Long before the snow finally melted away and the Northwest Suburban Conference track season began, league coaches spoke of how, when it mattered most, every team point would be vital when it came to declaring a boys and girls team
Those words rang true May 23 at Coon Rapids High School, when a single point – even less in one case – provided the difference in the chase for a title.
Blaine claimed the team title on the boys side with a final tally of 102.5, which bested runner-up Champlin Park’s total of 101.5 by that oh-so-close margin.
In the girls competition, the math was even tighter.
Elk River repeated as the NWSC winner, edging second place Blaine 121 to 120.833.
Said one longtime meet official, “I’ve never seen it so close on either side, let alone both.”
It was a rarity, no doubt, but it spoke of the talent that graced the campus in Coon Rapids during both the May 21 conference preliminaries and the May 23 finals.
“The conference is really, really good,” said Champlin Park head boys coach Bob Knutson the week prior. “Whoever wins it will have earned it.”
The Rebels certainly did their part to remain in the hunt until the final numbers were added up.
Senior Emmanuel Egbujor, who was named the Athlete of the Meet, was the NWSC champion in the 100, 200 and 400-meter runs. In fact, he was one of three from Champlin Park in the 100 finals. Datrice Mulsumo placed second in the event, and Joe Sando was seventh after pulling up lame with a bad groin.
“We push each other,” said Egbujor. “I look up to Joe, and he’s hurt and still gets in the final and finishes seventh. That is really good. We all did really good.”
They weren’t alone.
The Rebels also claimed first place honors in the high jump (Jeremy Johnson), shot put (Joe Stephens) and the 4×800 relay.
Park Center was the next highest area finishing team in the boys competition after placing seventh.
Senior Treyton Daniels contributed to the point total by finishing first in the triple jump and second in the long jump.
Antoine Scott was third in the 100, Terrance Howard was third in the discus, and the 4×100 relay team placed second in its race.
Armstrong was ninth as a team and provided the conference its 4×100 relay champion and a first place finish from Jesse Kuusisto in the discus.
Duncan Harless qualified for the finals in both the 100 and 200, placing fourth and seventh respectivley, and Ryan Queenan was third in the 400.
Osseo’s lone boys title came from the 4×200 relay team.
The Oriole girls, however, were awarded the Athlete of the Meet with Phillis Webb’s recognition.
The senior placed second in the 100, and then returned to win the 200 with a new NWSC record time of 25.21 seconds.
“I am not going for records or winning everything,” Webb said. “I just do my best, but I felt that I should redeem myself for not winning the 100 and win the 200 because this is my last year. I have six more days of school left. You have to go out with a bang, and I did.”
Armstrong had a pair of winners.
Sophomore Kelsey Sather was the champion in the 800, and senior Emily Delaney won the pole vault to achieve a goal she set out to accomplish at the very start of the spring.
“This is what I have wanted the whole season,” said Delaney. “I was in it mentally.”
Armstrong ended up seventh as a team. Osseo was eight, Champlin Park 10th and Park Center 11th.
The Pirates were led by Feyisayo Ayobamidele, who won the 400. Champlin Park’s Cassidy Soli was second in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600.
Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]