State track: SW corner sends 27 girls, 20 boys to Hamline

By Les Knutson The Globe SAINT PAUL -- A total of 27 girls and 20 boys from the area will participate in the Minnesota state track and field meet at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul Friday and Saturday. Worthington sopho...

By Les Knutson

The Globe

SAINT PAUL -- A total of 27 girls and 20 boys from the area will participate in the Minnesota state track and field meet at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul Friday and Saturday.

Worthington sophomore Taylor Eggers will represent the Trojans in the Class AA girls’ 200-meter dash. Eggers qualified with an impressive second-place finish at the highly-competitive sectional meet, clocking a personal record time of 25.71.

Eggers completed a fine all-around meet at St. Peter as she placed fifth in the long jump (15-5.25), anchored Worthington’s eighth-place 4x200-meter relay team (1:50.64) and ran a PR time of 13.24 in the 100-meter dash --- the 13th fastest among 46 sprinters in that event.


But it was in the 200 that the sophomore speedster shined the most. After qualifying for the finals with the third-fastest time (26.31) in the preliminary round on May 31, Eggers sprinted sixth-tenths of a second faster on June 2, placing as the clear runner-up among the nine finalists.

Waconia senior Molly Reighard clocked a winning time of 25.47. Eggers’ time of 25.71 was well in front of Waseca sophomore Odell Frye’s third-place time of 26.08.

Frye had run a PR time of 25.90 in Wednesday’s prelims. The fourth place time in Friday’s finals was 26.21, followed by a fifth-place time of 26.28.

“Taylor ran a super race in the finals of the 200,” declared WHS co-head coach Cory Smidt. “She got out of the blocks well and ran strong all the way to the finish. She was a solid second when she crossed the line, no doubt about it.”

Eggers will line up in Lane 1 of Heat 2 at Hamline Friday (12:30 p.m.) in the Class AA 200-meter dash preliminaries with the 13th-best qualifying time among 17 advancing runners. The fastest nine will run in the finals, scheduled for 12:04 p.m. Saturday.

The 17 qualifying times are closely-bunched, ranging from 24.74 to 25.80, with 15 of the 17 in the 25-second range.

Montevideo junior Molly Reeves won the Section 3A girls’ 200-meter dash with a time of 26.28 and is ranked in 10th in the Class A field. Only four Class A sprinters qualified with times faster than the 25.71 run by Eggers at St. Peter.

Luverne, PA, Windom Area well-represented Ten relay teams -- five from Pipestone Area, three from Luverne and two from Windom Area -- are advancing to this year’s state meet, while a pair of PA athletes -- sophomore Michelle Neece and junior Tyl Woelber -- are both competing in the maximum four events allowed by the MSHSL.


Neece won both the long jump (16-11.5) and the 100-meter high hurdles (15.54). She also anchors each of PA’s young sprint relay teams. Eighth-grader America Diaz, freshman Zoe Velde and sophomore MacKenzie Haroldson run the three legs before Neece takes the baton. At Pipestone, the Arrows won the 4x200 with a time of 1:48.27 and also finished first in the 4x100 (51.09).

Velde (second, triple jump, 34-10.25) and Haroldson (first, 400, 1:01.77) will also compete individually at Hamline, as will senior distance-running ace Livia Wallace, who utilized a very strong finishing kick to claim second in the 1,600-meter run with a PR time of 5:29.20.

While the Arrow girls will be represented by five athletes, the tradition-rich track program will be sending seven boys to Hamline, each of them running on at least one PA relay team.

The Arrows finished second (behind Windom) in the 4x800 at the section meet with a time of 8:20.36. Seniors Lucas Griebel and Matthew Kennedy run the first two legs, Woelber runs third and sophomore Devin Tinklenberg is a very strong anchor leg, having run several 800s under two minutes this spring.

Pipestone’s 4x200 relay (seniors Trevor Locher, Griebel and Justin Kooiman, along with sophomore Carter Nesvold) ran a section-winning time of 1:32.64 and the Arrows 4x400 team (Woelber, Griebel, Nesvold, Tinklenberg) claimed gold medals with their time of 3:32.22.

While Griebel runs on all three qualifying relay teams (Nesvold, Woelber and Tinklenberg each run on two), Woelber will also compete individually as the section champion in both the high jump (6-6) and triple jump (45-11.5).

Woelber’s 6-6 is the best height in the high jump and his 45-11.5 is the second-best in the triple jump, trailing only Ottertail Central’s Eric VanErp’s distance of 46-1. Two-time defending triple jump state champion Noah Carlson of Rushford-Peterson is not listed among the qualifiers.

Luverne is bringing 14 competitors -- 11 girls and three boys -- to Hamline, highlighted by a trio of Cardinal relay teams, senior sprinter Tianna Doppenberg, senior pole vaulter Matthew Hup and senior thrower Logan Stratton.


