Odell Beckham Jr., superstar wide receiver for the New York Giants, was surely unaware that something important concerning his family's athletic history took place Saturday at Hamline University’s Klas Field. When word reaches his mother, it might sink in.
The name of Beckham’s mom, Heather Van Norman, has been in the MSHSL state track meet record book since 1987. That was the year Van Norman, representing Windom High School, won the Class 1A team championship in scoring 30 points all by herself. One of those events was the 200-meter dash, which Heather won with a time of 24.58 seconds.
That Class 1A meet record stood for 31 years until it finally fell on Saturday when Minneapolis North senior T’Nia Riley won the 200 in 24.44 seconds.
And there was an important update to the “one-person team wins a state title” storyline. This time the one person was Pequot Lakes’ Reid Pierzinski (pictured). All the senior did this weekend was win the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the 200-meter dash while also finishing seventh in the triple jump.
Reid’s first-place finishes were worth 12 points apiece and he gleaned three points in the triple jump. That’s a total of 39 points, which gave Pequot Lakes – in the guise of one superstar – the Class 1A boys track and field state title. Mora and Southwest Christian tied for second place with 32 points.
It was that kind of day Saturday. Three all-time state records fell, there were repeat state champs galore, and the big crowd roared over and over as athletes battled and scrapped and gutted their way to the finish. Despite a weather-induced delay in Saturday’s Class 2A competition (which was followed by the 1A meet), it will stand as one of the most memorable track and field championships in recent years.
While Pierzinski was the top individual athlete, Minnetonka was the star of the girls relay events, sweeping the Class 2A 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 en route to winning the team championship. North St. Paul won the 2A girls 4x100 for the second year in a row.
--Mounds View junior pole vaulter Julia Fixsen won her second consecutive Class 2A state title with a winning height of 13 feet, 9 1/4 inches. That broke her own previous state record of 13-9. Last year she won the event at 11-6. Her goal all season has been to clear 14 feet, and she nearly made it. She made two unsuccessful attempts at 14-1 1/4 before the weather delay ended her meet.
“I would say in all honesty I’m a little disappointed because I wanted that 14-one and a quarter within this season,” she said. “I’ve been trying and I’ve been wanting it for so long. But I know that I have next year, which is kind of encouraging. I’m excited because next year I could jump even higher than 14-1 because I have the whole offseason. Disappointed? Yes, but also really excited about the future.”
--Eagan senior Natalie Windels was a double hurdles champion, sweeping the 2A girls 100- and 300-meter events. The 300 is her specialty; she won that race at state last season. The 100 field included defending champion Shae Buchman of Rosemount, who finished third behind Windels and White Bear Lake’s Erika Townley.
“I didn’t think I’d win it,” Windels said of the 100 hurdles. “I thought Shae for sure would have like a great start and then I did. I was already smiling at the end.”
--Another double winner was Edina senior Emily Kompelien in the 2A girls 800 and 1,600. The original schedule had little more than an hour between the 1,600 and 800, but the weather delay gave the 800 runners more time to prepare.
“The rain delay really played into my favor. I was pretty tired after the mile,” Emily said. “I knew coming into it that it would be a challenge but I’ve done that in a couple other meets this year. The mile was a super-tactical race. And for the 800 I knew it would just be a whole clump of us, which it totally was. But I always know that I can count on my kick to get me out of an iffy situation.”New all-time state records
Girls pole vault: Julia Fixsen, Mounds View (2A), 13-9 ¼
Girls 3,200: Emily Covert, Minneapolis Washburn (2A), 10:06.19
Boys 4x200: Hopkins (2A), 1:26.37Repeat state champions
1A boys 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200: Reid Pierzinski, Pequot Lakes
1A boys 100: Marlon Wiley, Jordan
1A girls high jump: Nyalaam Jok, Annandale (2A Osseo in 2017)
1A girls 100, 200: T’Nia Riley, Minneapolis North
1A girls 400: Kya Phillips, Cristo Rey Jesuit
1A girls 800: Ava Hill, Mesabi East
2A boys 300 hurdles: Joel Smith, Mounds View
2A girls pole vault: Julia Fixsen, Mounds View
2A girls 300 hurdles: Natalie Windels, Eagan
2A girls triple jump: Allyson Weiss, East Ridge
2A girls 4x100 relay North St. PaulTriple champion
1A boys 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200: Reid Pierzinski, Pequot LakesDouble champions
1A girls 100, 200: T’Nia Riley, Minneapolis North
1A boys 1,600 and 3,200: Matt Steiger, La Crescent
2A boys 1,600, 3,200: Khalid Hussein, Wayzata
2A girls 800, 1,600: Emily Kompelien, Edina
2A girls 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles: Natalie Windels, EaganFollow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn