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Class 1A Track and Field: Area-filled finals expected at state

State track and field What: Class 1A state track and field meet Who: Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pine River-Backus, Staples-Motley, Wadena-Deer Creek When: Friday, June 5, Saturday, June 6 Where: Hamline Universit...

Millie Klefsaas
Millie Klefsaas

State track and field

What: Class 1A state track and field meet

Who: Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale, Crosby-Ironton, Pequot Lakes, Pierz, Pine River-Backus, Staples-Motley, Wadena-Deer Creek

When: Friday, June 5, Saturday, June 6

Where: Hamline University, St. Paul

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With eight area athletes or relays seeded in the top nine, it could be a heavy medal weekend at the Class 1A state track and field meet.

But seedings don't mean much come Friday and Saturday.

For instance, Staples-Motley's Millie Klefsaas is seeded 12th in the 100-meter hurdles, but Cardinals' head coach Marly Simmons doesn't believe that's a fair assessment of how she ranks. He has a similar feeling for his 400 dash phenom Zack Hofmann, who is seeded 10th.

"I would say Zack is as strong as he's ever been," said Simmons. "Down the stretch, the past couple of meets he's really shown a lot of improvement in each race, even if the times don't reflect that.

"For Millie, seed times don't mean much, especially in the 100 hurdles because there was a stiff headwind we were running into during our section meet. I'm expecting good things out of her, in both hurdle races. I would say both her and Zach have good chances of making the finals."

Pierz's Robbie Skiba is seeded fourth in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 110 hurdles and will also anchor the Pioneers' 4x200 relay. Last year, Skiba barely missed Saturday's finals in the 400 dash by finishing 10th in the preliminary round. Pierz head coach Craig Johnshoy doesn't expect that to happen again.

"I think he should make the finals on Saturday and hopefully, with his times coming in, he could go from winning the thing to finishing sixth or seventh," said Johnshoy. "No one, even at sections, no one has pushed him. His goal is to break the school record and he'll do that. He's going to be up against good competition."

While Johnshoy expects Skiba to have a successful Saturday, he doesn't quite know what to expect from his high jumper Chelsie Kurtz. Just in her second year of jumping, Kurtz is seeded third with a 5-foot-3 effort in the Section 5-1A meet.

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"She is a freshman who is just kind of learning this whole thing," Johnshoy said. "This is her second year doing it and last year she reached 4-9. So she has increased to 5-3 and she was steadily getting 5-1 and 5-3 all year long.

"At the section meet she almost had 5-5. If she could do that at state, who knows? It's so finicky. The kids that are seeded one or two might have an off day and that could leave room for her to move up."

Wadena-Deer Creek's Autumn Jahnke is tied for the top seed in the pole vault with her 10-2.

Megan Porta will compete in the shot put, but the Pine River-Backus senior has been focused on discus, in which she is seeded second.

"She is going in with a pretty high seed in discus and she wants to be on that podium," said PR-B head coach Tom Demars. "If we can get a good throw in, we'll be near the top. It's just a matter of getting off a good throw. Discus has been her best event and we focused a little bit more on it in practice this week.

"For shot put she's one of the lowest seeds and she's only been throwing it for a year and a half. Discus is her strength."

The Pequot Lakes Patriots' 4x100 relay is back to defend its state title, however, only sophomore Chloe Bermel is back. She'll anchor the foursome of Brittny Bzdok, Mirjana Ganley and Grace McGuire, which owns the second-fastest time.

"My hope for the 4x1 is to repeat as state champions, but the stars have to align just right," said Pequot Lakes head coach Jana Lueck. "I also hope they can break the school record. We were very close at sections. We have a bunch of young girls so that would be quite a boost for them.

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"My feeling with the 4x4 is we'll have the girls with fresher legs going into it - Brittny won't be long jumping. Grace won't have the open 400. I'm looking for them to have a faster time and compete with Long Prairie.

"I'd like to see all my relays get go the finals on Saturday and then giving it our all and hopefully getting our best times of the season. To me that is a culmination of what a great season we've had and how much better we can be."

Pequot's 4x4 features Bzdok, McGuire, Olivia Lane and Bermel and is seeded fourth. Pequot's 4x8 is seeded third and features Jannah Hall, Kristin Skog, Catie Ryan and Lane.

