Irondale athlete stands out in both track and field at state meet

The Star Tribune's Cassidy Hettesheimer and David La Vaque will lead you through the final day of the track and field state championships at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Check back often. Coverage of Thursday's Class 3A and 1A competition is here. Coverage of Friday's Class 2A and 1A competition is here.

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Hughes stands tall among towering group of sprinters

8:38 p.m.

Nick Lovas, who has coached a wealth of elite sprinters in the Hopkins girls and boys programs, anticipated track magic at Saturday's Class 3A state meet in the boys sprints.

He considered the 100-meter heavyweights such as Minnetonka senior Tobias Williams, Apple Valley senior Dwyne Smith Jr. and Irondale senior Juriad Hughes Jr. as the best group of top-end sprinters he could remember in 20 years.

The trio did not disappoint.

Hughes Jr. won in a time of 10.35 seconds. Defending champion Williams placed second in 10.46, and Smith Jr. grabbed fourth (10.72).

The competition, Hughes said, "pushed me a lot. The field was exciting and I give a lot of credit to them for pushing me to that time."

Hughes also ran to victory in the 200 (21.22 seconds), one spot ahead of Smith (21.43) and three places ahead of Williams (21.89). Hughes' victory in the long jump, where he cleared 24 feet, 5.25 inches, gave him a third gold medal.

"We all run in different sections, so it felt good to run against people who I know are fast," said Smith, who set an Apple Valley school record in the 200.

Smith won the 400, claiming a title left vacated by another of Lovas' picks for top sprinters — St. Paul Central's Harlow Tong (injury scratch).

"I was looking forward to running against him," Smith said. "But it meant a lot to win a state championship."

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The rest of the day, from meet's end back to early morning:

Track victory is new notion for Hopkins 800 runners

9:28 p.m.

A pair of Hopkins middle-distance runners, juniors Sydney Drevlow and Henry Risser, both enjoyed a new experience of taking first on race day.

For Drevlow, crossing the finish line with the field in her rear-view mirror relieved the sting of several runner-up finishes — two at the cross-country state meet, two in the 1,600 and once in the 800 at the track and field state meet. She's a big success as a Nordic skier, but Saturday marked the end of "never winning anything in running." She won the 800 in a time of 2:10.24.

Risser, a former club soccer player and part-time track and field runner, made the switch to track full-time and saw the results. His 800 victory came in 1:52.31, which edged Wayzata's Hayes McMillan by 31 hundredths of a second.

"I watched Sydney win and I said to myself, 'It's my turn to do what she did.' I found an extra gear at the end of my race," Risser said.

Minnetonka girls divide and conquer

9:03 p.m.

The usual members of the Minnetonka girls 4x400 relay team, Zeal Kuku, Bridget Koller, Evie Malec and Claire Kohler, fresh off breaking a nine-year-old Minnesota record, showed their individual abilities Saturday.

Kohler swept the hurdles events, Kuku topped the 200 field and Malec won the 1,600. The trio also used points from Koller to win the team title with 100 points. 13 more than rival Wayzata.

Setting the record in a time of 3 minutes, 48.20 seconds at the recent Lake Conference Championships gave the participants an abundance of confidence.

"That really motivated me to do my best because I know I can do hard things," Malec said. "And I know I have such strong teammates."

She ran with "Jeremiah 17:7″ written on her left hand. The verse reminds her that "blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."

The Skippers settled for second in the 4x400 at the state meet. Olivia Muehlstedt ran in place of Kuku as the leadoff runner.

Roseville's Mechura adds distance sweep to résumé

6:47 p.m.

Roseville junior Robert Mechura swept the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races to further his case for a position among Minnesota distance-running royalty.

"He practices with the idea of running certain splits," Raiders coach Brian Bailey said of Mechura, who also won the state cross-country title last fall. "If Robert continues to accomplish his plans, when he graduates next year, he'll be talked about as the greatest high school distance runner in state history."

Lakeville North senior Chase Altergott is already convinced. Altergott ran the second leg of the Panthers' state champion 4x800 relay. He also qualified to compete against Mechura in the 1,600.

"Going into the 1,600, I treated it as icing on the cake — I forgot I was even racing," Altergott said. "When Robert was running, I was like, 'Wow, just look at him go.' "

Altergott admires Mechura's humility and positivity.

