Track and field: Willmar senior sets another record

Jun. 9—ST. MICHAEL — Lyndi Koosman has been in competition with herself for much of this season.

The Willmar senior track and field standout broke the school's record in the girls' triple jump by a half-inch at 36 feet, 1.5 inches on April 9. The previous mark of 36-1 was set by Anne Habbena in 1997. Koosman went on to beat her new mark two more times before the Class AA State Track and Field Championships.

Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School, Koosman ended her high-school career with another record jump. She placed third with a new school record of 37-6.

"My goal was to get into the 37s again and I did that," Koosman said. Her previous best was 37-5 at the Section 6AA True Team championship on May 7. "I'm very glad I did that."

She made the finals after a jump of 36-0.5 in the prelims. It was her second jump in the finals that put her in the top three.

"I knew I had a 36 jump in me, which is decent," Koosman said. "Just making that extra foot-and a-half really helped."

Minnehaha Academy's Grazina Troup won the girls' triple jump with a Class AA record 38-5.25. Simley's Ayisat Adebayo was second at 38-4.5.

"Breaking the school record three times is pretty incredible," Willmar head coach Connor Haugen said of Koosman's triple jump.

Koosman finished Saturday as a two-time medalist. She also tied for seventh in the pole vault after clearing 10-6. Milaca's Taylar Bockoven won after clearing 12-0.

She came in with a seed height of 11-1. When the bar was raised to 11 feet, Koosman got over the bar twice but tapped it on the way down. A chorus of groans came from the crowd on each attempt knowing how close Koosman was to advancing.

"I just needed my stands a little forward," Koosman said.

Haugen added, "She had an awesome season in the pole vault."

Koosman will continue her track and field career in college at the University of Sioux Falls.

When coaching Lauren Eilers in the distance running events, Haugen knows to build up to the end.

"I've been telling her for a while that any of her distance races, for the two-mile, it's a seven-lap race." Haugen said. "For the mile, it's a three-lap race."

The reason for that? Eilers knows she has one more gear left to get over the top.

"She just needs to get to that last lap with a little bit of reserves left and I know she'll finish hard," Haugen said.

That showed up a big way in the girls' 1,600-meter run finals.

Eilers finished fifth at 5 minutes, 3.41 seconds.

"I knew it was going to be a tight pack," Eilers said. "I was just going with everybody else and that'd lead me into a good time. I knew I'd have a good kick at the end."

Hutchinson's Isabelle Schmitz set a Class AA record with her winning time of 4:49.96.

Sitting in eighth place through three laps, Eilers saved her best split for the penultimate lap at 1:10.87.

"Knowing from yesterday (in the 3,200 on Friday) how much I had in me, I just had to go," Eilers said. "This is a shorter race so I knew I'd have more.'

Her fifth-place time is a Willmar school record. The previous mark was 5:05.03 by Jessa Hanson in 2017.

"The whole season, I've been thinking I have to do it before the end of the year," Eilers said of breaking the record. "Section and state was going to be the time to do that with the high intensity of the other people. That could push me to my goal."

Eilers wrapped up state with a pair of medals. She took seventh in the 3,200 on Friday at 11:05.82.

Sully Anez left a piece of himself on the STMA track in the boys' 1,600 race.

The pack was tight and left little room to maneuver. Anez's left ankle bore the brunt of that after getting spiked midway through the race.

"I didn't really feel it," Anez said. "It doesn't hurt that bad. It's a battle wound."

Anez had some dried blood to clean up, but he had a medal around his neck to show for it. The Cardinals junior claimed sixth after a personal record of 4:18.92.

"Another lifetime PR," Anez said. "I was hoping for a higher place, but overall, it was a good meet."

It was Anez's second medal at state after placing fifth in the 3,200 at 9:19.26 on Friday.

From the onset of Saturday's race, Anez was battling. Instead of getting into his stride, he was jostling for position in hopes of finding the slightest bit of wiggle room.

"I was expecting it to be a little bit more spread out," Anez said. "The whole race, everyone was battling back and forth."

Anez's third lap was his best, rounding the track in 1:03.71.

"Fighting tooth and nail for every step in that mile race is just incredible," Haugen said.

Big Lake's Owen Layton was the boys' 1,600 champ with a time of 4:13.53.