Eden Prairie (24) completed the top 10 teams.
Carlson successfully defended his state titles in both the triple jump (48-2) and long jump (23-0.25) before sprinting to a first-place finish in the finals of the 200-meter dash (22.38) to account for 36 individual points himself.
Culhane placed second in both the shot put (56-6.5) and discus (161-4) to St. Clair sophomore Mitchell Weber (59-0, 174-0) in each event. Culhane secured the silver medal in the discus on his last throw, giving the Trojans enough for the title. A ninth-place point by senior teammate Trevor Lundberg in Friday’s shot put competition (48-9.5) helped R-P/H, too.
Stevens sets PA 400 record twice
Stevens, a smooth-running state-meet veteran, bettered his own school record (49.52 set in last year’s state-meet prelims) with a fastest-qualifying time of 49.17 in Friday’s prelims.
Running in preferred lane 4 for Saturday’s finals, Stevens held an impressive lead coming off the final turn into the home stretch. Pine Island senior Kyle Groven, who had earlier finished third in the 100-meter dash (11.29 in the finals, after running 11.05 in the prelims), utilized his superior speed in the closing 40 meters and passed Stevens just before the finish line.
Groven’s winning time was 48.61, while Stevens clocked a new PR (personal record) and PA school-record time of 48.87. Central Minnesota Christian junior Matthew Van Epps finished third (49.74) and the fourth-place time was 50.42.
“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” said a smiling Stevens after receiving his silver medal. “Kyle and I both talked about it before the race and figured that one of us might win and the other would get second and we both said that we were OK either way.”
Last year, Groven (49.48) and Stevens (50.03) finished second and fifth, respectively in the 400 finals at Hamline.
“Eli has had such a great attitude and is really able to put things in persective,” praised Tinklenberg about his senior sensation. “He capped a tremendous career with three great races at the state meet on Saturday.”
Following his second-place finish in the 400, Stevens scored two more points for the Arrows with an eighth-place performance in the 200, running a time of 23.05 in the hot and humid conditions, after being clocked at a seventh-best qualifying time of 22.57 in Friday’s prelims when the conditions were less sultry.
Stevens put the finishing touches on his last race for the Arrows by running a 49.6 anchor split on PA’s 4x400, which ran a near-season-best time of 3:29.48, moving past Perham (3:30.73) on that fourth leg.
Woelber (52.4), freshman Carter Nesvold (53.9) and freshman Devin Tinklenberg (53.5) ran the first three legs for the Arrows.
“That’s a young team for a boys’ mile relay,” declared Tinklenberg. “Eli’s a big loss, but we will have three guys back who have run that race twice in the state meet.”
The Arrows ran the event in 3:29.30 in Friday’s prelims.
Woelber completes busy day with high jump silver
Woelber, who placed fifth in Friday’s triple jump competition (44-1.75) and leaped an eighth-best distance of 20-10.5 in the long jump on Saturday, earned a third individual state-meet medal in Saturday’s heat by dueling with his friend and rival Cade Johnson, a chiseled senior from Redwood Valley, in his favorite event - the high jump.
Both Johnson and Woelber went back and forth between the long jump pit and high jump pad and each of the multi-sport athletes performed well at both venues.
“It was kind of tough doing both events at the same time,” said Woelber. “It was a lot of jumping.”
Competing in a stacked field of high jumpers, which also included Hills-Beaver Creek junior Zach Scholten, who had matched Johnson at 6-5 in the Section 3A Meet in Redwood Falls on June 2.
At that same meet, Woelber cleared a PR height of 6-7 - matching Pipestone’s school record established by 1997 Class A state champion Jeff Paulson, who won the state gold medal by clearing 6-7 at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
Johnson, who placed ninth in Friday’s triple jump (43-7), leaped 21-2.25 on his second attempt in Saturday’s long jump and placed seventh.
The high jump would be the rubber event between the two, as Woelber had earned the edge in the triple jump and Johnson did better in the long jump.
Both competed strong in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 and 6-4. Woelber had missed once a 6-0 and Johnson had a miss at 6-2. They each made both 6-3 and 6-4 on their first jump.
Two-time defending champion Jaustin Culbert, a senior from Chisholm, was the only other competitor to clear 6-4 - that coming on his third try.
All three competitors missed their first jump at 6-5, but both Johnson and Woelber sailed over cleanly on their second attempt, while Culbert missed. Culbert, who had made 6-8 to win the event in both 2014 and 2015, cleared on his third jump.
Johnson cleared 6-6 on his attempt, winning the event, as neither Woelber nor Culbert could clear the bar cleanly.
“I was right there,” said Woelber about his three jumps at 6-6. “I thought each one of them was close. It was great competition and Cade’s been a good friend to jump against at several meets this season.”
On the basis of fewer misses, Woelber placed second, while Culbert was third.
With his 10 points in the high jump, along with five in the triple jump and two in the long jump, Woelber tallied 17 points in three jumping events.
“Tyl really performed well in all three,” summed up Tinklenberg. “That was a tough situation, but he’s a great athlete with a lot of confidence.”
4x800 resets school record
Pipestone’s other placing performance Saturday came from a seventh-place (three points) by the 4x800-meter relay as the foursome of junior Lucas Griebel, junior Matthew Kennedy, Tinklenberg (a freshman) and sophomore Michael Suda ran a time of 8:17.47, finishing very close to sixth (8:16.86).
“That was our best time,” declared Griebel. “We set a new school record for the third straight meet. This was a lot of fun running up here.”
The Arrows ran the 4x800 in 8:19.28 to win the section meet after being clocked at 8:19.50 in their sub-section victory.
“We had a time of 9:03 last year,” Griebel said. “So we really improved this season.”
“All four of those guys will be back,” summed up Tinklenberg. “They certainly did improve as they each worked hard at becoming better 800 runners.”
PA junior hurdler Justin Kooiman competed favorably twice in Friday’s preliminaries, running a time of 15.78 in the 110 highs (11th) and 42.42 in the 300 intermediates (12th).
“We brought eight guys up here and each one of them performed well,” concluded Tinklenberg. “It was a fun experience for them and they certainly represented Pipestone Area High School and Section 3A in fine fashion.”