"He doesn't need to talk trash," Altergott said. "His running does the talking for him."

Minnetonka's Kohler, still a winner, is a leader now, too

5:45 p.m.

Minnetonka senior Claire Kohler won the 100-meter hurdles last year, and she did it again this year, running a time of 13.86 seconds Saturday — the best time in Minnesota this spring, according to Wayzata Results. But there was a difference between last year and this year — not her place in the standings but her place on her team.

The Minnetonka track and field team is led by captains who are seniors, so this year University of Iowa commit Kohler gets to captain her team at state as well.

"It's been super fun," Kohler said. "It's definitely a good leadership role to have to help my teammates and everyone overcome. Track is very much not an individual sport. It's been fun to cheer people on."

Kohler pointed to Minnetonka alum Kate LeBlanc and Lucy Hiller as past Minnetonka captains who "no matter what, how good or bad they're doing, they're always cheering you on. I hope to be that for my teammates."

That cheering has to come in between Kohler's busy meet schedule, which she had written on her hand. She also was preparing to compete in the 300 hurdles and the long jump.

"Her work ethic is fabulous," Minnetonka coach Jane Reimer-Morgan told the Star Tribune earlier this season. "She is a team player and extremely competitive."

In the boys 4x800 relay, junior Darby Griffin ran an anchor leg of 1:56 to take the lead for Lakeville North. Griffin and teammates Eli Olson, Chase Altergott and Landon Nerison finished in 7:54.27. Eden Prairie, which led most of the race, finished second at 7:55.71. Osseo placed third in 7:56.64.

Wayzata ran away with the girls 4x800 state title, leading from the first baton handoff. Jazleen Malherek-Osorio, Addison Neitz, Alyson Kleyman and Julia Link pushed Wayzata to a 9:11.93 finish, with Minnetonka close behind at 9:13.22 and Lakeville South at 9:15.45.

Alexandria girls, Fridley boys win 2A team titles

2:46 p.m.

In the Class 2A girls team competition, Alexandria finished first with 79 points, Monticello second with 68.5 and Providence Academy third with 62.

On the boys side, Fridley took first with 59 points, Mankato East placed second with 57 and Rockford third with 47.

Fridley sophomore contributes mightily

2:32 p.m.

Sophomore Lorenzo Hampton III played a big role in getting the Fridley Tigers to their first-place finish. As the only sophomore in the event, the 300 hurdles state champion set a class state record time of 37.66 seconds. According to Wayzata Results, that's the best time in Minnesota this season.

Hampton also placed seventh in the 110 hurdles and fourth with the 4x100 meter relay team.

At last year's state meet, as a freshman, Hampton fell coming off the curve during prelims. He said he was "devastated," but he knew he would be back.

"It was scary," Hampton said. "I was in my head, all throughout the whole race, from the start."

Trouble is, Hampton said the key to a good 300 hurdles race is to not be in his head as approaches the start line. He's worked on it since joining the varsity as an eighth-grader.

"Just breathe," Hampton said. "I say stay off your phone as much, read books — that helped a lot. Reading in general, it just really calms you down."

He said he only recently got back into reading, and his current read is "Atomic Habits" by James Clear.

In addition to Hampton, Fridley seniors Fadel Johnson and Isaiah Watson were notable scorers. Johnson placed first in the boys triple jump with a distance of 47 feet, 3.25 inches and third in the long jump. Watson was third in triple jump and second in long jump.

Hohenecker sweeps 100, 200, 400

2:14 p.m.

Providence Academy senior Brooke Hohenecker swept the Class 2A sprints, heading home with first-place medals from the 100, 200 and 400.

Last week, Hohenecker found an old journal in which, when she was younger, she had written the goal to win three track events at state by the end of high school. To fulfill that felt "unreal," she said.

In her final race, the 200, Hohenecker edged past Monticello senior Emelia Skistad by one-hundredth of a second, the pair running 24.52 and 24.53 in a photo finish. Senior Kendra Mehrkens of Thief River Falls was just behind them at 24.88.

Results didn't pop up on the scoreboard almost instantly as with the other events; the finish had to be reviewed.

