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Track and Field: Distance runners dazzle on Day 1

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 9:17 PM

Track and field returned to the Minnesota State High School League’s buffet of spring state tournament events on Thursday, June 17 after a one-year hiatus because of the global pandemic, and what a first night of performances it was. The 3,200-meter races in all classes and divisions were in the spotlight to kick off the three-day meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School and all provided thrills and heroics.

Here is a look at the races that took place:

Class A boys

·       Staples-Motley senior Emmet Anderson dug deep and found a power surge with about 300 meters remaining to capture the Class A crown in a time of 9 minutes ,17.11 seconds. Breck sophomore Alden Keller was runner-up in 9:19.03 and Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin senior Geno Uhrbom was third in 9:20.65. That trio was the lead pack for the majority of the race, at times, each making mini-surges to test the others. Anderson led throughout, but was overtake early in the final lap by Keller. After a brief moment, Anderson found another power source, and not only passed Keller, but created separation en route to a strong finishing kick down the final stretch.

Class A girls

·       This race was perhaps the most heart-stopping of the evening. A lead-pack of 10 runners set the pace for the first three laps with Fairmont junior Laura Thompson in front. But hovering on her shoulder were Nevis sophomore Jade Rypkema and Murray County Central sophomore Amanda Overgaauw, and the trio engaged in a dandy duel over the final four laps. With two laps remaining, Rypkema, the Section 8A cross country champion this past fall, made her move and established the lead, but the others answered, which included Zumbrota-Mazeppa sophomore Natasha Sortland. Step-for-step, stride for stride into the final lap, the lead group positioned themselves for one last move. It came from Rypkema, who put on an impressive finishing kick to win in 10:54.32, which just edged runner-up Thompson, who was second in 10:54.40. Overgaauw was third in 10:55.12.

Class AA boys

·       With about 200 meters remaining in the eight-lap race, Prior Lake senior Gabe Smit and Mounds View sophomore Elliott McArthur broke from the lead pack and engaged in a great duel down the finishing stretch before Smit pulled away just strides before the finish line. He had a time of 9:19.38 and McArthur, who was in the back of the lead back before a strong move to the outside, was runner-up in 9:19.65. Chanhassen senior Benjamin Scheller was third in 9:20.86.

Class AA girls

·       Stillwater senior Analee Weaver continued a senior year of dominance by leading from the starting gun through the final steps over the finish line. She mostly ran alone in the race while finishing in a time of 10:15.27. As the Brigham Young recruit surged into the final lap, the only question that remained was if she could break the Class AA record of 10:06.19 set by Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn in 2018. One record she did capture this school year was setting the all-time mark during the cross country season. St. Michael-Albertville junior Alexandra Weimer, running on her home track, was runner-up in 10:21.41. Wayzata sophomore Abbey Nechanicky was third in 10:24.16.

Wheelchair, Class A

·       Tyler Shepersky, a junior at United North Central, topped Lewiston-Altura eighth-grader Tyler Gunnarson by nearly nine seconds. Shepersky finished in 9:40.93 and Gunnarson crossed the line in 9:49.06.


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