Luverne’s girls have been impressive all year in the 4x800 and the quartet of seventh-grader Brooklyn VerSteeg, eighth-grader Regan Feit, sophomore Gabrielle Ferrell and sophomore Jadyn Anderson look to be in the mix of the fast heat Saturday with their section-winning time of 9:47.54.

The Cardinals 4x200 (junior Sierra Schmuck, freshman Sydney Biever, eighth-grader Gracie Zewiske and Doppenberg) finished right behind Pipestone in the section meet with a second-place time of 1:48.40.

LHS also won the 4x400 at Pipestone as the team of VerSteeg, Feit, eighth-grader Autumn Nath and Anderson clocked a time of 4:09.58.

Individually, Doppenberg will run the 100, after blazing a winning time of 12.82 at the section meet. Anderson will compete in the 800 (second, 2:21.69), seventh-grader Tenley Nelson will run the 3,200 (second, 12:13.65) and senior Bergin Flom will compete in the pole vault (second, 8-4).

Hup is ranked fourth among all Class A boys in the pole vault, having cleared 14-3.25 to claim his section gold medal. A pair of 14-4 vaults were notched in sectional competition and Holdingford senior Drew Dockendorf cleared 15-0.

Advancing in two events, Stratton has the sixth-best distance in the shot put (51-6.5) and the seventh-best mark in the discus (146-7).

Senior triple jumper Griffin Ahrendt will join Hup and Stratton at Hamline after leaping 43-4 and claiming the silver medal at the section meet.

Windom’s John Irwin repeated his section title in the 3,200-meter run and will run as an individual again for the Eagles. His best time of 9:53.97 was run in the sub-section meet at Redwood Falls May 25.

Irwin will be joined seniors Evan Wiens, Nickolas Green and Isaac Tade on Windom’s 4x800 relay team, which set a new school record in winning the section race with a time of 8:17.66.

The Eagles’ 4x400 (junior Dakota Scott, senior Yanick Tade, junior Wyatt Minion and senior  Isaac Tade) also advanced with a second-place time of 3:32.55, finishing right on Pipestone’s heels as Isaac Tade --- who narrowly missed qualifying in the 800-meter run --- ran an exceptional anchor leg for the Eagles.

Thovson, Swanson sprint for Rebels Murray County Central will be represented by sprinters Ethan Swanson and Nicole Thovson.

Swanson, just a sophomore, won the 200 (23.03) and finished second in the 100 (11.58) at Pipestone, while Thovson -- a senior -- utilized a strong finish to claim second in the girls’ 100, clocked at a season’s best time of 12.94.

Jackson County Central sends a pair of talented girls in 800-meter champion Jessica Christoffer (2:21.68) and 300-meter low hurdles’ runner-up Molly Boyum (48.07), both juniors. Christoffer has broken her own school record in three consecutive races.

Fulda eighth-grader Morgan Gehl, the section champion in the girls’ 3,200 (11:54.79), has run a time of 11:39.69 and has rarely been pushed all season. Just four runners from across the state had faster times than 11:39 in their section meets.

Hills-Beaver Creek senior Kourtney Rozeboom advances in the shot put after an impressive second-place distance of 39-4 in the section meet. She is seeded seventh for Saturday’s state finals.

Southwest Christian/Edgerton sophomore Sommer Schaap qualified to compete in the 100-meter high hurdles with her second-place time of 17.19.

Tracy-Milroy-Balaton senior Kendra Ludeman is the defending girls’ state champion in the high jump. She cleared 5-3 at Hamline last year, winning on the fewest misses. She made 5-4 in this year’s section meet, a mark tied by Eden Valley-Watkins junior Hannah Ehlinger and surpassed by Concordia of Roseville junior Arika Robinson’s leap of 5-5.

Ludeman also anchors T-M-B’s 4x400-meter relay, which qualified to run at Hamline with a second-place time of 4:11.38 at Pipestone. Juniors Alecia Christian, Sarita Hook and Kaylee Kirk run the first three quarters for the Panthers.

Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central senior Koua Vang will represent the Chargers in the boys’ pole vault, having cleared 12-9 for second place in the section, and Hills-Beaver Creek senior Zach Scholten returns in the high jump after placing second at Pipestone (6-1) in a jump-off.

Both Woelber (6-5, second) and Scholten (tie for eighth, 6-2) placed in the high jump at last year’s state meet. Woelber also placed fifth in the triple jump (44-1.75) and eighth in the long jump (21-4). Stratton was sixth in the shot put (50-4.75) and Hup placed ninth in the pole vault (13-0).

Class A competition begins at 3:30 p.m. each day.

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