"My mentality was just go out there and leave it all out there. It's my last race of high school," Hohenecker said. She said she thought, as she waited for the 200 result with the other top finishers, " 'If I win, that would be amazing' … but also I would have been super happy for Emelia because she's an amazing runner."

A 'victory lap' for hurting champion

1:35 p.m.

Saturday was a day of mixed emotions for St. Peter senior Corbin Herron. "A very weird day," he described it.

In the morning, Herron broke his own class record in the 110-meter hurdles — set Friday in prelims — on the way to his third state title in the event, with a time of 14.10 seconds.

Then, while running the third leg of St. Peter's 4x200 relay, Herron tore his right hamstring. The day — and his high school track career — could have been over.

But Herron had one more race to run. With his upper leg wrapped, he gingerly ran what he called his "victory lap" in the 300 hurdles. He had been seeded second, and while he finished behind the other hurdlers, he received a large cheer from the crowd and onlooking athletes.

"As soon as I crossed that finish line, tears of joy went rolling down my face. Just sobbing," Herron said. "To not run it and have had my last high school race ever, that's the last time that I'll ever do that. [It was] a victory lap, I guess."

He ended the "weird day" feeling appreciative for his track and field memories.

"If you had asked me sophomore year, I would say [winning a state title] would have been up there, but as this is the last day, I cherish the memories I have with these people more," he said.

Other 2A finals highlights

1:31 p.m.

In other sprints, Hutchinson senior Parker Peterson ran 21.68 for a class record in the 200. Mound Westonka senior Jack Markstrom set a class record of 47.28 in the 400.

Devin Filzen of Winona added to his field event titles with a boys 200 wheelchair first-place medal.

Nelson Remington, a Fairmont junior, won the boys 100, 400 and 800 wheelchair races. Adaylia Borgmeier swept the girls wheelchair sprints, the 100, 200 and 400.

DeLaSalle broke a class state record in the girls 4x100 relay, running 48.24. Pequot Lakes took down another class relay record in the girls 4x400, finishing in 3:58.17.

Providence Academy sophomore Maddyn Greenway, better known for her basketball skills as a 3,000-point scorer, won the girls 300 hurdles in 43.94. Hutchinson senior Parker Peterson broke the 200 class state record, finishing in 21.68.

Stewartville high jumper closes a gap

1:01 p.m.

It wasn't a rarity to hear state champions announced as back-to-back title holders on Friday — or even back-to-back-to-back title holders. But less common was hearing of an athlete winning a title, then another title two years later, with a year in between.

Stewartville senior Carter Anderson fits into that latter scenario. Anderson felt unwell during last year's state meet. He placed second in triple jump but said that took most of his energy. He placed seventh in high jump.

This year, he was back on top of the high jump podium with a meet record of 6 feet, 7 inches, improving on his previous meet record of 6-6.

But a highlight of this year's meet for Anderson was the team that accompanied him. He said Stewartville had brought only a couple of state qualifiers in previous years, but this year they had "11 or 12."

"We brought in a big team. We actually got to bring up a bus this year, too," Anderson said. "It's a lot of fun."

In other field events, Pequot Lakes senior Amelia Davis threw 41 feet, 10.25 inches to win the girls shot put and improve on last year's third-place finish. Josiah Zilmer, a Rockford senior, won the boys discus throw with a distance of 170 feet, 10 inches. After winning the boys wheelchair shot put Friday, Winona sophomore Devin Filzen also took home the state title in boys wheelchair discus, throwing 41-4.

Grazina Troup, a junior from Minnehaha Academy, set a triple jump class state record at 38-5.25. In long jump, Becker junior Carter Reckelberg jumped 23-0.75 to place first.

Champs keep emerging, records keep falling

11:13 a.m.

This morning, state champions are being crowned at a pace about as fast as the runners are.

In the boys 1,600, Big Lake senior Owen Layton ran a personal best of 4:13.54 to win the state title. According to Wayzata Results, 10 of the top 11 boys runners ran personal bests in the race.

Mound-Westonka took the boys 4x200 in 1:27.71, and in the girls race Monticello ran a class record and Minnesota season best 1:39.43 to take first.

Like girls 100 wheelchair winner Borgmeier, boys 100 wheelchair champion Nelson Remington, a junior from Fairmont, recorded a class record, 16.83 seconds.

