Pequot Lakes' Desera Engholm and Pierz's Matthias Algarin will each have a target on their back when the Class 2A State Meet kicks off 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, at Hamline University.
Engholm is seeded No. 1 in both the discus and shot put. Algarin owns the top spot in both the long jump and triple jump. The two will deal with the pressure on both days of the state meet. The girls discus final is Friday, while the shot put final is Saturday, June 8.
Algarin will battle for the triple jump championship Friday and the long jump title on Saturday. The Pioneers senior will also be competing in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
Algarin's Section 5-1A winning distance of 45-8.75 has the field cleared by almost a foot. Preston Dahlen of International School of Minnesota is next with a 44-9.
"Friday night he triple jumps and I think that is going to set the tone for him," Pierz head coach Craig Johnshoy said. "If he gets that jump in I think his long jumps and his sprints just seem to go a lot better.
"He's gotten a lot stronger. He's been in the weight room the whole year. I just think he's gotten stronger and faster and the strength in his legs have really helped with his jump."
In the 100 dash, Caledonia's Jack Beardmore posted a 10.94 for the top seed. Pillager's Tucker Peterson is fourth at 11.14. Algarin is eighth with his 11.21.
In the 200 dash, Peterson is fourth with a 22.64 and Algarin is fifth with a 22.76. The top time is by Providence Academy's Max Peckenschneider and his 22.07.
"What's nice is, Matthias is in the second flight of triple jumpers so he'll get his steps down and then he'll have his 100 prelim," Johnshoy said. "After that the second flight should be going and so he'll have his three prelim jumps and then three more in the finals. By the time he's done with that he'll have the 200 prelims.
"Then of course he doesn't long jump until Saturday."
Engholm holds the top discus distance with her Section 6-1A winning 130-02. Elizabeth Pahl of Osakis is second at 127-10 and then it drops off from there. Engholm was fourth last season with a 124-11. Pahl was fifth.
"It's so nice that's she has been there before," Pequot girls head coach Jaime Wagner said. "She knows what to expect. It's routine as much as a big meet can be routine. Her goal is to win a state championship. She's seeded first in both of her events so it's a realistic possibility, but you have to show up. Just because you're seeded first doesn't mean you're going to go out and have that type of performance. One thing that she's shown us is she is more than capable of showing in these types of stages. I'm really excited for her. I think she's earned all the potential for success she has right now. Being a state place winner twice last year and this being her fourth or fifth year in state now, she exemplifies what it means to be a Patriot and what we want out of kids and our track program."
Other finals on Friday include Staples-Motley's two state entrants with Kyanna Burton, the field's only seventh grader, and sophomore Emmet Anderson in the 3200 run.
The top girls time is owned by Cotter's Lauren Ping with her 10:32.04. Burton ran a 12:20.70 in the Section 6-1A meet.
Anderson ran a 9:49.61 in the section meet. The top time is from Anderson's cross-country rival Geno Uhrbom of Greenway at 9:40.87.
Wadena-Deer Crek's Mikaela Malone is seeded fifth in the girls long jump with her 17-5.5 and Pillager's Jordyn VanVickle is 10th with a 17-foot effort.
Robbie Grace of Blake owns the top distance at 19-3.5.
Crosby-Ironton's Kathryn Ireland is seeded third in the girls high jump with her 5-3. The top height is 5-4 from Maple River's Madi Schirmer and Medford's Rachael Luebbe.
The W-DC boys will have a pair of athletes competing in finals Friday. Cooper Folkestad is seeded fifth in the shot put and Cody Wheeler is 14th in the pole vault.
Malone is seeded seventh in the 100 dash.
The Pierz 4x200 relay posted a 1:32.99 and W-DC owns a 1:32.32. Both will attempt to run down top seeds Pipestone and Jordan, which ran matching 1:30.83s.
W-DC is the defending state champion with Bereket Loer and Hunter Hawkins returning on the team.
W-DC is also the defending 4x400 champions and will look to defend that title. The Wolverines are the No. 2 seed with a 3:28.23. Lewiston-Altura is No. 1 with a 3:26.99.
Jordan also has the top 4x100 time of 43.28. Pierz owns a 45.06 and Pequot Lakes owns a 45.03.
Pine River-Backus' Nate Wosmek is seeded sixth in the 300 hurdles with a 40.83. St. Peter's Jade Reicks owns the fastest time of 39.22.
Stewartville owns the fastest girls 4x400 relay time of 4:02.55. Pequot Lakes owns a 4:06.90, but is the defending state champions.
