By John George
The Perham Yellowjackets won't have as many participants at this year's State Track and Field Meet, but those who are going should do the school, and the town, proud.
Heading to Hamline University in St. Paul June 5-6 for the Class A State Meet will be three girls, Maddie McClellan, Heather Schultz and Elisa Moenkedick, and one boy, Sam Stoll.
McClellan, Schultz and Moenkedick are returning to State. Stoll is a first-timer, and he barely got there this time.
Stoll, a junior, finished in 2nd place in the 3200m run with a time of 10:15.86 at the Section 6A Championships at MSU-Moorhead last Thursday. He made a mad dash down the back stretch of the final lap to pass Kyle Toms of West Central Area at the finish line. Toms finished with a time of 10:15.87.
"Wow, I, can't believe I made it," Stoll said. "The pace was going back and forth and it was hard to get a rythym. The wind was tough down one stretch, and at our back on the other."
Stoll was well behind Toms around the final corner before the final 100m of the 2-mile race.
"I wasn't sure if I had enough to catch up or pass him," Stoll said. "I just gave it my all and had enough to take second. Barely."
Silas Lydeen of Pequot Lakes won the race with a time of 10:15.46. Perham's Alex Barney finished 4th (10:32.96) and Keith Schornack was sixth (10:46.02).
Stoll has the 11th best time in the 3200m heading into state. The top time belongs to Connor Gjevre of Annandale at 9:47.95. The boys 3200m finals will be Friday, June 5 at 6:05 p.m.
Girls looking for medals
Returning to State are McClellan, Schultz and Moenkedick. McClellan, a junior, won both the 1600m and the 3200m run at the 6A Championships.
She has a wealth of State experience. She finished 3rd at last year's State Meet in the 3200m, and 3rd 2007 State Meet. She was also part of a State Champion relay team in 2007 (4x800) and has several medals from a number of State Cross Country meets.
"It feels pretty good to be going back," McClellan said. "The 3200 was much easier for me than the 1600. I was able to get in a good groove and keep a pretty good pace. I felt a lot less pressure in that race and just went out to run.
She won the 1600m with a time of 5:12.91. Stacey Kern of Osakis finished a close 2nd (5:13.31). Third place, Alicia Boe of New York Mills, was a distant 3rd (5:22.37). Finishing 10th was Shayla Fulford (5:54.35) with Abby Anderson coming in 15th (6:41.25). Anderson was the State Class A runner-up in the 1600m last year.
McClellan (11:40.77) won the 3200m much easier with an 11 second lead over the runner-up, Kassandra Stueve of C-G-B/C-A (11:51.19). Cassie Beseman finished sixth (12:07.21) with Anderson taking 9th (12:39.15).
"I always like running at State," McClellan said. "I like going up against the best. I don't know what to expect. It would be nice to do better than last year."
McClellan has the 4th best time in the 1600m heading into State. Defending champ Linda Keller of Paynesville is ranked 5th. Kyle Blakeslee, a senior from Cannon Falls, has the top time entering State (5:07.44). She did not place at last year's State Meet.
McClellan has the 6th best time in the 3200m. The best time belongs to Blakeslee (11:15.18), who did not place at last year's State meet. Keller, the defending champ, is ranked 7th (11:41.16). The 2008 runner-up, Lauren Rice of Holy Family Catholic, did not qualify.
The girls 3200m finals will be Friday, June 5 at 5:50 p.m. McClellan will run the 1600m finals on Saturday at 4:23 p.m.
Two other Lady Jacket athletes would also like to do better than last year at State. Which would mean contending for State titles.
Schultz (39'10") repeated as the 6A shot put champ, while Moenkedick (133'6") also won her 2nd straight discus title. Both finished third in their respective events at State last year. The difference this year is neither will be throwing in the other event. Schultz finished third in the discus and Moenkedick was third in the shot put.
Schultz and Brittnie Menze (39'7") of New York Mills are ranked 1-2 heading into State. The third best throw heading into State was 39'5" by Litchfield's Abby Goraczkowski. Schultz finished third at last year's State meet with a throw of 39'9.75".
Last year's State champ, Liberty Slinden of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, is ranked fourth this year with a section throw of 39'4.75". She won last year's title with a throw of 41'11". The 2008 runner-up, Leah Dietel of Jordan, is ranked No. 8 this year (38'8"). Her second place throw last year was 40'5.5".
Moenkedick (133'6") has the top throw in the discus heading into State by nearly four feet. The next best toss is 129'9" by Yvonne Freese of Lanesboro/Fillmore Central. The defending champ, Christy Nepp of Windom Area (146'4"), graduated in 2008. Slinden, the 2008 runner-up, did not qualify in the discus this year.
The girls discus finals will be Friday, June 5 starting at 3:45 p.m. The girls shot put will be Saturday, June 6 at 3 p.m.
Other section finishes
Jenna Gigstead finished 13th in the 200m dash (28.26) and 11th in the 400m (1:06.40). Maddie Covington was 14th in the 800m (2:37.22). Kelli Meehl was 11th in the 300m hurdles (51.88) with Tasha Wallace finishing 13th in the 100m hurdles (17.90).
Mikayla Solberg was 11th in the long jump (14'10.25") and the 4x800 relay team finished seventh (10:29.60).
For the boys, Mike Wisko was 8th in the 200m dash (24.03). James Covington was 11th in the 800m (2:13.45) with Tim Herrmann taking 13th (2:20.26. Brandon Karels finished 7th in the 1600m with Andrew Riestenberg coming in 10th (4:58.36).
In the 110m hurdles, Tyler Kuhl was 9th (17.37) with Matt Winkels close behind in 10th (17.56). Kuhl also finished 10th in the 300m hurdles (46.07).
The boys had all four relay team competing at sections. The 4x100 team finished 6th (47.50), the 4x200 team was 4th (1:38.88), the 4x400 team was 8th (3:49.77), and the 4x800 team was 2nd (8:33.26).
Chris Scheidecker had a 4th place finish in the triple jump (39'7") with Drew Johnson taking fifth in the long jump (18'6.5"). Charlie Schmitz cleared 10'6" in the pole vault to finish tied for ninth. In the throwing events, D.J. Altstadt was 6th in the shot put (43'1"), while Ben Collette was 12th (39'9"). Alex Bailey was 8th in the discus (119'3").
Full meet results can be found online at www.eotillustrated.com.