Area tracksters qualify for Elite Meet

ST. PAUL – Martin County West junior sprinter Haley Jensen will be the first of 11 individual track and field standouts from southern Minnesota to line up in the starting blocks during Friday’s Hamline Elite Meet in St. Paul.

Jensen, the 2013 Class A silver medalist in the 100-meter dash, will step to the tarred surface at Klas Stadium in the meet’s second race – the 5:37 p.m. girls’ open 100 preliminaries.

If Jensen advances, the fleet-footed Maverick will match strides with the state’s best sprinters in the 100-meter finals at 6:35 p.m.

Meanwhile, Fairmont junior Evan Ward will compete in the 110-meter hurdles in between Jensen’s sprinting sessions. Ward will look to clear the high hurdles starting at 6:13 p.m. Friday.

Waseca junior Shane Streich, the 2013 Class A 1,600-meter state gold medalist, will compete in the first of his two Elite Meet races in the 6:57 p.m. mile run.

Streich, who earned runner-up state accolades in the 800-meter run a year ago, also will compete in the half-mile race at 7:59 p.m. Friday.

Martin County West sophomore Morgan Larson, who captured a bronze medal in the 800 during the 2013 Class A state competition, will follow Streich to the track in the girls’ half-mile run at 8:04 p.m.

Prior to Larson and Streich competing in the open 800, Blue Earth Area sophomore Taylor Grandgenett, the 2013 Class A 300-meter hurdles state champion, will put her hurdling skills to the test in her specialty at 7:51 p.m.

Grandgenett then will join forces with Buc teammates Anne Franta, Shayna Stevermer and Karli Olsen during the final race on the tarred surface – the 4×400-meter relay at 9 p.m.

But Grandgenett and her baton-exchanging teammates will not be the only Blue Earth Area qualifier at Hamline as Buc junior Nick Shure will compete in the long jump at 7 p.m. Friday night.

St. Clair senior thrower Katelyn Weber will compete in the shot and discus at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively. Weber struck gold in the shot and silver in the discus during last spring’s Class A state meet.

Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet sophomore Alayna Theissen will join Weber in the Elite Meet’s discus competition, while St. Clair seniors Ryan Kruse and Erik Peters will vie for top field honors in the boys’ division.

Kruse, who placed fifth in the 2013 Class A state meet’s discus competition, will duel with Waseca junior Tyler Kolander in their specialty at 5:30 p.m. Friday, while Peters will take to the pole vault pits at the same time in St. Paul.

Ward, Jensen, Larson, Grandgenett, Shure, Weber, Kruse, Peters and Theissen all will compete in the 59th Sentinel Relays on Friday, May 2, at Cardinal Track in Fairmont.