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Class 2A Track and Field: Spieker nips Henke in state 300 hurdles final

Brainerd's Zach Henke clears a hurdle during the 300 hurdles final in the Class 2A state meet at Hamline University. Bill Johnson Picture Day Pro

ST. PAUL—Jeff Spieker and Zach Henke have hurdled neck and neck in almost every race this season.

Appropriately that's the way they finished the season in the Class 2A state meet at Hamline University Saturday, June 9. Spieker placed fifth on a wet track at 39.33 with Henke right behind him in sixth at 39.48.

Spieker, the Section 8-2A runner-up, moved up from ninth place in Friday's prelims during which he was clocked at 39.60.

"It's not the best race I've ever had," Spieker said, "but I think the weather was (the reason) for that and it's the end of the season. I'm just glad to finish up on the podium."

Henke, the section champion, was third in Friday's prelims at 39.19.

"I was hoping to get a little bit better time," Henke said. "I ran a better time in prelims than finals and I think that's because of the weather.

"I'm just really happy to be here as a junior. I think six of the nine (finalists) were seniors. I'm pretty excited to make it to finals this year. I ran a clean race."

Spieker, who will compete at the University of North Dakota next year, finished 16th at state last year. He appreciated the opportunity to compete against Henke all season.

"We were always back and forth," Spieker said. "It was just great. We pushed each other."

Henke thought Spieker pushed him to be the best he could be.

"I think, coming in in the beginning of the season, Jeff was a little bit faster," Henke said. "That really helped me pick up my times. He helped me run a lot better toward the end of the season, which I was really thankful for."

In girls pole vault, Brainerd's Cami Harmer cleared 10 feet but missed three times at 10-6 and ended her career with a 13th-place finish, matching her 2017 state finish.

"I'm really happy I made 10 (feet)," Harmer said. "It was my second attempt. I'm just glad I made a height. I got in the game. Obviously I didn't PR, I didn't match my (personal record) at all. But I'm so happy to be here and end my high school career on a pretty good note."

Harmer, who plans to attend Minnesota-Duluth in the fall and pole vault for the Bulldogs, is only the second Warrior female state pole vault qualifier. Samantha Smith, in 2009, was the Warriors' first and she finished third.

During her career, Harmer appeared in five state meets—the other three were in diving. This spring, she was section pole vault champion at 10-6.

In boys high jump, Brainerd sophomore Connor Powers did not place as he failed to clear 5-10. He was the section runner-up at 6-0.

"He's a young kid on the block," Warrior boys head coach Rod Reuer said. "For him, it's just the experience of getting here. He had a pressure jump at sections to earn a spot. He earned his way here.

"Like most first-timers, especially sophomores, it can be a little intimidating. He did have it cleared on his third attempt and nicked it with his heels. He's happy about (getting to state). He said next year we're going to go for it again."

Class 2A Finals

Saturday, June 9

Boys Results:

High jump: 1-Maguire Petersen (Hutchinson) 6-8, NH-Connor Powers (Brd)

300 hurdles: 1-Joel Smith (Mounds View) 38.05, 5-Jeff Spieker (Brd) 39.33, 6-Zach Henke (Brd) 39.48

Girls Results:

Pole vault: 1-Julia Fixen (Mounds View) 13-9.25, 13-Cami Harmer (Brd) 10-0