by Eddie Chisham
Contributing Sports Writer
The Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman track and field teams met for the ISD 728 District Meet on May 2, 2017 at Elk River High School. The Elk River girls finished first with a score of 103. Rogers placed second with 52 and Zimmerman third with 31.
Following suit, the Elk River boys also finished first narrowly with 77.5. Rogers came close in second with 71.5 and Zimmerman third with 29. The top four for each event scored points in this meet.
Elk River shot out front quickly with a Katherine Buhl 100-meter dash win (13.06), and Ava Grimm’s win (27.09) in the 200-meter dash. Grimm later went on to place first in the high jump with 5-00.
“Jordan Hund was a very nice surprise in the 300-meter hurdles,” Russ Gnan, Elk River girls head coach, said.
Hund won the 300-meter hurdles (50.62) and Christina Babaya placed first in the 100-meter hurdles (17.69). Also performing well in long distance, the Elk River girls took first in the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and the 3200-meter run. Rachel Dorff, Audre Neuerburg-Chapman and Makayla Leuthold all placed first and timed at 2:35.14, 5:28.03 and 13:10.22 respectively. Elk River also took the final track event, the 4×400 relay with a 4:23.19 time. Sidney Wentland of Elk River took first place in both throwing events with 39-10.5 in shot put and 111-01 in discus.
“We are finding our depth kids this week which is very important for our True Team meet next week,” coach Gnan said.
Though she didn’t place first, Samantha Braesch broke her own Rogers school record for shot put (33-09). “She keeps breaking it two inches at a time,” head coach Ken Worel said.
“Girls relays have been strong all year and just met an honor roll standard in the 4×100,” Worel said. Grace Maurer, who also won the 400-meter dash (1:01.96), along with Alana Walters, Carlie Heinecke and Kyra Dalluge won the 4×100-meter relay with 52.37. Worel continued, “(They) get the girls team a lot of points in the other events as well, and should get a nice preview of where they currently stand in the section at the meet next Tuesday.”
Rogers also won the 4×200 and 4×800-meter relays with 1:52.68 and 11:34.4h respectively. Jasmine Brockberg won the triple jump with 33-07.25 and Alana Walters took the long jump with 15-01.25 for Rogers.
Corina Sandy of Zimmerman had a convincing first place in the pole vault (8-00) for the Thunder’s sole girls win.
With True Team sections coming up next week, Elk River wasn’t taking any chances when one of their best athletes, Chris Udalla, felt a cramp in his hamstring. So Brian Gilbertson, Elk River boys head coach, scratched him for the rest of the events.
“We can’t risk it from a team perspective,” Gilbertson said. “We’ve got five guys that really carry the team. They can do three of four events and that really helps, so we can’t really have him out. It doesn’t do us any good to push through it and risk him pulling something.”
According to Gilbertson, during his time up until this year, Elk River hadn’t experienced hamstring issues. He said they may be having some nutritional issues. Bouncing back from a hamstring issue of his own, Justin Pearson anchored the winning 4×400-meter relay and won the 400-meter dash.
Elk River, led by Matthew Dahlson, had convincing wins in both the 110-meter hurdles (15.65) and the 300-meter hurdles (40.9). Jacob Heyne (4:42.43) won the 1600-meter dash, as Elk River took the top six spots in that race. In relays, Elk River performed well, winning the 4×400-meter relay (3:31.45). Pole Vault also proved strong Elk River as they took the top three spots led by Jarod Gill who cleared 11-00.
Setting a personal record, Obiamalu Egbujor jumped 6-02 in the high jump, winning the event for Elk River. “That was probably my biggest surprise of the day,” Gilbertson said.
Rogers proved competitive throughout the meet with a close second place. They started strong when Collin Kirby placed first in both the 100-meter dash (11.43) and the 200-meter dash (23.49). Kirby would go on to break a Rogers school record for triple jump with his first place finish (42-07.5).
“(With) some great competition next week at True Team Sections,” coach Worel said, “we expect to see Collin’s sprints and jumps to push the best in the section.”
Rogers had all five top finishers in the 800-meter run, led by first place finisher Graham Durbin (2:22.24). Ethan Anderson led Rogers to further long distance success with his 3200-meter run win (10:44.73). Rogers also took the 4×800 with 9:21.2h.
“Zach Aanerud has been a rock for our throws crew and has strong leadership qualities,” coach Worel said. “(Aanerud) should continue to push the top spot in conference competition and will be among the best in discus for section 5AA.” Aanerud placed first in both shot put (45-03.5) and discus (133-00).
“Overall the athletes and refreshed coaching staff have been working well together and are beginning to find their stride,” Worel said. “The kids are discovering their potential and getting ready for peak performances at the perfect time.”
Zimmerman had a close win over Elk River in the 4×200-meter relay with 1:40.11. Alexander Martin jumped 19-07.5 for a first place finish in the long jump for the Thunder.