For Chaska’s Joey Duerr, running in the 3,200-meter race Friday at the Hamline Elite Meet was a highlight of the season. Winning it was even better.
Pulling away from a star-studded field in the final 300 meters, Duerr, a sophomore, won by 20 meters with an impressive early-season time of 9 minutes, 8.18 seconds.
“How can you not get pumped up for this?” he asked. “Outside, with all of these good runners, under the lights. It’s a big deal. It’s like a football game, only you don’t get to rag on the other team.”
In the girls’ 3,200, the reigning state cross-country champions squared off, with Blake’s Clare Flanagan, the Class 1A champ, outkicking Shakopee’s Maria Hauger, the 2A champ, for the victory in a meet-record 10:23.00.
Barron wins three
Minnetonka junior Mia Barron was just hoping to have a good meet. Maybe win an event if she were lucky.
Clearly Barron had the bar set a little low. She surprised even herself by winning the 110-meter hurdles, the long jump with a leap of 17 feet, 8½ inches and the triple jump going 37-4¾.
“I never thought I’d have this kind of success,” Barron said. “I’m still new to the hurdles, so I thought I might win one of the jumps. This has been a good day.”
Ojika gets his victory
One meet to practice and two years of disappointment proved to be a winning combination for Ben Ojika.
The Irondale senior roared off the blocks, getting a big enough lead to survive a late stumble and win the 110-meter hurdles in a meet-record of 14.50.
“I’ve been here twice before, as a sophomore and a junior, and I choked. So this felt really good,” Ojika said.
He had run just one full 110-meter race before Friday but that was enough to prepare him.
“I had only run 55-meter races indoors before that,” he said. “Running a 110 is a lot different.”
As expected, Ewen sweeps
St. Francis senior Maggie Ewen is easily the best high school thrower in Minnesota and has a scholarship to Arizona State.
So winning the shot put and the discus — the shot put in a meet-record toss of 51-3¼, the discus with a throw of 166-4 inches — for the second year in a row was not the question for Ewen. It was more a matter of getting used to being outdoors.
“[Thursday] was just the second time this year that I had thrown outside,” she said. “A gym floor is so much different. I was just hoping to get a good series of throws in and I did that.”