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Five story lines

By David La Vaque, Star Tribune, 04/04/12, 10:34PM CDT


Five themes to watch this spring in track and field

St. Francis junior Maggie Ewen is the defending Class 2A champion in shot put and discus.

St. Francis junior Maggie Ewen deserted her shot put and discus contemporaries last spring, leaving only the record books to challenge her supremacy. Ewen is the defending state champion in both events. She reset the state record with a discus throw of 166 feet, 8 inches last May. The boys' competition will be tougher. Andover senior Thomas Anderson won the shot put title and his best mark was three-quarters of an inch from the state meet record. He also placed second in discus. Champlin Park senior Bryce Johnson placed third in shot put and fourth in discus at the state meet.

Richfield junior Jessica January and Park of Cottage senior R.J. Alowonle run the hurdle events with a rhythm their peers struggle to match. January has won two consecutive 100 hurdles titles and owns the state record. Since first reaching the state meet in seventh grade, January boasts six All-State finishes in hurdles events. A disqualification last spring kept her from repeating as the 300 champion. Alowonle swept the 110 and 300 hurdles titles last season, winning his second consecutive 300 crown in the process.

Not only did Hopkins defend its Minnesota State High School League Class 2A championship, the Royals edged Mounds View for their first Class 3A True Team title. That depth will be tested. Graduation claimed runners who scored 18 individual points at the MSHSL state meet as well as parts of four All-State relays worth 40 points.

The 100- and 3,200-meter races and discus throw have been added for this season. In addition, the MSHSL will allow wheelchair competitors to share the track with runners and a weighted point system will enable "wheelers" to contribute to the team score. Five will compete this season: Mark Braun (Irondale), Rose Hollermann (Waterville- Elysian-Morristown), Jackson Larson (Cambridge-Isanti), Kathryn Lubahn (Pine Island) and JoLynn Super (Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village). Hollermann won the Class 1A 800- and 1,600- meter events last year while Lubahn won the shot put title.

High school distance running's best rivalry concludes this spring. Alexandria senior Jamie Piepenberg goes for her third 3,200-meter title in four seasons, but Shakopee junior Maria Hauger is sure to challenge. Hauger beat Piepenberg in 2010 and placed second to her in 2009 and 2011. Piepenberg also won the 1,600 race in 2010. And watch for Albert Lea junior Christina Monson. She won the 1,600 last year and was third in the 3,200 the past two seasons.



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