Red Wing senior Thomas Lakin took first in the boys 100, and Brooke Hohenecker set a class record of 12.07 in the girls 100.

The girls 100 hurdles and boys 110 hurdles winners both set class records. Simley junior Naomi Moore went 14.49 in the 100 hurdles, followed by St. Peter senior Corbin Herron's 14.10 performance in the 110. Herron broke the record he set Friday.

Hutchinson's Schmitz wins again

10:56 a.m.

State cross-country title? Check. 3,200-meter title? Check. And now, 1,600-meter title. Check. Few girls long-distance runners can keep pace with Hutchinson senior Isabelle Schmitz. Friday's 3,200 champion broke another class state record with a 1,600 time of 4:49.96

Pequot Lakes senior Calia Chaney placed second in 4:52.70. The 3,200 runner-up, Isabel Mahoney of Monticello, finished third in 4:58.85.

Wheelchair record-setter is making travel plans

10:49 a.m.

Mankato East freshman Adaylia Borgmeier has a busy summer ahead of her.

After recording a 19.17-second time at the Class 2A track and field championships, the state champion in the girls 100-meter wheelchair race — and the state record holder — will next head to the Hartford Nationals adaptive sports competition in Alabama and the Paralympic trials in Florida, both in July.

Borgmeier said she's satisfied whether at a state championship meet or competing across the globe.

"I'm grateful for all of [the competitions]," Borgmeier said. "I'm just as grateful anywhere I'm at."

Borgmeier has racked up medals at meets in such places as Thailand and Portugal and also competed in sled hockey and skiing. After surgery to insert a rod into her back to correct scoliosis, Borgmeier was unable to compete for three months. She returned to the track a month ago, and she was glad to be able to break her record again.

But her best-ever times were in Thailand in December, before her surgery. "I still don't have all my restrictions off," Borgmeier said. "I can't twist and move my back. I can only bend forward."

She's excited to chase her personal records next, and to show a home crowd what she's shown overseas.

"I really want to get those times as my records here," Borgmeier said. "If I can't do good here, I can't do good there. So I mean, I've got to give it my all in any place I'm at."

Mankato East 4x800 relays sweep

10:15 a.m.

For the first two legs of the Class 2A girls 4x800 meter relay, it seemed like Marshall might defend its state title successfully, or fourth-seeded Alexandria might surge ahead and claim first. But, headed into the sixth of eight laps, top seed Mankato East's senior Madison Wolle closed the gap between third and the leaders. By the time the baton was in the hand of anchor leg Lauren Henkels, Mankato East had a state title in sight.

Henkels is also the top seed headed into the girls 800 later, and it showed. She pulled ahead and sealed a time of 9 minutes, 14.93 seconds — a class state record — for the team of her, Wolle, Hayden Henning and Andy Lurken.

"We definitely know how to run each of our legs," Wolle said. "We know that it doesn't all happen at once and that we do what we need to for our leg and run smart, just to get to where we need to be at the end."

Marshall placed second and Alexandria third, both surpassing the prior state record as well.

The Mankato East boys completed a sweep of the 4x800 titles. East's team of Evan MacLean, Jackson Henkels, Dayton Clobes and Luke Scholtes ran a dominant race. Anchor Scholtes led by more than 50 meters heading into the final turn, and the team finished with a time of 7:54.17.

The girls and boys Mankato East 4x800 relay teams get good coaching— "Our coaches definitely make everything," Lauren Henkels said— and they have some sibling firepower in the Henkels. Wolle's brother was an alternate for the boys team.

Orono took second and Marshall third in the boys 4x800.

In the first field event to wrap up, Big Lake's Tayla Gassmann set a class record in the girls wheelchair shot put, throwing 20 feet, .75 inches. Gassmann also won Friday's girls wheelchair discus.

The sun's shining. Time to win medals

8:56 a.m.

It's a beautiful Saturday morning to crown some (more) track and field state champions at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Half of the Class 2A field events and both 3,200-meter races have found their winners, but the rest of the field events and the shorter races are still up for grabs.

We'll get started this morning with the finals for Class 2A, which ran its preliminaries Friday morning. We saw class record after class record fall in prelims Friday.

Class 3A competes in finals Saturday afternoon.

The morning rain has cleared, clouds are scarce and the first race is just minutes away.


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