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New Life Academy track & field: Otto wins both relays at Section 4 meet, heads to state

New Life senior Dan Otto won both hurdle events at the Section 4A championships, held last week at Macalester College in St. Paul, qualifying for the state meet in each event.

With 15 athletes at the Section 4A track and field championship meet, the New Life Academy/Bethany Academy track and field team set four new school records and is sending Dan Otto to state.

"Our assistant coaches, Matt Rahimi, Robert Peterfeso, Brian Schrader and Natalie Sampson did a tremendous job of getting the athletes ready for the meet," NLA head coach Tim Otto said. "Throughout the season they put together a great workout strategy that had the kids peaking at this time. We are extremely happy with the kids performances and look forward to Dan competing at state once again."

At sections, the first and second place finishers earn state berths, along with anyone who beats the qualifying times or distances.

Otto, a senior, won both hurdle events at the Section 4A championships, held last week at Macalester College in St. Paul. Otto won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.40 seconds, breaking his own school record, then won the 300-meter hurdles in a time of 40.27 - also a new school record.

In all, the New Life Academy boys finished in seventh place out of 22 teams with 52 points, while the New Life girls took 16th out of 19 teams with 7.5 points. St. Croix Lutheran won the boys section championship with 139.50 points. Providence Academy won the girls meet with 116 points.

In addition to Otto's two school records and state-qualifying runs, NLA freshman Sarah Olfelt broke the school record in the girls 1600-meter run of 5 minutes, 36.69 seconds by running a time of 5:32.81 and finishing in seventh place. Also, the Eagles' boys 3200-meter relay team of Ryan Peterfeso, Dan Sleper, Dan Niemeyer and Sam Hagen, broke the NLA record of 8:48.20 by running 8:42.71 and placing fifth. Also, other top finishes came from NLA junior Matt Michaud, who placed sixth in the discus toss with a throw of 122 feet, 6 inches - which was a personal best and good for sixth place overall and Bethany's Mark Schreiner, who placed third in both hurdle events, running 16.29 in the 110-meter race and 41.35 in the 300 hurdles. In addition: Tori Rogness placed eighth in the 800 with a time of 2:32.78. Sydney Mortenson placed 11th in the 400 with a time of 1:04.46, the girls 400-meter relay team of Tatiana Lee, Emily Sovine, Alyssa Binion and McKenzie Dufault took eighth place in a time of 56.55. Sovine tied for ninth, clearing 7 feet, 2 inches in the pole vault. Same Hagen was 11th in the 800 with a time of 2:06.57 and Sam Dufault was 11th in the 400 with a time of 54.69 and seventh in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 2.25 inches.

The Class A state meet begins Friday, June 8, at Hamline University in St. Paul, no sooner than 3 p.m. and possibly later based on Class AA schedule. The finals for the majority of events - including the hurdles are Saturday at 3 p.m.