Track and field is a sport for specialists. There are sprinters and distance runners, throwers and jumpers, hurdlers and pole vaulters. This makes Shaina Burns a remarkable athlete, because the Lakeville South senior is the Swiss army knife of track and field athletes.
Burns (pictured) was the individual star of Friday’s Hamline Elite Meet, winning the shot put and 100-meter hurdles and finishing second in the 300-meter hurdles and anchoring the Cougars’ 4x400 relay to a runner-up finish. Had she done the same at last year’s Class 2A state meet she would have accumulated 44 points … which would have given her a third-place finish in the team competition all by herself.
“She’s one of a kind,” Lakeville South coach Andy Hilliard said. “Where are you going to find that combination? It’s just a very unique skill set that she has, she trains hard and she puts a lot of time into it.”
Burns set one of 13 meet records Friday at the ninth annual Elite Meet, winning the 100 hurdles in 14.60 seconds. Also in the field was defending 2A state champ Rachel Schow of Rosemount and hurdlers who finished second, third and fifth at state in 2013.
In the shot put Burns set a personal best of 44 feet, 6 inches. Her second-place time in the 300 hurdles beat the meet record, as did first-place Schow. And in the 4x400, Burns and teammates Rachel Mickelson, Haley Lubow and Caraline Slattery finished a close second to Minnetonka.
“Oh man, it was a crazy day,” Burns said after the meet. “This is my last year at Hamline so there are mixed feelings. I was super excited but it was a little sentimental and sad at the same time. I started out really great; I PR’d in the shot put and won that, in the 100 hurdles I pulled out a win and a meet record. I was really excited about that one. I was a little tired by 300 hurdles and 4x4. I still ran decent times but I could have done better. It’s early in the season.”
Burns will continue her track career at Texas A&M. She will compete in the 400 hurdles as well as the heptathlon; she won the Intermediate division of the heptathlon at the USATF National Junior Olympics in 2012.
SURPRISING FINISHES, ATHLETES TO WATCH
Friday’s meet at Hamline featured a couple of breakout stars who probably surprised even themselves. In the boys 1,600 meters, Farmington junior Justin Hyytinen outran Richfield senior Obsa Ali in a meet-record time of 14:04.05. Ali won the 3,200 at last year’s 2A state meet and last fall won the 2A state cross-country title. And Eagan senior Jacob Gourley won the 100, 200 and anchored the Wildcats’ winning 4x200 relay team.
Hyytenin said he had never before finished close to Ali on the track or in cross-country. But a winter dedicated to running is making a difference.
“It’s hard to believe, it almost seems like I’m in a dream,” he said. “I was always one of those guys who was like, ‘Wow, look at that kid.’ But two nights ago a college coach told me, ‘You’re one of those kids now.’ It’s kind of surreal.”
Gourley finished sixth in the 100 at last year’s state meet and didn’t qualify for state in the 200. He struggled with a stress fracture in his left shin last spring.
“I was feeling pretty good coming into today but I didn’t expect three titles at all,” he said. “Over the winter I kind of had a fire under my butt. Sixth place (at state) was definitely not what I imagined. But this year I definitely put in the most work I ever have, put in a bunch of rehab and obviously it’s paying off for me.”
Sophomore Alexandria sisters Megan and Bethany Hasz (pictured) finished first and third in the 3,200, building a resume that includes first- (Bethany) and second-place (Megan) finishes at last fall’s 2A state cross-country championships.
“Knowing that we were the top in the state in cross-country, it’s really a nice boost of confidence,” Megan said Friday.
--Minnetonka's Mia Barton won the girls long and jump triple jump. Her winning distance in the long jump was 19-2 3/4; the state record is 19-5 1/4.
--The Minnetonka girls won the 4x400 (Rebecca Moore, Meghan Janssen, Lucille Hoelscher, Elizabeth Endy) and 4x800 relays ( Meaghan Borowski, Janssen, Hoelscher, Endy).
--Wayzata won the boys 4x100 (Keante' Johnson, Steele Berg, Anthony Clarke , Joseph Kolpin ) and 4x400 (Tyler Didier, Obinnaya Wamuo, Mitchell Walber, Michael Smith).
--Payton Otterdahl of Rosemount won the boys discus and shot put.
--Jordan Feder of Nevis won one for the Class 1A schools, topping the field in the high jump with a leap of 6-6. The runner-up was another 1A athlete, West Spier of Caledonia-Spring Grove. Another winner from Class 1A was Jon Tollefson of St. Croix Lutheran in the 110 hurdles.
--Hands down the best name at the Hamline Elite Meet: Farmington hurdler Nehemiah Rockett.
--To see a photo gallery from the Hamline Elite Meet, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.
BY THE NUMBERS
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