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Track and field 2022 story lines: More championship chances are lined up

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune, 04/22/22, 3:30PM CDT

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The MSHSL added a class, generating additional spots in state meets and bringing Minnesota in line with national leaders.


Maddie Dahlien of Edina was a state champion in three events in 2021: the 100, the 200 and the 400. Photo by ANTRANIK TAVITIAN, Star Tribune

Thousands of track and field athletes throughout Minnesota will bring new vigor to their sprints, jumps and throws this spring, knowing their best performances are more likely to result in a state meet appearance.

Track and field added a third class beginning with the 2021-22 school year, the first such expansion in almost 50 years.

Aaron Berndt, the sport’s coaches association president and the Wayzata boys’ track and field coach, said his group fought for the change because nationally an average of 8% of competitors qualify for the state meet. That number was just 3.4% in Minnesota.

About 32,000 athletes compete in track and field in Minnesota, which was the only state in the top 10 for participation to offer fewer than three classes.

“In talking to coaches this winter, the overall feeling was one of excitement,” Berndt said. “Not only does this mean more kids compete at the state meet, but it also brings more balance to the sections.”

The state meet will be held June 9-11 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

Hamline Elite Meet returns

After a two-year hiatus driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the Hamline Elite Meet is back. The unique meet brings together many of the state’s best high school track athletes, regardless of class.

Scheduled for April 29, the Elite Meet takes place about six weeks before the state meet, offering a great gauge for top athletes.

However, some coaches are less likely to participate, Berndt said, because Klas Field at Hamline University in St. Paul will not be the site of the state meet.

Honoring trailblazers

This year marks 50 years since both the passage of Title IX legislation and Minnesota’s first girls’ track and field state meet.

To celebrate, Meghan Orgeman, coaches association vice president and Alexandria girls’ track and field coach, is coordinating plans to honor pioneering female coaches, athletes and officials from the 1970s at this year’s state meet.

Plans include a social event Saturday between the Class 2A and 3A meets, VIP seating in the bleachers and presentation of all-state awards.

For more information, or to help generate contact information for deserving recipients, e-mail Orgeman at w4wtrackandfield@gmail.com.

Huskies’ new home

St. Anthony rebuilt its outdoor stadium, which now features a new turf field and refurbished track. Improved facilities will allow the Huskies to offer their own track and field program after a decades-long partnership with Spring Lake Park. More than 100 athletes, from seventh-graders to seniors, are participating this spring.

The list: athletes to watch

Boys

Ramy Ayoub, senior, Farmington

Class 2A state meet results: first in 4x400-meter relay, second in 400

Hayden Bills, junior, Rosemount

Class 2A state meet: second in discus throw, fourth in shot put

Jack Helmich, senior, Wayzata

Class 2A state meet: first in pole vault

Gus Langford, senior, DeLaSalle

Class 2A state meet: first in 400, fifth in 100

Will Skelly, senior, Mounds View

Class 2A state meet: first in 800, second in 4x400

Girls

Maddie Dahlien, senior, Edina

Class 2A state meet: first in 100, 200 and 400

Ava Cinnamo, senior, Rosemount

Class 2A state meet: first in 100 and 300 hurdles, third in 4x400 relay, seventh in triple jump

Olivia Peal, junior, St. Michael-Albertville

Class 2A state meet: first in 4x100 and long jump

Anisa Thompson, senior, Blake

Class 1A state meet: first in 100 and 200, second in 4x100

Shaina Zinter, senior, Concordia Academy

Class 1A state meet: first in 100 and 300 hurdles, third in 200, fourth in long jump

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