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Caledonia/Spring Grove sprints to state track and field dominance

Jun. 7—ST. MICHAEL, Minn. — Josh Beardmore likes nothing more than kicking "butt" in any competition.

He said as much early Friday night after doing just that in the Class 1A boys track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

The Caledonia/Spring Grove senior — along with his fellow deluxe sprinting teammates — dominated the meet. Beardmore won the 100-meter dash in a golden 10.87. He also ran a leg on one of the Warrriors' two state champion and school record-setting relay teams, the 4x100.

Not only that, C/SG won the state team title and by a bunch. It scored 67 points. Winona Cotter was second with 39.

It was quite an afternoon to be wearing Warriors' colors, especially if you enjoy sprints. These guys crushed it.

"To compete is fun, and it's especially fun if you're winning," Beardmore said. "It's hard not to have fun when you're kicking 'butt.' "

The C/SG 4x100 team of Eli Staggemeyer, Gabe Curley, Owen Staggemeyer and Beardmore were timed in 42.75. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted was a distant second (43.23).

In the 4x200, it was the C/SG combination of Eli Staggemeyer, Owen Staggemeyer, Curley and Fischer Wait that won and set a school record, in 1:29.28. That race wasn't close either; St. Cloud Cathedral was the runner-up in 1:30.54.

Those first-place finishes weren't accomplished by C/SG athletes simply rolling out of bed and showing up. Beardmore, like his sprinting teammates, threw himself into the famous sprinting and weightlifting program run each year by Caledonia football coach Carl Fruetchte. It goes three days per week, is done in the mornings and goes year round.

It's a primary reason for all of Friday's success. And it's something that Beardmore has always done simply because he's yearned to get better.

"It's a grind, but it's worth it," Beardmore said.

As good as Beardmore is, owning the school record in the 100 (10.85, set this regular season), he knows that Eli Staggemeyer is right on his tail. That was true in the open 100 Friday, with the Caledonia/Spring Grove junior finishing fourth in a not-so-distant 10.99.

Next year, it's Beardmore's guess that his record goes down, courtesy of that talented junior.

"Eli is better than I was as a junior," Beardmore said. "I really think he might be breaking my record next year."

Staggemeyer is not thinking much about that. At least not yet. What was on his mind Friday was what he and his sprinting mates had accomplished. Being a part of it was a beautiful thing.

"The mood right now is we are all pretty happy from those times we (posted)," he said. "We wanted some PR's today (personal records) in the relays, and we got them."

Jayce Kiehne had been inching toward something big. This had been four years in the making, starting with the Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton star all-around athlete reaching the state track-and-field meet as a freshman.

Each year, his main track event was the 800. He landed fifth at state as a sophomore, then third last year.

Friday was the senior's final go at it. He didn't waste the opportunity. Kiehne walked away as a state champion and in incredible style. He was clocked in 1:53.11, breaking a school record that had stood since 1973, held by then-Olympic hopeful Andy Bunge.

"I was looking to get the win, but in the back of my mind I was hoping to get the school record," said Kiehne, who was timed in 1:54.66 in winning last week's Section 1, Class 1A meet. "It's funny when I think about all the times that people would ask me, 'Are you going to break the record?' and I'd say 'I don't know.' I honestly thought that might just be a record that would stick there forever."

After that 1:54.66 section time, Kiehne had provided a large hint that it wouldn't stick.

The senior was provided with plenty of a push Friday by a familiar face. That was GMLOKS' Tate Goergen. Just a freshman, Goergen has shown wild promise this season and was better than ever in this state final, timed in 1:54.81 for second overall.

"When he ran a 1:58 early this year, I knew this kid was going to be good," Kiehne said. "I knew he was going to push me at the state meet. To be just a freshman and already doing that, that's something."

Kiehne is also something. He's now a state champion, a school record holder and a few months from taking on a different sport at Winona State University. Also an All-State football player at Fillmore Central, he'll play wide receiver for the Warriors.

There figured to be a showdown of showdowns in the state high jump. And almost all of the elite competition would be from one corner of the state, the southeastern side.

Showing up were four from there who'd gone 6-feet-4 or better in the Section 1 meet — GMLOKS' Sam Snitker, Triton's Pierce Petersohn, Blooming Prairie's Gabe Hein and Caledonia/Spring Grove's Ethan Stendel.

Things went according to plan. All four finished in the top seven. That included Snitker ending as the champion with a 6-6 jump and Hein — who also went 6-6 but had more misses — finishing second.

Snitker had gone 6-8 more than once this season and Triton sophomore Petersohn once cleared 6-10.

Snitker, who didn't start high jumping until last year, tried to treat this as any other meet. It made it easier that so many of the competing faces were familiar ones.

"We all get along well," Snitker said. "It was cool to be with the (Section) 1A guys. I knew we all had a chance to win it. It just depended on who showed up today."

Hein was happy for Snitker, as he said he would have been had any of the other Section 1, Class 1A guys won it.

"I love the competition with the guys in our section," Hein said. "I get along great with all of them. We all just sat around during the competition and talked."

It was another fabulous state meet for St. Charles wheelchair athlete Tyler Gunnarson.

The all-time winningest wheelchair athlete in the state, Gunnarson added to his collection by finishing first in the 100 wheelchair, the 200 wheelchair and the 400 wheelchair. He was second in the discus wheelchair to Lakeview's Lucas Taylor.

Kenyon-Wanamingo/Goodhue's Grant Reed ran a swift 22.43 in the 200 to finish fourth. Caledonia/Spring Grove's Fischer Wait was sixth (22.56).

Cotter's Luke Gardner managed a second place in the 400. He was clocked in 49.39, just behind St. Paul Academy's Oliver Thompson (48.78). Triton's Pierce Petersohn was fifth (50.48) and Dover-Eyota's Damon Bye sixth (50.67).

CJ Tree of Pine Island was clocked in 40.57 to finish sixth in the 300 hurdles. Pine Island was fourth in the 4x100 relay (Bentley Lujero, Abe Ferber, Owen Harstad, Peyton Loftus; 43.83). Pine Island also delivered a fourth place in the 4x800 (Seth Konik, Jamison Rosane, Bo Rosane, Jacob Carter, 8:13.87).

Cotter got a second-place finish from its 4x400 relay team (Elliot Fitzgerald, Jackson Cada, Brayden Novakoski, Gardner; 3:23.81). Crosby-Ironton barely edged them, in 3:22.80. LFCMC (Mason Howard, Luke Ruen, Isaac Snyder, Jayce Kiehne) was sixth in the same race (3:27.34).

Cotter's Preston Meinke was fourth in the long jump (21-7 3/4), Caledonia/Spring Grove's Jordan Tornstrom second in the discus with a tremendous 170-9 throw and Lourdes' Will Roth fourth in the discus (165-7).

Class 1A state meet results