Clare Flanagan took a quick look over her left shoulder and didn’t like what she saw. Emi Trost of Cannon Falls was closing in on the Blake junior, as they took the first turn of the final lap of Saturday’s Class 1A 1,600-meter final.
“I saw how close she was to me, and I knew it as time to go,” she said.
Then Flanagan showed everyone at Hamline University exactly why she’s the most dominant small-school distance runner in the state.
Flanagan pulled away from Trost on the final lap, eventually crossing the line in a time of 4 minutes and 48.41 seconds, breaking a 27-year-old Class 1A state record by 0.38 seconds.
The win gave Flanagan titles in both the 1,600- and 3,200 meter races at this year’s meet, matching her double-win performance a year ago. Throw in her back-to-back cross country titles, and Flanagan has won all six of the state’s top distance titles over the past two seasons.
“I didn’t know if I could do it,” Flanagan said of a repeat the high school distance running “triple crown.” “It feels great, though. I was nervous about the race because Emi is such a strong runner. I knew she’d push me to a good time. And she did.”
Limping, but leading
Carolyn Nye wanted to, but her ailing foot just wouldn’t let her try. The Blake sophomore, who set the Class A state pole vaulting record at 11 feet, 8 inches at sections, wanted to break her own record in Saturday’s final.
Instead, she settled for a second straight state title.
“My foot’s just been really bothering me,” said Nye, who’s been dealing with the injury all week. “I was hoping it’d feel better today and I could really go for it, but it just didn’t.”
So, Nye wrapped up her title after clearing 10 feet, 6 inches, beating out Samantha Petry of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown and Paige Thieke Clough of Plainview-Elgin-Millville by three inches.
If Jon Tollefson looked relaxed as he crossed the finish line of the boys’ 110-meter high hurdles, well, it’s because he was.
“Every day I run in practice I tell myself it’s the state final,” said the sophomore hurdler from St. Croix Lutheran. “So, it just felt like another run.”
Of course, when Tollefson finished with a time of 14.72 seconds and his first career state title, that changed the feeling a little bit.
“I was sixth last year, and the hope was to win,” he said. “I’ve imagined it all year. It’s amazing to actually do it.”
Tollefson finished off a sweep of the hurdle races when he won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles later in the day.