These are glory days for girls track and field in Minnesota. The 2017 season ended over the weekend with the best in our state competing at Hamline University in St. Paul to decide Class 1A and Class 2A state championships.
Meanwhile, on an even bigger stage, a trio of Minnesota high school girls track and field all-time record holders were making their mark at the NCAA Division I national championship in Eugene. Ore. Here’s a summary…
--Maggie Ewen, a junior at Arizona State from St. Francis, won the national championship in the hammer throw, placed second in the discus and sixth in the shot put. She holds MSHSL all-time records in the shot put and discus.
--Ruby Stauber, a Louisiana State freshman from Wayzata, advanced to the NCAA championship meet in the 800 meters. She set the Minnesota prep record in that event one year ago.
--Jedah Caldwell, a Chanhassen grad and freshman at Kansas, ran on the Jayhawks’ 4x100 relay team at the NCAA championships. Jedah holds Minnesota state records in the 100 and 200 meters, both set one year ago.
One all-time state record was broken at the MSHSL championships, and fittingly it was a group of four young ladies who did so. The North St. Paul quartet of Shaliciah Jones, Alexis Pratt, J’Anna Cager and Jebeh Cooke won the Class 2A 4x100 and 4x200 relays on Saturday; their 4x200 time of 1:39.20 set an all-time state record. The previous mark was 1:40.08, set by Hopkins in 2010.
There are 18 events in Minnesota high school track and field, and girls state records have been set in 11 events in the last three years.
All in all, it was a splendid weekend for Minnesota track and field, girls and boys. The two-day state championship meet was held under clear skies on a picture-perfect Friday and a warm, breezy Saturday. There were superstars in attendance, including Bloomington Kennedy senior Honour Finley, the state record holder in the 400 meters, who won that Class 2A event for the third year in a row and will be teammates with Caldwell at Kansas in the fall.
Another superstar who became a three-time state champion was Jenna Kes, a senior from Jordan. Jenna is a three-sport athlete, also competing in soccer and basketball. She placed fifth in the Class 1A triple jump as a ninth-grader before beginning her three-year reign in that event.
She was thrilled for several reasons Saturday, including wearing the triple jump gold medal for the third time. She set a personal best Saturday of 40 feet, 2 ¾ inches, which was more than a foot beyond her previous best. She also finished second in the 100 hurdles and long jump, giving her a total of eight medals from her high school career at state track.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” she said with a great big smile.
Asked about the factors that contributed to her track success, she didn’t say a word about herself. The only person she talked about was Brian Homan, who coaches the Jordan jumpers.
“That all goes to my coach,” said Jenna, who will be a collegiate track and field athlete at North Dakota State. “He just knows the right things to say at the right times to keep me focused, and having fun always. Having fun is really what it’s all about. I just can’t thank him enough.”
After participating in three sports throughout high school, Jenna called it “an amazing experience. My closest friends are also athletes. For me it was always, you go to practice, you work hard but also you get to spend an extra two hours a day with your friends. They keep everything fun and exciting. It’s an awesome experience.”Aiming For a Record
North St. Paul senior Jake Kubiatowicz has been dreaming of setting a state record in the discus for a long, long time.
“That’s kind of been my goal ever since I found out about it when I was a little kid,” he said Saturday. The state record of 201 feet, 7 inches was set by Rochester Century’s Karl Erickson in 2001, and Jake appeared to be a serious threat to break it going into the state meet.
He threw 199-7 at the Section 4 championships, which is second to Erickson on the state’s all-time list.
With a large crowd on hand to watch the 2A boys discus competition Saturday, Jake’s first throw was 177-11, followed by 160-1. His final throw in the preliminaries sailed 194-6 and brought whoops from the fans. With three more throws coming up in the final round, Erickson’s 201-7 looked to be on shaky ground.
But it still stands. Jake threw 193-5, 190-2 and 194-4 in the finals. He was a little disappointed, he admitted. But …
“I really wanted to break that record ... But I’ve got too many other blessings in life; it’s just one record.”
Jake, who will become an Ivy League track and field athlete at the University of Pennsylvania this fall, also won the 2A discus title last season. Other Class 2A Highlights
--Eden Prairie’s Denzel Brown won the 100 and 200 meters, taking the 200 for the second year in a row.
--St. Michael-Albertville’s Anna Keefer, who earlier this spring set a state record in the long jump, won that event at the state meet as well as the 100 and 200.
--Edina repeated as state champ in the girls 4x800 relay.
--Amanda Anderson of St. Francis won her second title in the girls discus.
--Armstrong’s Alexandrea Hurst repeated as girls shot put state champ.
--Allyson Weiss of East Ridge won her second title in the girls triple jump.Other Class 1A Highlights
-- Tierney Wolfgram,an eighth-grader from Math and Science Academy in Woodbury, won the 3,200 on Friday and the 1,600 on Saturday, adding those to the state cross-country state title she won in November.
-- Minneapolis North’s T’Nia Riley swept the girls 100 and 200.
-- Reid Pierzinski of Pequot Lakes won the boys 110 and 300 hurdles races.
--Samuel Moore of Bertha-Hewitt swept the boys shot put and discus.
--Millie Klefsaas of Staples-Motley repeated as girls pole vault champion.
--Mara Quam of Kenyon-Wanamingo won her second title in the girls long jump.Team Scoring
Class 1A boys
1. Plainview-Elgin-Millville 58
2. Pequot Lakes 42
3. Pipestone 40
4. Ottertail Central 35
5. Esko 33Class 1A girls
1. Minneapolis Edison 48
2. Pequot Lakes 41.50
3. Belle Plaine 40
4. Byron 38
5. Jordan 35Class 2A boys
1. East Ridge 51
2. Lakeville South 44
3. Wayzata 43
4. (tie) Mounds View 42, Hopkins 42Class 2A girls
1. St. Michael-Albertville 54
2. Farmington 48
3. North St. Paul 43
4. Mounds View 36
5. Armstrong 33
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 748
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2016-17: 11,648
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