Rockford captures first section track and field championship

Rockford won the Section 5A girls track and field title for the first time in school history with (from left) Alayna Schloeder, Molly Schultz, Sara Byers, Bryn London, Cassia Cady, Aliyah Robran and Ava Cusciotta. (Submitted photo by Jim Clark)

It could be wondered that Rockford’s very young girls track and field team is ahead of schedule after winning the first Section 5A championship in school history.

Seven girls qualified for the section finals May 31 at St. John’s University. They produced 65.6 points to finish on top of the field involving 27 teams, edging second place Watertown-Mayer by six and a half points. The boys finished 18th out of 25 teams.

Rockford qualified one relay and three individuals advanced to the state meet June 9-10 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Since the Rocket girls are so young, the future that looks so bright is happening sooner than expected. Out of the seven girls going to state the oldest is a sophomore, along with two ninth-graders, an eighth-grader and three seventh-graders.

Rockford also has a bunch of other young track athletes who could contribute next year and beyond. The title came without the help of junior Logan Henrich, a state meet qualifier last season who sat out this year with an injury.

Ninth-grader Alayna Schloeder won the section pole vault title with a new school and section record 11-feet, 5-inches. She also placed sixth in the 300 hurdles. Last year Schloeder placed ninth in the pole vault at state.

Another school record was set by Molly Schultz, also a ninth-grader, who won the long jump at 17-feet, 2.5-inches. Schultz was third in the pole vault and anchored the winning 4×400 meter relay.

Eighth-grader Sara Byers was an alternate on the winning 4×400 relay and had to fill in for Cassia Cady, a standout sprinter as a seventh-grader. Cady was not feeling well after running both the 100 and 400 events. The relay did not miss a beat without Cady.

Byers also placed sixth in the triple jump and was on the fifth place 4×200 relay along with seventh-graders Aliyah Robran and Ava Cusciotta, plus sophomore Bryn London.

Cady finished fourth in the 100 and eighth in the 400. She will run on the 4×400 relay at state and Byers will go back to being the alternate.

London placed third in the high jump, Cusciotta ran on both the 4×200 and 4×400 relays and Robran was part of the winning 4×400 relay, plus was seventh in the 800 and was on the 4×200 relay.

Sophomore Hawkin Petron placed third for the boys in the pole vault, but qualified for state on height standard of 13-3. The top two finishers in each event advanced to state and those who beat the time or height standard.