By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
BOYS TEAM SCORES – 1. Champlin Park 111.5; 2. STMA 95.5; 3. Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village 91; 4. Mounds View 87; 5. Blaine 82; 6. Irondale 75.5; 7. Park Center 67; 8. Coon Rapids 51; 9. Fridley 46; 10. Totino-Grace 45; 11. Anoka 44.5; 12. Osseo 37; 13. Maple Grove 34; 14. Centennial 22; 15. Rogers 16; 16. Columbia Heights 13.
St. Michael-Albertville track and field head coaches Curt Hahn and Jason Massmann are just as excited for the athletes that didn’t qualify for state as they are for the 11 that did during last week’s Section 5AA tournament held May 29th and 31st at Hamline University.
Both Knights squads had their highest ever Class AA finish at sections with both teams finishing in second place.
The boys’ squad tallied 95.5 points and finished second in a field of 16 to only Champlin Park’s 111.5. The girls’ total of 133 finished second to Mounds View’s 167.
“Second place is a huge accomplishment,” said Hahn, who guided the boys a week ago to a second-place conference finish. “This by far is the highest finish since joining 2A.”
“It was just an awesome two days,” said Massmann, who coached the girls’ squad this season to its first ever Mississippi 8 conference title. “All the kids really stepped up.”
Stepping up for the boy’s squad were senior’s Brian Ferry, Brendan Sage, sophomore’s Josh Tracy and Chase Cayo and the 4×400 relay team of David Anderson, Cole Krutzig, Ferry and Tracy.
Cayo, Tracy, Anderson and Krutzig are all first-time state qualifiers in track. Sage and Cayo will both compete in the 1600 after finishing 1-2 at sections, respectively. Sage also won the 2-mile with a first-place time of 9:36.26.
Tracy won the 800 run with a time of 1:57.34 and the 4×400 relay qualified with a second-place time 3:26.91.
Ferry’s second-place time of 39.33 in the 300 hurdles came on the heels of his 110 hurdle time of 14.84. Both times were good enough to qualify him for state, but a wind aided time in the 110 hurdles prevented him from going in both events.
“It had to be frustrating, because the state qualifying time in the 110 was 15.09,” Hahn said. “They said he had a gust of wind on his back during his run. I think in the future they need to revisit that policy. He came back in the 300 and qualified despite having to run in a mini-hailstorm and a slight down pour.”
GIRLS TEAM SCORES – 1. Mounds View 167; 2. STMA 133; 3. Blaine 131; 4. Maple Grove 101; 5. Anoka 63; 6. Totino-Grace 58.5; 7. Osseo 56; T8. Centennial 55; T8. Coon Rapids 55; 10. Champlin Park 30; 11. Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village 28; 12. Rogers 23; 13. Irondale 13.5; 14. Columbia Heights 4; 15. Fridley 1.
Like the boys side, the girls return some familiar faces and some new ones to this year’s state tournament.
Junior Erin Autio looks for the first time to make it to day two at state after finishing first in the triple jump at 35-10.75.
Also returning to state is senior Maddi Sjelin in both the 800 and 1600-meter run. Her time of 2:20.02 in the half-mile was good for first place and looks to improve on last year’s sixth-place time of 2:16.06 at state in the 800.
“We dropped Maddi down this year to the 400 and she was a conference champ,” Massmann said. “Her flexibility to the team has been a huge asset.”
Sjelin will also look to improve on last year’s eighth-place time of 5:06.40 at state when she finished second at sections to sophomore teammate Rachel King. Sjelin’s time of 5:06.33 was only bested by King’s 5:03.71.
King finished sixth in the 1600 (5:05.57) a year ago at state and fourth in the 3200 (11:04.58). King broke her 3200 time at sections with a first-place qualifying time of 10:57.46.
“We talked about at the beginning of the season having both girls push each other,” Massmann said. “They don’t really have a rivalry, but if one passes the other in a race, the other is there to push the other.”
Also pushing them to the finish line is eighth-grader Lizzy Heil. Her second-place finish of 11:24.57 in the 3200 was enough to qualify for her first state tournament berth. Also new to the scene is senior high jumper Treasure Martin. Martin tied Maple Grove’s Madison Ordner for first place with a leap of 5-04.00.