By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
St. Michael-Albertville athletes would be hard pressed to find anything to complain about involving this year’s state track and field meet held June 7-8 at Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University.
The personal records came early and often. Starting on day one on the meet’s first event, sophomore Rachel King improved on last year’s 4th place time of 11:04.58 in the 3200-meter with another finish of fourth, but this time besting her old mark with a time of 10:40.97.
Only 3-time champion Maria Hauger (10:26.39) of Shakopee, Danielle Anderson of Eagan and Jenna Truedson of Bemidji had a faster time than King.
“I beat the girl from Bemidji earlier in the season,” King said. “I was really surprised when she was running with me. We were really battling and bumping elbows the whole race. On the straight away she came out on the last second to pass me and I had nothing left.”
Racing in the same event was STMA eighth-grader Lizzy Heil. Making her first state tournament appearance, Heil finished in 14th place with a time of 11:09.95. Heil’s time was nearly 14 seconds faster than her section 2-mile run of 11:24.57.
Senior high jumper Treasure Martin also scored on day one with an 8th place jump of 5-2.00. It was a shade under her section jump of 5-4.00, but like Heil, it was her first time participating at the state track meet.
Senior Brendan Sage rounded out Friday’s final with a repeat finish from 2012 of 14th place in the 3200-meter. Like King, Sage finished in the same place, but beat last year’s time of 9:47.37 with a time of 9:36.73.
Sophomore Josh Tracy qualified but did not advance in the 800 with a time of 2:01.00.
Senior Brian Ferry and Maddi Sjelin highlighted Friday’s preliminary round. Both won their respective heats to advance to Saturday’s finals.
Sjelin took Heat 1 and seeded third with a time of 2:14.89 in the 800-meter. Ferry also won Heat 1 with a time of 38.72 in the 300 intermediate hurdles. The two eventually placed as Sjelin ended in 7th overall with a finals time of 2:16.26. It was just a tenth of a second off her 6th place finish in the mile a year ago.
“I’m not used to running with these fast of girls and at the end I knew I had to get first and second so I just went for it,” said Sjelin, following her day one preliminary win. “My goal for the 800 was top three, but I just wanted to place.”
Prior to the 800, Sjelin finished in 10th place in the 1600-meter in a time of 5:08.38. It was two seconds short of her 8th place finish in 2012. King, however, beat her 6th place time of 5:05.57 a year ago with a top-3 finish of 5:01.55. Taking third place at state was a personal best for King, who credited a lot of her success to the cool weather over the weekend.
“It was very hot last year,” King said. “I love running in the cold weather. You don’t feel overheated and it’s the best feeling running in the cold.”
“I love this weather, no sun and cool air to breathe. It’s nice,” echoed Sjelin.
Ferry came in as a first-time state qualifier in the hurdles. After a personal best set in Friday’s prelims, Ferry beat his own record with a 3rd place time of 38.31. Ferry also credited the weather as a key factor in him setting his best marks.
“Nobody has been seeing their best times. The weather has been so bad this year,” Ferry said. “With quarter-inch spikes on a really nice track and really nice weather, you’re bound to run faster times. Everyone is getting their PR’s and that’s great to see.”
Joining Ferry on the boys’ side for Saturday’s finals were both Sage and sophomore Chase Cayo in the 1600-meter. The duo finished the 1-mile in 11th and 15th place, respectively. Sage finished in the same position as a year ago with a time of 4:20.25. On his heels was first-time qualifier Cayo, who finished in 4:26.27.
Also placing on the final day was junior Erin Autio in the triple jump. After a tough first leap which saw a foot foul, Autio rebounded with a 9th place leap that had her score a point for the girls’ side with a measure of 35-6.75.
The final race of the meet came down to boys’ 4×400 relay event. Coming into the season, STMA boys’ head coach Curt Hahn admittedly had no clue who his relay teams were going to be.
The senior duo of Cole Krutzig and David Anderson teamed with last one-half of last year’s 4×400 state relay team of Ferry and Tracy. The four eventually provided the Knights with ultimately one of the best relay teams in school history.
The four were seeded 13th at state and came away from prelims with a top time of 3:21.16. “We weren’t ranked very high going in and we were in lane one,” Ferry said. “The plan was to go out and run hard, turn left and see where we ended up.”
Their run earned them the finals No. 1 seeding and the tandem would eventually finish fourth overall in a time of 3:20.77.
The Knight boys finished 25 out of 66 possible teams scoring a total of 14 points. The girls scored 20 points and finished 16 out of 65.
STMA sophomore Rachel King races to a third-place finish during the finals of the 1600-meter run at the 2013 state tournament at Hamline. King also placed fourth in the 3200 meter. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
STMA senior Cole Krutzig (left) passes the baton to sophomore anchorman Josh Tracy during the final of the 4×400 relay. The Knights finished fourth at state with a time of 3:20.77. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
STMA senior Brian Ferry finishes third in the pack of the 300-IM hurdles with a time of 38.31. The time set a personal record. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)