Track and Field: Raptors, Royals punch tickets to state
Both the Woodbury and East Ridge track and field teams will be sending a busload of athletes to the Class 2A track and field meet on June 9 and 10 at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Athletes from both high schools qualified for state during Class 2A, Section 4 championship competition on May 30 and June 1 at East Ridge High School. When the dust settled, the East Ridge boys' finished second behind Stillwater in the team standings, with Woodbury placing third. The Raptors girls' team was third with Woodbury placing sixth.
Allyson Weiss and Ansley Schug led the Raptors by earning two individual spots in the Class 2A state meet. The pair were also part of a 4x200-meter girls' relay team, along with Alex Doty and Nicole Tanski, that finished second place in the section finals in 1:42.14 to qualify for state.
Weiss clinched two individual section titles in the two-day meet. She earned a long jump title on May 30 with a mark of 17-feet, 8 inches, and on June 1 she won the triple jump competition with a mark of 38-feet.
The junior was shooting for a personal best in the triple jump, but she was forced to settle for a modest consolation prize of a section title.
"I was going for 40 (feet), but I'm still happy with the 38," Weiss said. "All I wanted to do was make it to state, so I'm happy with it."
Weiss is heading back to the state meet after winning the Class 2A triple jump title last season with a mark of 38 feet, 9.25 inches. This season, her goals include defending the state title and qualifying for the finals in the long jump.
"It was pretty good," Weiss said about last week's performances. "I'm still working on a couple of kinks, but hopefully it will be better by state."
Schug is headed to state meet for the first time in her career in the individual events of the 100 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. Schug placed first in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.53, and she also placed third in the 300 finals with a time of 44.84. The time squeaked past the state qualifying mark of 44.85.
"I haven't won before, so now that I have I'm excited," Schug said about taking first in the 100 hurdles.
For most of her career up to this year, Schug was looking up to Karina Joiner who was a multiple state champion in the 100 hurdles. Last week, the East Ridge grad Joiner was in the crowd at the section meet and even visited the team at practice.
Of course, she offered some words of wisdom.
"She's like another coach," Schug said.
Woodbury's Adam Johnson also won an individual title in the 110 hurdles and finished second in the 300 hurdles to qualify for state in two events. Johnson won the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.27 and was the runner-up in the 300 hurdles in 40.92.
Besides one near-misstep, the race went well.
"I almost fell, but otherwise it was a pretty solid race," Johnson said.
East Ridge's Collin Sieffert outpaced Johnson in the 300 hurdles to win a section title. Sieffert crossed the finish line in 38.51.
"I felt pretty good today, except for two hurdles my step was off a little bit," said Sieffert, who wrapped up his first career individual title. "But otherwise I felt like it was a good race. We had great weather, and good people running it, too."
Woodbury sophomore Maya Cochrane had her hard work from the offseason pay off when she won a section title in the shot put. Her throw of 39-feet, 10.5 inches was not a personal record, that mark is her school record throw of 40 feet, 6 inches from earlier this year.
But after a near miss last year, Cochrane is headed to the state meet.
"I was half an inch away from state last year, and I was a freshman that year, so I just really wanted to get it this year," Cochrane said. "It feels amazing."
Marcus Haskins was a state qualifier as an individual last season in the 400 dash, finishing seventh in Class 2A. But this year, Haskins decided right before sections to make a switch to running the 800.
The move paid off last week, as he won the 800 section run with a time of 1:58.16.
"I was thinking more bigger picture, so down the road more fierce competitors are in the open 400," Haskins said. "So I decided I would have a better chance of winning the 800."
East Ridge qualifiers
East Ridge senior Doty placed third in the girls' 200 dash but finished in 25.29, breaking the qualifying time to earn a spot at state.
Alex Tittle finished second in the 100 dash with a time of 11.17, beating out teammate Maxwell Ntege who finished third in 11.20. Thibault Ceulemans also finished second in the 200 dash in 22.30.
Alec Wittman won a section championship in the pole vault, taking first with by clearing the bar at 13 feet, 4 inches.
East Ridge will send three relay teams to the state meet, including two that finished with section championships.
The Raptors' 4x200 relay team of Ntege, Ceulemans, Sieffert and Jordan Headley finished first in 1:28.60, as did the 4x400 relay team of Headley, Ceulemans, Sieffert and Haskins in 3:18.94.
The East Ridge 4x100 relay team of Dominik London, Headley, Ntege and Tittle also finished second in 42.99.
The Woodbury 4x800 relay team of Connor McMannes, Grant Wittman, Benjamin Reuter and Joseph Romain placed second with a time of 7:54.71 to qualify for the state meet.
Tiffany Holiday also placed second in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 11:45.86 to qualify for state.
Nathan Bursch qualified in the shot put after he finished third in the section but broke the state qualifying mark. He completed a throw of 54 feet, 10.25 inches.
Woodbury will send a girls' 4x100 team to state after Anna Muellner, Katie Henschell, Julia Pereira and Kaellyanna Mixson finished second in 48.95.