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Woodbury's 1600-meter relay team of Kyle Haugen, above, Davis Johnson, Matt Waterhouse and Abiola Abodunde had the Royals' top performance at the state meet, earning second place and All-State honors in the event with a time of 3 minutes, 21.08 seconds.

Woodbury track & field: All-State honors for five Royals

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A number of Woodbury athletes went to St. Paul for the 2012 Minnesota State Track and Field Meet - and they didn't come back empty handed.

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Senior Davis Johnson and junior Abiola Abodunde earned All-State honors in two events each to lead the way for the Woodbury boys and girls track teams at the state meet, held Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.

"We're proud to be here," Johnson said. "We laid our hearts out on the track and gave it our all. We're pretty proud of our performance and our team."

At the state meet, teams are awarded points and All-State honors for finishing in the top nine places in each event. A first place finish garners 12 points, second place gets 10 points, third place earns eight points, and so on. The ninth place finisher earns one point.

The Woodbury boys finished in 17th place overall with 19 points. Wayzata won the boys Class AA state championship with 81 points, beating second-place Park, which had 64 points. The Woodbury girls scored one point. The Lakeville South girls won the Class AA state title with 56.50, ahead of second-place Alexandria and Minnetonka, who each had 49 points.

A total of eight Woodbury athletes hit the state meet track.

Woodbury's 1600-meter relay team of Johnson and Kyle Haugen and juniors Matt Waterhouse and Abodunde had the Royals' top performance at the state meet, earning second place and All-State honors in the event with a time of 3 minutes, 21.08 seconds. Wayzata won the race with a 3:18.36 time. The Royals ran a 3:22.33 in the prelims to reach the finals, which was just back of Wayzata's 3:22.20 top qualifying time.

"This is a big surprise," Johnson said. "We realized about halfway through the season we weren't losing. That gave us some confidence. It's all because of coach (Jim) Scott. He's the one that got us here. The 4-by-4 is one of the most exciting races. It's definitely cool to be here in this race."

Individually, Johnson also earned All-State in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing in sixth place with a time of 39.20 seconds in the finals. Park senior R.J. Alowonle won the event in 36.59, which was a state meet record.

"It feels great to end my high school career at the state meet. Especially with these three guys. It's a great team," Johnson said.

Individually, Abodunde also earned All-State in the triple jump, taking fifth place with a mark of 44 feet, 4.5 inches. Alowonle also won that event with a 47-11 jump.

In the girls meet, though she fell in the finals and took ninth with a time of 49.23, Woodbury junior Lisa Huska earned All-State honors in the 300-meter hurdles with her 45.50 in the prelims on Friday.

An eighth grader from Thief River Falls, Meleah Biermaier, won the 300 hurdle championship in a time of 43.48.

"(All-State) has been my goal this whole season and I got it," Huska said. "It was a big goal of mine to reach."

Huska was in the Royals' state-qualifying 400-meter relay last year, but this was her first time in an individual event at the state meet.

"It's exciting. I liked the experience. It was really different," Huska said. "I fell, so I'm not too happy. I know I could have done better, but I'm still happy I made it to state."

The Royals' state competitors reached the big dance based on their finishes at the Section 4AA Championships held at Stillwater High School.

In addition to the Royals' 1600-meter relay, Abodunde, Johnson and Huska, Waterhouse reached state in the 400-meter dash and took 17th in the preliminaries of the race at state with a time of 50.58. East Ridge junior Nate Roese won the state title in the 400 with a time of 47.79 in the finals after qualifying in 48.69. Also, Abodunde, Haugen and juniors Quran Al-Hameed and Dimeji Iselewa took 10th place in the prelims of the 400-meter relay race. Park won the championship title in the finals with a 42.19. In the girls meet, Wakpor Ighovojah took 14th place in the prelims of the 100-meter hurdles, with a time of 15.74. Farmington junior Nadia Lorencz won the 100-meter hurdle state title in a time of 14.36, unseating defending state champion Jessica January, another junior, from Richfield.

At sections, Huska won the 300-meter hurdle championship to qualify for the state meet. Ighovojah took second place in the 100-meter hurdles to earn a trip to the state meet. Ighovojah was also Woodbury's top competitor in the long jump and the high jump this spring.

Huska summed up the state meet as "rewarding."

"It shows everything we've been working on this whole year has paid off because we got here," she said. "It feels good to represent Woodbury and it shows our coaches are doing a really good job with us."

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