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Prep track and field: Five story lines for 2014

04/07/2014, 9:08pm CDT
By Star Tribune

What to watch for in 2014

Shaheed Hickman, center, of Hopkins took first place in Class 2A boys 100-meter dash at the 2013 State Track and Field Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul June 8, 2013. (Courtney Perry/Special to the Star Tribune) ORG XMIT: MIN1306081524484411


When you break the national freshman record in the 1,600 meters, as Stillwater’s Eli Krahn did last season, high expectations are sure to follow. But Richfield senior Obsa Ali hopes to complicate Krahn’s repeat chances. Krahn’s attention-getting time of 4 minutes, 9.38 seconds was a little more than one second faster than the third-place Ali. The duo also squared off in the 3,200 with Ali edging out Krahn for the title. Last fall, Ali won the state title in cross-country with Krahn placing 13th overall.


Lakeville South senior Shaina Burns is not impressed with your weekend to-do list. She won the pentathlon at the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet last month in New York. Last spring Burns, who signed with Texas A&M, was the only Class 2A meet competitor to score points in the unique trifecta of shot put (third), 300 hurdles (fifth) and long jump (eighth).


Don’t blink once the state’s top sprinters get in their blocks. On the girls’ side, watch Alexandria sophomore Wensia Johnson. She placed second in the 100 last season but holds the state record in the event (11.69 seconds). She also won the 200 in 2012. The current sprint king is Shaheed Hickman of Hopkins. He won the 100 but must withstand a challenge from Fridley’s Odell Howard this spring.


Graduation and injury thinned the depth of record-challenging pole vaulters, but the two remaining are poised to take flight. In Class 2A, Andrianna Jacobs of Rochester Century cleared 13 feet as a freshman, claiming a state title and a state meet record. Tyler Tappe of Pequot Lakes was one of two vaulters to post a Class 1A meet record mark of 15-6 but took second based on tiebreaker criteria.


Returning star power makes Minnetonka a favorite to repeat as the girls’ Class 2A team champion. Just one senior contributed to team scoring last season. Among those back to make their mark are Elizabeth Endy, who anchored the Skippers’ first-place 4x400 and 4x800 relays. Mia Barron won the long jump and placed second to teammate Piper Jensen in the triple jump. Barron showed greater promise at the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet last month in New York. Her long jump of 19 feet, 8¼ inches would have smashed the state record. Her triple jump of 41-0¼ would have been second in state history.


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