Ava Fitzgerald of Roseville Area High School celebrates after setting a statewide all-time record for the 100m hurdles [Nicole Neri, Special to the Star Tribune]
After his Champlin Park track and field teammates finished praising his performance and jingling the three first-place medals around his neck, junior Richlu Tudee pulled out a bag of Cherry Sours and enjoyed his post-meet tradition.
What happens before meets has been more instrumental to Tudee’s ascent to the state’s top sprinter. Tudee claimed the title Saturday, blazing around the St. Michael-Albertville track to capture Class 3A titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and running the second leg of the victorious 4x100 relay.
“It’s called voodoo magic,” Tudee said. “My coach has me do it before every race.”
The official term is Reflexive Performance Reset. Rebels sprints coach Zach Dykes called it “neurological stimulation. It’s making sure all the muscles in the body are firing right. It’s different, but it works.”
Fitzgerald sets record
Ava Fitzgerald, Roseville standout senior hurdler, first met East Ridge graduate Karina Joiner earlier this season where the two ladies discovered they have something common.
“She’s like, ‘I would love for you to break my record,’ ” Fitzgerald said. “And I was like, ‘I would love to break your record.’ ”
Fitzgerald ran it down Saturday. Her 13.81 lowered the mark Joiner set in 2016.
Sprinters in spotlight
Edina senior Maddie Dahlien, who won the long jump Thursday, hoped to defend all three of her sprint titles from 2021. Maple Grove junior Jordyn Borsch changed those plans.
Borsch, seeded third in the 100 prelims, exploded to win the final in a time of 11.78. Losing by just three-hundredths of a second hurt Dahlien.
“That was a tough one,” Dahlien said. “Especially coming in with the top time. That was the one race I thought I could breathe a little.”
Borsch held the top prelim time in the 400 and won the final in 54.27. “I consider myself a 400 runner, so to win was unreal,” Borsch said.
Dahlien placed second, but turned to give a thumbs up toward her coaches and fans because she posted a good time.
The duo met once again in the 200. Dahlien won in 23.80, thrusting her right arm in victory after crossing the finish line.
“I loved going out with a win,” said Dahlien, who will trade track and field for full-time soccer next year at North Carolina.
Both sprinters praised the other’s performances.
“She’s amazing,” Dahlien said.
“It’s much easier to run faster times when you have someone there to push you, so it was nice to run against her,” Borsch said.
Nyenati doubles up
Andover senior Blake Nyenati swept the 3A 110 and 300 hurdles titles, a brilliant finish to a high school career twice interrupted by COVID-19.
Nyenati reached the state meet as freshman but did not qualify for the 110 finals. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic shut down all spring sports. Last year, lingering concerns about the virus led Nyenati’s parents to keep him out of track and field.
With one chance left, Nyenati achieved dual greatness.
“This is where I was aiming to be, but I didn’t know for sure having not run for two years,” he said. “I knew I had the potential, I just had to put the work in. And it paid off.”
Nyenati helped the Huskies win the 3A title with 62.2 points, with Rosemount second at 58. The Rosemount girls won the state title with 93 points, followed by Minnetonka with 81.
Spectrum senior Max Reis lived up to his reputation as one of the fastest sprinters in the state Saturday.
Reis won the boys’ 100- and 200-meter dashes in 10.83 and 22.09 seconds, respectively, in the Class 2A state meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Earlier this season, he broke the Hamline Elite Meet record in the 100 with a time of 10.41.
Reis also took third place in the long jump competition, leading Spectrum to a runner-up finish in the team standings with 40 points. St. Peter won the title with 44 points.
Jordan junior Kaleb Sharp had a hand in on three first-place finishes, winning the 800 run with a time of 1:55.37. He also anchored the victorious 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams for the Hubmen, who finished third with 39 points.
In the girls’ meet, Monticello accumulated 71 points in spite of winning only one event to capture the team title. Providence Academy finished second with 60 points.
The Magic 4x200 relay team of sophomore Sasha Steinbach, senior Natalie Emmerich, senior Thalia Mendoza-Brunotte and sophomore Emelia Skistad posted a school record winning time of 1:42.95. Mendoza-Brunotte was also the runner-up in the long jump competition.