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John’s Journal: Two Sports, Two (Or Three) State Tournaments

Busy Week For Rock Ridge Duo, Competing At State Track and State Tennis

Posted: Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 7:22 PM


The finalists in the Class 2A girls pole vault pose for a photo after the competition (photo by Dustin Weege).




Rock Ridge seniors Jake Bradach and Jared Delich competed at state tennis and track this week.

By the time Jared Delich and Jake Bradach returned home to the Iron Range on Saturday, they were worn out, and deservedly so. The two seniors from Rock Ridge High School had a memorable week competing at the state tournament.

Correction: Two state tournaments. Or three, depending on how you look at it

They were members of the Wolverines’ 4x800-meter relay team that competed Saturday morning in the Class 2A state track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville. They had spent the previous four days representing Rock Ridge at the Class 1A boys state tennis tournament in Minneapolis, participating in both the team and doubles portions of the event.

The boys are grateful to many for the opportunities provided to them this spring, especially their coaches in both sports. Jace Friedlieb is the Wolverines tennis coach and Matt Anderson coaches track.

“A lot of it is the awesome flexibility of the coaches on both teams,” Jared said. “They knew what we were doing, they knew what we were trying to accomplish.”

Their accomplishments were something special, taking place over a five-day stretch of intense competition that closed the book on a season of hard work.

In the boys team tennis competition held Tuesday and Wednesday, Jared and Jake helped the Wolverines place fourth among eight teams. In the doubles competition Thursday and Friday they finished third, defeating Mounds Park Academy’s Aarti Prochnow and Garrett Webb 6-1, 6-4 in Friday’s third-place match at the InnerCity Tennis Center in south Minneapolis.

And at the state track meet on Saturday – 38 miles from the tennis center – they joined teammates Connor Matschiner and Causey Aune in the 4x800-meter race. The Wolverines placed 12th among 17 teams.

The boys also competed in other track events this spring, and Jared was a member of the 4x400 relay team that qualified for state. The first round of racing in that event was held Friday at about the same time the tennis duo was playing for a third-place medal. Jared’s spot on the 4x400 unit was taken by an alternate runner.

“When we looked at the schedules we tried to see how far it is from the tennis facility to the track facility, and as you could imagine it was impossible,” Jake said.

Both boys are also cross-country runners who initially joined the track team last spring.

“It was the first time we tried this whole double sport thing,” Jared said. “We're cross-country runners, so we were like, ‘Hey, there's another running sport in the spring. Let's give it a shot.’ ”

Friedlieb said, “Trust is a big thing. And they've been natural leaders since the day they came onto our team. They talked to me last year and said, ‘You know, we'd like to run track, too.’ And I said, ‘There's nothing better than dual athletes. Let's make it work.’

“Tennis was always their number one sport. So they always communicated with me and we just made it work between track and tennis and it turned out really well for them.”

Last spring Delich and Bradach both played in the team portion of the state tennis tournament, with Jared qualifying in singles and Jake playing doubles at state with another partner.

This year, they hoped to make it through the first day of doubles competition, which they certainly did.

“We were confident in our ability to play well here,” said Jared.

They have focused mainly on tennis throughout the season, with track getting enough attention as possible.

“After practice we could go out for a run,” said Jared. “We made sure to be there for the team and to compete in whatever track races we could during the year. We stepped out of a couple of tennis practices and even skipped one or two lower-level matches to run track.”

Friedlieb said their third-place finish was no surprise to him.

“I'm not surprised at all. They were both singles players and they made the decision to team up as a doubles team toward the end of the season. They knew what they wanted to do, and knew they could make a run, and they sure made a run this week. It was awesome to watch.”

Jared summed up the week perfectly when he said, “It was super, super fun. This is great.”

Tenth and Final State Tournament

Cecilia Woods didn’t shatter any records or take home any gold medals from the Class 2A state track meet, but she accomplished something that has rarely been done in Minnesota.

The track meet capped the high school career of the Rocori senior, who has become quite accustomed to competing at the highest level. It was her 10th time competing in a state tournament. A diver on the swimming and diving team, a member of the Rocori dance team, and one of the top hurdlers in the state, Cecilia is something special.

Her first time at state came in track during her freshman year. Then it was diving-dance-track for the next three years.

She was the state champion in the 300-meter hurdles a year ago and placed second in the 100-meter hurdles. Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville’s sterling track and field facility, Cecilia finished third in the Class 2A 100-meter hurdles and fifth in the 300-meter hurdles, taking home two more medals to add to her collection.

Pierz: Hurdle City

If the city of Pierz doesn’t have an official slogan, one possibility comes on the heels of the Class 1A state track meet: Hurdle City.

Pioneers senior Ashley Kimman won the girls 100-meter hurdles state championship and in the next event, classmate Jonathan Cheney won gold in the boys 110-meter hurdles. They both improved from the prelims, when Ashley had the fourth-best time and Jonathan was fifth.

In other events, Ashley placed seventh in the high jump and Jonathan was eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.

Records , Results And Team Standings

--With the final throw of his high school discus career, Rosemount senior Hayden Bills won the Class 3A title with a state-record distance of 207 feet. That tops the previous mark of 201-7 set by Karl Erickson of Rochester Century in 2001. Bills' new state record ranks No. 3 in the nation among high school discus throwers this year. No 1 is 209-11 and No. 2 is 208-10, both by Wisconsin 11th-graders.

--Irondale junior long jumper Juriad Hughes Jr. won the 3A state title with a distance of 24 feet, 10 3/4 inches. He set the state record of 24-11 a week earlier. That mark ranks No. 7 in the nation this spring, with the top six all seniors.

--Maple Grove senior Jordyn Borsch ran to state titles in the Class 3A 100, 200 and 400 meters. A year ago she finished first in the 100 and 400.

Team state champions in track and field were …

Class 1A girls: Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball

Class 1A boys: St. Croix Lutheran

Class 2A girls: Monticello

Class 2A boys: Waseca

Class 3A girls: Minnetonka

Class 3A boys: Rosemount

--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected] 

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2023 Track and Field State Class AAA Day 2