"I think that 4x4 is a super, super deep race," Wagner said. "There are a lot of teams in that realm. We didn't have a great race during the section meet. We had some exchange stuff going on in the handoffs where we certainly lost time. We would probably be seeded a little bit higher, but being the defending champs and having won three out of the last year, we talk about having the expectations that we can go out and compete for a championship. Last year we ran 4:04 in the subsections and ran 3:57 both days of the state meet. We've seen tremendous improvement over the course of the week in the past. That meet really draws it out of you.
"So we talk about, go in and expect to compete for a championship. But you have to show up. Their goal is to place highly. I don't know what that means for them, but we talk about getting comfortable with being the best in the state."
On the boys' side Lanesboro/Fillmore ran a 3:26.00 for the top seed. W-DC ran a 3:28.23, which is the third fastest time in the field.
In Saturday's 4x800, Pequot Lakes will have to shave off 10 seconds to capture Luverne's 9:27.41. But Pequot's 9:37.69 is the fifth fastest time. They placed sixth last year.
"We're seeded fifth and we have a really cool opportunity," Wagner said. "Obviously, Luverne is a transcendent team. They ran 9:27 and they are the defending state champions. That is an amazing time. When we won it in 2016 we ran a 9:31 so they've already ran faster than that with no competition. So yeah, they're going to be hard to beat, but let's go try."
Algarin owns a 22-5.5 in the long jump. Nick VanErp of Ottertail Central is second with a 21-9.50. Last year, Algarin didn't make the finals.
Ben Oie is seeded No. 2 in the discus with his 158-5. Breck's David Roddy leads the field with a 166-3.
Engholm leads the girls shot put field with a toss of 49-9.5. Windom's Delaney Smith is next with a 42-11.75. Engholm was seventh last year with a 39-7.25.
"It's really kind of crazy, but we go to Mankato in an indoor showcase meet and she has a personal-record performance the first time she's over 40 feet," Wagner said. "She broke the school record.
"She goes down to the Hamline Elite meet and has a 42-foot throw in the biggest possible stage outside of the state tournament. Then at the section meet, the next biggest meet of the year for her, she goes and adds another foot and a half.
"What she's able to do when the pressure increases is really a testament to the tremendous amount of experience that she has had and how hard she works. She is an example for every one of our kids and what it takes to be successful."
Class 1A Friday events
3200 run: Emmet Anderson (Staples-Motley)
Triple jump: Matthias Algarin (Pierz)
Pole vault: Cody Wheeler (Wadena-Deer Creek)
Shot put: Cooper Folkestad (Wadena-Deer Creek)
300 hurdles: Zachary Becker (Pierz), Carter Moulzolf (Pierz), Nate Wosmek (Pine River-Backus)
100 dash: Algarin, Tucker Peterson (Pillager)
200 dash: Algarin, Peterson
400 dash: Bereket Loer (Wadena-Deer Creek)
4x100 relay: Pequot Lakes (Vincenzo Sposito, Carter Sjoblad, Joe Keiffer, Bode Magnuson), Pierz (Ryan Stangl, Moulzolf, Colton Kapser, Alex Gross)
4x200 relay: Pierz (Moulzolf, Becker, Kasper, Gross), Wadena-Deer Creek (Isaac Hale, Dawson Lupkes, Hunter Hawkins, Loer)
4x400 relay: Wadena-Deer Creek (Hale, Lucas Hinojos, Hawkins, Loer)
3200 run: Kyanna Burton (Staples-Motley)
Discus: Desera Engholm (Pequot Lakes)
Long jump: Jordyn VanVickle (Pillager), Mikaela Malone (Wadena-Deer Creek)
High jump: Kathryn Ireland (Crosby-Ironton)
100 dash: Malone
200 dash: VanVickle
400 dash: VanVickle
4x400 relay: Pequot Lakes (Mirjana Ganley, Carly Chaney, Cassidy Chaney, Lydia Hubbard)
Class 1A Saturday events
High jump: Russell Pierzinski (Pequot Lakes)
Long jump: Algarin
Discus: Ben Oie (Pillager)
4x800 relay: Pequot Lakes (Lydia Hubbard, Cassidy Chaney, Carly Chaney, Calia Chaney)
Pole vault: Brooklyn Jones (Crosby-Ironton)
State Track and Field
Who: 22 area boys, 11 area girls
What: Class 1A Meet
When: 3:30 p.m. Friday, June 7; 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8
Where: Hamline University, St. Paul
Friday finals: 3200 run, boys triple jump, pole vault, shot put; girls long jump, high jump, discus