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Track and Field: Sieffert earns spot on U of M track and field team

East ridge senior Collin Sieffert hops over a barrier during the 300-meter hurdle finals at the Class 2A state meet. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia

East Ridge senior Collin Sieffert is headed to the University of Minnesota this fall as a member of the men's track and field program after earning his spot with a breakout spring.

Sieffert finished his season on the podium in the 300-meter hurdles and as part of two state champion relay teams at the Class 2A state track and field meet that concluded June 10 at Hamline University.

Sieffert was the runner-up in the Class 2A 300-meter hurdles in the state finals. His time of 38.11 seconds was only bested by Joel Smith of Mounds View, who crossed the line in 37.81.

The 4x200-meter relay team of Maxwell Ntege, Thibault Ceulemans, Sieffert and Jordan Headley won a Class 2A state title after finishing in 1:27.17. Sieffert was also a member of the state champion East Ridge 4x400 team, running with Headley, Ceulemans and Marcus Haskins to a time of 3:20.59.

Sieffert is especially happy with how the 4x400 team came together this spring. He was part of last year's 4x400 squad that finished eighth in the state, but graduation and injury problems required the addition of two new runners. One of those runners was Ceulemans, who never ran track before Sieffert recruited him from the boys' soccer team.

"That team really came together," he said.

Sieffert had already been accepted into the University of Minnesota's engineering school before his recruiting with the men's track and field program started heating up. He made his case for the Gophers thanks to an increase in his offseason training. Instead of playing basketball, Sieffert took on additional training and participated in a program on Sundays with local coach Shani Johnson.

"I hadn't looked at too many big schools because before this season my times wouldn't have gotten me many places," Sieffert said.

Sieffert's flexibility as a track and field athlete could be an asset for the University of Minnesota when he arrives on campus this fall. In talking with coaches, he has already gotten an idea of what events he might pursue.

"I'm pretty sure I will be doing the 400 hurdles, but there is also a chance I could do the decathlon or some other events," Sieffert said.