Area relays amass state medals

ST. PAUL – “There are no guarantees in track and field, no matter how good you are or what your time is,” said Blue Earth Area head coach Tom Plocker.

During Day 2 of the Class A state meet, there were examples of exceeding, meeting and just missing expectations on Saturday at Klas Stadium on the Hamline University campus.

Martin County West’s girls 4×100-meter relay team raced to a second-place finish with a time of 50.32 seconds.

Taryn Tumbleson, Cora Olson, Hailey Leiding and Haley Jensen raced past the favorite – Minneapolis Edison, who missed a handoff, to finish in second place.

“I thought that coming into the season, that race we had lost two seniors and needed to find people that would work well,” said Martin County West head coach Curtis Smith. “They really believed in themselves coming into this meet and into the second day, and everything was just clicking. I’m not sure what happened with Edison, but it gave us a chance to get second and that’s great.”

Blue Earth Area’s top-seeded 4×400 relay team also came away with a silver medal for the third straight year in one of the final races of the season.

“That was the third straight time we have come in second behind Osakis in three years,” said Plocker. “So you’d like to win and get the championship, but when you run for a new school record and each girl had their best time of the season, you can’t ask for more than their best effort.”

Taylor Grangenett led off the record-setting time of 3:58.96 and was followed by Anne Franta, Shayna Stevermer and Karli Olsen.

Fairmont’s 4×200 relay claimed a bronze medal with its time of 1:31.97.

Peter Erickson, Zach Brown, Thomas Willett and Josh Eversman combined for the third-place time behind Rochester Lourdes (1:30.03) and Rockford (1:31.77).

The boys on the Martin County West 4×800 relay team had never competed at the state meet in their careers.

On Saturday, Nick Holm, Jonah Mayo, Matthew Viesselman and Dylan Brockman raced into Maverick history with a third-place finish in the race.

The quartet had broken the Martin County West school record in the 4×800 with their state-qualifying time in the Section 2A Meet. The Mavericks then saved their best race for last, resetting the record in 8:09.44 for third.

“We were one of the lowest seeds in our section of the race,” said Smith. “I think the guys knew that and used it for motivation. But they ran a great race, they knew that they could do it and kept getting faster each race. And for them to have Stannetta Svoboda to help prepare them, since they hadn’t been at the state meet before, was priceless.”

Fairmont junior Sierra Schultz improved upon her finish at last year’s state meet and earned a bronze medal in the 100-meter hurdles.

“I was so impressed because second and seventh place was only separated by seven hundredths of a second,” said Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk. “Sierra started the race well, but to finish strong in a race that close and to get third was really exciting.”

After the Cardinals’ 4×100 relay set the school record on Friday with its time of 44.13 seconds in the preliminaries, Fairmont raced to a fourth-place finish in the finals.

Erickson, Brown, Brian Wilde and Eversman traded the baton for a time of 44.46 seconds.

“I was very pleased overall with the way that we handled the baton in all of our relays in the meet,” said Bonk. “They practice that and they make it look easy, but for each of those races it is tough. And the 4×100 guys wanted to keep getting better and faster, but I think the difference was the weather.”

Brown then teamed with Evan Ward, Nate Subbert and Willett for a seventh-place time of 3:29.96 in the 4×400.

“I thought that overall, our kids competed very well, and for all 12 of our competitors to come home with at least one medal was great,” said Bonk.

Eversman, who finished with medals in all four of his events, captured his final one of the meet with an eighth-place finish in the long jump.

Eversman jumped 21 feet, 6.25 inches in the finals to earn eighth-place honors.

The Fairmont girls’ 4×800 also earned an eighth-place finish. Sasha Riley, Sarah Ostlie, Molly Hawkins and Jenna Pavich raced to a time of 9:52.55.

“A month ago, our girls 4×800 relay team wasn’t even on the radar, but they came on strong these last two weeks and to finish eighth was great,” said Bonk.

Grandgenett missed out on the chance to defend her title in the 300 hurdles.

The Buc sophomore held the lead with 100 meters left, but after hitting a hurdle, finished ninth in 48.07 seconds.

“In the prelims, Taylor set a new school record for us in the 300 hurdles, but it just wasn’t her day,” said Plocker. “The really great thing about these kids and their character is that they keep competing and give their best effort every race.”

Schultz was unable to reach the podium in her final event of the meet, finishing 15th in the triple jump with a leap of 32-7.75.

The Bucs’ 4×200 relay team (Skylee Bell, Miranda Johnson, Stevermer and Franta) also had a disappointment, being disqualified for a handoff outside the zone.

“That is one of those things. It was a tough day for our crew, but it teaches and shows them how to face adversity,” said Plocker. “And two of the 4×200 girls (Franta and Stevermer) and Taylor came back to run in the 4×400. And they ran for a school record, so I’m proud of how they responded.”

NOTES: Josh Eversman and Sierra Schultz were named most valuable and top point scorers for the season during the Fairmont track and field team banquet last week.

Thomas Willett and Emily Haugen were named rookies of the year, while Zach Brown and Talitha Burtis were the outstanding field event performers.

Sasha Riley and Evan Ward took home outstanding track event performer honors, while Briana Gratz and Josh Sundblad were awarded the coaches’ great attitude award.

The captains’ great teammate award was given to Nate Subbert and Sarah Bartz.