by Eric Oslund
Elk River High School played host to eight teams on Tuesday, May 9, for the 2017 true-team section meet.
True-team meets are different from ordinary ones because every person in a race earns points for their team, not just the top performers, so it really tests a team’s depth.
The girls went into the meet knowing they were going to be competing for first place and a trip to the true-team state meet. Their primary opponent throughout the day turned out to be Anoka, and unfortunately for the Elks, it was a few little things here or there that ended up turning the tides for them and they finished second with a team score of 878.
“We knew we would be in the mix to win the meet,” head girls coach Russell Gnan said. “Unfortunately, we had 3 or 4 miscues through out the meet and that made the difference.”
But the girls still had a great day overall.
Katherine Buhl and Lauren Ives are both veterans for this Elk River team, and both of them recorded three lifetime bests, which is difficult to do this early in the season.
Buhl took third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.94, second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.46, third in the long jump with a distance of 16-08, and third in the triple jump with a distance of 34-06.50. Ives, on the other hand, took 10th in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.30, seventh in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.63, eighth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 50.79, and was also a member of relay teams.
Other big contributors for the Elk River girls were Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman, who took fourth in the 800-meter run, second in the 1,600-meter run, and competed in the relays; Sidney Wentland, who took first in both the shot put and discus; Maria Brown, who competed in the relays and took fifth in the 800-meter run, and seventh in the 400-meter dash; Angel Fredin, who took second in the 300-meter hurdles, and second in the 100-meter hurdles; and also Clarissa Hillary, a rookie, who recorded personal bests in discus and pole vault.
The Elk River boys track and field team also came into this event knowing they were going to be competing for first place, and like the girls, their primary competition turned out to be Anoka. Unlike the girls, the boys were able to come away in first with a team score of 918.
“Great leadership by the seniors,” head boys coach Brian Gilbertson said. “We’ve got five seniors captain who will go to the well for you every time. They really are track kids. They love track and field. I just think that’s a lot of it. They’re very passionate about it, they were ready for the season to start, and the younger ones just build off that.”
Christopher Udalla continued his strong senior season, coming in third for the high jump with a height of 6-02, first in the long jump with a distance of 22-06.05, first in the triple jump with a distance of 46-02.75, and was also the anchor leg of the first-place finishing 4×100 relay.
Jacob Heyne was another bright spot for the Elks during this meet as he finished second in the 800-meter run (2:02.42), fifth in the 1,600-meter run (4:45.99), and was a member of the second-place finishing 4×400 relay team.
Justin Pearson was the final competitor that Gilbertson highlighted after the race. He set three personal records in the long jump, with his furthest distance coming in at 20-06.50, which was good enough for third place. He also took second in the 200-meter dash (23.12), first in the 400-meter dash (51.39), and was a member of the first-place 4×100 team.
Other highlights for the boys were Zachary Berg, who got second in the 100-meter dash; Christian Leonard who was third in the 800, the anchor of the 4×400, and fourth in the 1,600; Matthew Dahlson, who was second in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles; Jared Stanke, who was fifth in the 110 hurdles, fourth in the 300 hurdles, and fifth in the high jump; and Obiamalu Egbujor, who was fourth in the high jump.
That first-place finish secured a spot at the true-team state meet, which will take place on Friday, May 19, at Stillwater.
The Rogers track and field team also made their way to Elk River for the true-team sections meet, but they did not do as good as the Elks. Both the boys and girls would finish in eighth place, recording 531 and 517 team points respectfully.
Samantha Braesch continues to be a high point for the Royals girls team, finishing ninth in the discus with a distance of 88-06, and coming in third in shot put with a distance of 34-01.50 – which broke the school record that she previously held.
Other highlights for the Rogers girls were Grace Maurer coming in fifth in the 400-meter dash, and fifth in the triple jump; their 4×100 relay team, which took first; and Jasmine Brockberg, who finished fourth in the triple jump.
Standouts for the Rogers boys track and field team included Collin Kirby, who took fifth in 200-meter dash and fourth in the triple jump; John Torresani, who was sixth in 200-meter dash; and Travis Sinclair, who finished fourth in the discus.
The Spectrum Sting made their way to Maple Lake to compete in the section 4A true-team meet, with both the boys and girls setting school records, as the boys finished third and the girls finished fifth out of 20 teams competing.
“This meet showed that we can compete with some of the better conference and section teams,” said head coach Rick Peterson. “We had a good retreat with some team building and have built some momentum the past couple weeks.”
Lorna Bechtel stood out for the Spectrum girls, as she set a school record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15:44, and was also a member of the record setting 4×100-meter team, and a member of the first-place finishing, record-breaking 4×400-meter relay team.
Adrienne Foell, Martha Bergley and Hailey Johnson joined Bechtel in the 4×400 relay; while Johnson, Betsey Chaffin and Chloe Bechtel joined her for the 4×100 relay.
For the boys, Clay Jackson was one athlete who really stood out, setting school records in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.47, and in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.43.
The Sting boys were also highlighted by their first-place finishing, record-setting 4×400 relay team of Caleb Rogers, Brenden Bergren, Tyler Schwinghammer, and Zack Anderson; The record-setting 4×800 relay team of Joel Zimmerman, Zach Foell, Ben Harvey, and Anderson; and Connor Reed, who set a school record in the pole vault, clearing a height of 9-6.
The Zimmerman Thunder traveled to Rocori High School to compete in the section 5AA true-team meet, with the boys and girls coming in 10th. Both both sides of the team had multiple athletes finish in the top-10 of their given events.
For the girls, Cheresa Bouley finished fourth in 1,600-meter run; Olivia Williams, was seventh in the 800-meter run; Kyla Wiley, was 10th in the 800-meter run; their 4×400 relay, took sixth; Corina Sandy, was sixth in the pole vault; Kaydia Dewey, was third in the discus; and Katelin Jacob, was eighth in the triple jump
Jacob Waalk, was fifth in 110-meter hurdles, eighth in the 300-meter hurdles for the boys; Wyatt Pramann, was sixth in 1,600-meter run; Kyle Briggs, was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles, and seventh in the 110-meter hurdles; Justin Robinson, was fourth in the shot put; Alexander Martin, took ninth in the long jump; Carter McEachern took eighth in the triple jump, and 10th in the high jump; Bryan Hoerr, finished 10th in the triple jump; and Brandon Schnellman, who tied for seventh in the pole vault.