THEY DID IT! (AGAIN)
It wasn’t quite the nail-biter that it was last year, but the results were the same. Nothing, not even a glitch with the electronic timing system, was going to keep the Blue Earth Area girls track and field team from capturing the Class A True Team state championship for the second year in a row.
Last year’s meet came down to the final race and the margin of victory was only five and a half points. This year the winning margin was by 20 and a half points over second place Osakis.
Each of the nine competing teams could enter two girls in each of the individual events and one team in the relays with every competitor’s result contributing towards the final team score.
Blue Earth Area had seven events that saw both of their athletes finish in the top 10. This went a long way towards helping them secure their victory.
Karli Olsen got the Bucs off to a good start in the field events by placing second in the triple jump with a leap of 32 feet 9 1/2 inches.
Meanwhile on the track, the 4×800 relay team of Hannah Johnson, Sofie Blair, Kaitlin Johnson and Kiera Osmundson turned in their fastest time of the year. Their time of 10:25.78 was good for a fifth place finish.
As the public address announcer read the results from the early events, it appeared it would be a three-way battle for the championship title. Luverne would grab an early lead, but after about a third of the events were completed, Osakis and BEA started to pull away from the pack.
The Bucs were paced by many strong performances throughout the day that helped propel them to their second consecutive state title.
Miranda Johnson sprinted her way to a first place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.83 seconds and then joined Paige Darrington, Tea Armstrong and Anne Franta to claim the 4×100 meter relay title with a time of 51.67 seconds.
Johnson also added a fifth place finish in the 200 meter dash with a time of 26.95 seconds and a third place finish in the long jump with a leap of 15-8 3/4 feet.
Taylor Grandgenett, Melissa Hagedorn and Shayna Stevermer’s efforts in the hurdles were another bright spot for the team. Hagedorn and Grandgenett finished fifth and sixth respectively in the 100-meter high hurdles. Hagedorn’s time of 16.89 was her personal best while Grandgenett finished in 17.28. Grandgenett then teamed with Stevermer to capture second and third place in the 300-meter low hurdles with times of 47.98 and 49.46. Nicole Lium topped all pole-vaulters with a mark of nine feet six inches. Hagedorn was just two places back as she finished third at nine feet even. Lium also picked up valuable points in the high jump clearing the bar at four feet 10 inches to claim fourth place. Grandgenett finished tied for seventh place at four feet eight inches.
Franta’s time of 26.84 seconds was good for second place in the 200-meter dash. Franta also joined forces with Stevermer, Armstrong, and Alissa Norman to take second place in the 4×200 meter dash with a time of 1:50.36.
Lindsey Norman’s throw of 35 feet one and 1/2 inches was good for a sixth place finish in the shot put. It was during the seventh running event that the electronic timing system malfunctioned. Karli Olsen had just easily won her heat of the 400-meter dash when it was announced that there were some technical difficulties. Forty-five minutes later the crowd was informed that there had been a power surge and that the times from Olsen’s race had not been recorded. It had been decided that the heat would be rerun at the end of the meet after the girls’ and boys’ 4×400 meter relay. This set up the scenario where Olsen would run the anchor leg of the 4×400 and have about a 15 minute break before running the 400 meter dash again.
The disruption did not seem to affect Olsen as the senior continued to have, as coach Tom Plocker would describe it, “one of the greatest performances in school track history.”
Olsen took to the track for the 800-meter run and was in third place coming out of the final turn down the home stretch. The determined Olsen passed both runners to cross the finish line in first place in 2:23.7.
Fast forward to the end of the meet and what would normally be the final race of the meet, the 4×400 relay. Olsen combined with Stevermer, Grandgenett and Blair running the anchor leg to capture first place in a time of 4:09.57.
With the Bucs comfortably in the lead all that remained was for Olsen to rerun the 400-meter dash. She used the time before her last race to find some shade from the 85-degree heat, take on some water, and cool her down body with ice packs.
Olsen then took to the track and turned in a time of 59.66 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of the second place finisher and putting the final touches on the Bucs championship day.
2016 Class A True Team Track and Field State Meet Girls Team Standings:
1. Blue Earth Area 420; 2. Osakis 399.5; 3. Luverne 383; 4. Holdingford 327; 5. Trinity School at River Ridge 314; 6. Park Rapids Area 295; 7. Lake City 294; 8. Pierz 274.5; 9. Frazee 225.
100 meter dash: Miranda Johnson (first, 12.83), Paige Darrington (13.85)
200 meter dash: Anne Franta (third, 26.84), Miranda Johnson (fifth, 26.95)
400 meter dash: Karli Olsen (first, 59.66), Amanda Jacobson (64.44)
800 meter run: Olsen (first, 2:23.70), Hannah Johnson (2:34.49)
1600 meter run: Kiera Osmundson (6:15.55), Sidney Blair (6:17.29)
3200 meter run: Callie Stevermer (13:47.87), Sidney Blair (14:27.40)
100 meter high hurdles: Melissa Hagedorn (fifth, 16.89) Taylor Grandgenett (sixth, 17.28)
300 meter low hurdles: Grandgentt (second, 47.98), Shayna Stevermer (third, 49.46)
4 x 100 meter relay: BEA (first, Darington, Miranda Johnson, Tea Armstrong, Franta 51.67)
4 x 200 meter relay: BEA (second, Shayna Stevermer, Alissa Norman, Armstrong, Franta 1:51.25)
4 x 400 meter relay: BEA (first, Shayna Stevermer, Grandgenett, Sofie Blair, Olsen 4:09.57)
4 x 800 meter relay: BEA (fifth, Hannah Johnson, Sofie Blair, Kaitlin Johnson, Kiera Osmundson 10:25.78
High Jump: Nicole Lium (fourth, 4-10) Grandgenett (seventh, 4-8)
Pole Vault: Lium (first, 9-06) Hagedorn (third, 9-00)
Long Jump: Miranda Johnson (third, 15-08.75) Hannah Johnson (fifth, 14-11.75)
Triple Jump: Olsen (second, 32-09.50) Maddi Oelke (30-09.50)
Shot Put: Lindsey Norman (fifth, 35-01.50) Emma Lofblad (30-04.00)
Discus Throw: Lindsey Norman (86-04) Samantha Ripley (77-03)