Lane is also seeded second in the 800 run. Lueck said she's worried about Lane's heavy workload, but the eighth-grader keeps proving her wrong.

"As a coaching staff, we have talked a lot about how much an eighth-grader can handle and what she is capable of and how she can handle all of that," Lueck said. "We've told her to just take one race at a time and she is such a competitor. I never realized that until the last three meets. I've tried to communicate with her to let me know if she's capable of doing all this. It's a lot, but she has shown us she is capable.

"I'm not sure any of us are sure how far Olivia Lane can go. She's still figuring it out herself. As she's going, she's breaking records and expectations. She wasn't even on the varsity last year. She came into this season just ready."

Class 1A boys seedings

110 hurdles: 1-Jon Tollefson (St. Croix Lutheran) 14.28, 6-Robbie Skiba (Pierz) 15.35, 15-Brody Wangsness (Wadena-Deer Creek) 17.16

300 hurdles: 1-Tollefson (SCL) 38.42, 4-Skiba (Prz) 40.00

400 dash: 1-John Schuster (United South Central) 48.91, 10-Zack Hofmann (Staples-Motley) 51.21

4x100 relay: 1-Plainview-Elgin-Millville 43.63, 11-Staples-Motley (Matt Miller, Tyler Johnson, Hunter Berggren, Zack Hofmann) 45.08

4x200 relay: 1-Pine Island 1:30.65, 11-Pierz (Jonathan Kasper, Jordan Boser, Derick Hall, Skiba) 1:33.35

4x400 relay: 1-Plainview-Elgin-Millville 3:26.18, 7-Pequot Lakes 3:30.07

Shot put: 1-Nathan Brinker (Holdingford) 52-7.5, 10-Sutton Lohmiller (Wadena-Deer Creek) 49-0

Discus: 1-Shane Curtis (Stewartville) 168.7, 11-Samuel Moore (Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale) 147-4

Long jump: 1-Chazz Johnson (Holy Family Catholic) 22-11.5, 19-Ben Nelson (Pequot Lakes) 19-9

Triple jump: 1-Noah Carlson (Rushford-Peterson) 47-8, 13-Reid Pierzinski (Pequot Lakes) 41-8

Class 1A girls seedings

100 hurdles: 1-Erin Brown (Holy Family Catholic) 15.27, 12-Millie Klefsaas (Staples-Motley) 16.32

300 hurdles: 1-Kristi Frederick (Tri-City United) 46.34, 16-Klefsaas (SM) 50.14

100 dash: 1-Morgan Shindelar (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) 12.60, 15-Chloe Bermel (Pequot Lakes) 13.61, 16-Brittny Bzdok (Pequot Lakes) 13.62

800 run: 1-Kayla Huhnerkoch (Redwood Valley) 2:17.05, 2-Olivia Lane (Pequot Lakes) 2:18.45

4x100 relay: 1-Chatfield 49.88, 2-Pequot Lakes (Bzdok, Mirjana Ganley, Grace McGuire, Bermel 49.99

4x400 relay: 1-Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Browerville 4:01.94, 4-Pequot Lakes (Bzdok, McGuire, Olivia Lane, Bermel) 4:04.09

4x800 relay: 1-Belle Plaine 9:35.80, 3-Pequot Lakes (Jannah Hall, Kristin Skog, Catie Ryan, Lane) 9:46.91

Shot put: 1-Maddie Lindhart (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) 42-0, 16-Megan Porta (Pine River-Backus) 34-9.5

Discus: 1-Alayna Theissen (Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial/Nicollet 132-10, 2-Megan Porta (Pine River-Backus) 127-0 12-Raychel Virnig (Pierz) 109-5, 15-Abby Gindorff (Crosby-Ironton) 104-10

Triple jump: 1-Clara Paul (Concordia Academy) 37-3.5, 11-Alyson Daigneault (Wadena-Deer Creek) 34-11

High jump: 1-Stephanie Koetter (Upsala/Swanville) 5-7, 3-Chelsie Kurtz (Pierz) 5-3

Pole vault: 1-Samantha Petry (Waterville-Elysian-Morristown) 10-2, 1-Autumn Jahnke (Wadena-Deer Creek) 10-2

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop .

Robbie Skiba
Robbie Skiba

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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