Two of Minnesota’s greatest all-time multi-sport athletes live 280 miles apart, one of them way up in the northwest part of the state and one way down in the southeast. But while mileage separates Meleah Biermaier and Andrianna (Andy) Jacobs, athletic accomplishments do not.
The two seniors – Biermaier from Thief River Falls and Jacobs from Rochester Century – ended their MSHSL careers in grand fashion at Saturday’s state track and field championships, which is no surprise considering their gold-medal history. Biermaier won the Class 2A 300-meter hurdles for the third time and broke her own state record. Jacobs claimed her fourth state title in the 2A pole vault; she holds the state record in that event.
The duo is testament to what can be accomplished by athletes who choose not to specialize in just one sport. Both will be track athletes in college, Biermaier at the University of Minnesota and Jacobs at Nebraska.
“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. I think it’ll sink in later tonight,” said Jacobs, whose career-best height is 13-7 ¼. She won with a vault of 13-3 Saturday at Hamline University’s Klas Field, three inches better than runner-up Julia Fixsen, a ninth-grader from Mounds View.
Biermaier won her first 300 hurdles title as an eighth-grader, finished second as a ninth- and 10th-grader, broke a 28-year-old record last year at state and set another record Saturday. Her time was 41.35 seconds.
“Honestly, my goal this year was to go 41 (seconds),” she said. “When I finished and I kind of heard it, I was like, ‘There’s no way. I must have heard it wrong.’ It felt fast, it felt really good, actually. Normally I die at the end or something but this time my adrenalin was going so fast.”
Meleah has also played volleyball and basketball for the Prowlers; in addition to going to state in track five times she has played in two state volleyball tournaments and two in basketball. She was a member of the third-place 4x100 relay team Saturday along with eighth-graders Carley Johnson and Miah Nelson and senior Kira Johnson.
“This whole thing has been awesome,” Meleah said. “My teams in my other sports have been phenomenal, the relay this year was great, the coaches who always pushed me to do my best. It’s been really fun.”
Saturday’s event was Jacobs’ 14th state tournament. She also has been a regular on the medal stand as a diver at the state swimming championships as well as in gymnastics.
She suffered a sprained right ankle three weeks ago, which hampered her down the stretch of the track season. At the Big Nine Conference meet she attempted only one vault, clearing 10-6 to win the competition after all the other vaulters had gone out at lower heights.
“I was feeling pretty good today,” she said with a big smile. “It felt a lot better.”
MORE STATE RECORDS
In addition to Biermaier’s 300 hurdles mark, two other all-time state records were broken over the weekend. East Ridge senior Karina Joiner set a 100-meter hurdles record of 13.94 in Friday’s preliminaries; she won the event Saturday in 14.01. The Edina girls 4x800 relay team set an all-time record of 8:59.69 Saturday.
TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS
Two distance runners completed the Triple Crown in that specialty, sweeping first-place finishes in the state cross-country championships last fall and winning the 1,600 and 3,200 meters on the track this weekend. That was accomplished by Wayzata senior Jaret Carpenter in 2A boys and Winona Cotter seventh-grader Grace Ping in 1A girls.
Ping’s success at such a young age marks her as someone who could, if she swept the Triple Crown each year for six years, finish her high school career with 18 individual state championships.
Class 2A girls: 1. Alexandria 44.25; 2. Chanhassen 44; 3. Armstrong 42; 4. St. Michael-Albertville 40; 5. Mounds View 35.
Class 2A boys: 1. Wayzata 75; 2. Edina 44; 3. Woodbury 34; 4. Eden Prairie 32; 5. Elk River 31.
Class 1A girls: 1. Minneapolis Edison 46; 2. Blake 42; 3. Pequot Lakes 37; 4 Watertown-Mayer 34; 5. Tri-City United 33.
Class 1A boys: 1. Rushford-Peterson/Houston 57; 2. Pine Island 55; 3. Minnehaha 53; 4. Pipestone 37; 5. Foley 33.
--Senior twins Bethany and Megan Hasz of Alexandria ended their illustrious high school careers by finishing first and second in the 2A 1,600 Saturday. They were the top two finishers at the state cross-country meet the last three years and Bethany won the 1,600 and 3,200 last year at state.
--Chanhassen senior Jedah Caldwell repeated as the 2A champion in the 100 and 200 and Wayzata senior Ruby Stauber won her second 800-meter title in two years. Other repeat 2A girls champs were Honour Finley of Bloomington Kennedy in the 400, Eden Prairie senior Ashley Ramacher in the high jump, St. Michael-Albertville in the 4x100 relay and Waconia in the 4x200.
--On the 2A boys side, Armstrong senior and state record-holder Evan McClellon repeated as champion in the 100, as did Elk River senior Lucas Trapp in the 800 and Hopkins in the 4x800 relay.
--Minneapolis North’s T’Nia Riley was a double winner among Class 1A girls, sweeping the 100 and 200 titles. Jaime Salone of Blake won the girls shot put and discus while Millie Klefsass of Staples-Motley won the pole vault and 100 hurdles. Boys relay teams from Foley finished first in the 4x100 and 4x200, and Blue Earth girls relay squads won the 4x200 and 4x400.
--Winning back-to-back state titles in Class 1A were Jordan’s Jenna Kes in the girls triple jump, Noah Carlson of Rushford-Peterson/Houston in the boys long jump (he also won the 200 meters), St. Clair sophomore Mitchell Weber in the discus and shot put and the Minneapolis Edison girls in the 4x100.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has seen/visited: 810
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2015-16: 11,998