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Perham's Heather Schultz picked up a 6th place medal at State in the shot put after finishing 3rd last year as a junior.

Track & Field: Heather Schultz 6th, Brittnie Menze 7th in shot put at State

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By John George

The conditions were far from ideal Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul for Day 2 of the State Track and Field Meet. But as I've heard from countless coaches over the years, the conditions were the same for everybody.

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With temperatures in the 50's and a steady rain falling, the local athletes competing in the Class A girls shot put had more on their minds than just getting off their best throw.

Despite entering State ranked No. 1, and No. 2 in the shot (based on section distances), Perham's Heather Schultz and Brittnie Menze finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

"The weather wasn't that good, but I just didn't throw that well," said Schultz, a senior from Perham. "It wasn't my best day. But you can't throw well all the time. So, I just have to be happy with it. At least I made it here."

Schultz's best throw came in her third and final attempt of the prelim round, 37'6.25". That distance held up for sixth place.

Schultz had won the Section 6A title in the shot put last week at MSU-Moorhead with a toss of 39'10". That was the best throw heading into State by three inches over Menze, who was the 6A runner-up (39'7"). The Perham senior had finished third in the shot put last year at State with a mark of 39'9.75".

"I was confident and felt good coming in," Schultz said. "I was worried about the weather and my implements weighing in. I was a little nervous, but I've learned to just go with the flow and deal with it.

"I made it, so that's all that matters," she added. "It was a good year."

Menze, making her first trip to State, finished seventh with a throw of 37'1". She reached that distance with her fourth attempt of the rainy afternoon in the first round of the finals.

"It was cold, so it wasn't my best performance," Menze said. "But it's State, so I was just happy to be here."

The New York Mills junior was a spectator on Friday, the first day of the State Meet. She just wanted to soak in some of the atmosphere.

"I was so nervous yesterday (Friday). I don't think I was as nervous today as yesterday," she said. "I didn't know what to expect. It's my first time here. I think the unexpected made me more nervous than competing.

The school record holder in the event, Menze is now looking forward to getting back next year. Possibly in two events, the shot put and discus.

"This will definitly help," she said. "I'm so ready for next year. Hopefuly in two events. That would be really nice.

Winning the Class A girls shot put was Becci Osterdyk, a sophomore from Mora. She was the only competitor to clear 40 feet. Her first place toss traveled 40'2.5".

Despite the fact that last year none of the top-nine to place at State were seniors, only six returned in 2009. And only one, Kiley Severson of Hayfield, improved her place from 2008 (5th in 2008, 3rd this year). The defending champ, Liberty Slinden of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, finished 14th. The 2008 runner-up, Leah Dietel of Jordan, finished eighth.

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