Edina sprinter Devin Crawford-Tufts showcased equal parts talent and tenacity at Friday’s Elite Meet.
The future Gophers football player ran to victories in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, events he won on the same Hamline University track last June in the Class 2A state meet.
But there was something else on his mind Friday.
“I actually wanted to win the 4x100 relay,” Crawford-Tufts said. “We had a meet earlier this year where we didn’t do as well so we came in today wanting to show everybody what we could do.”
Taking the baton for the anchor leg, Crawford-Tufts chased down “three or four” runners en route to a stirring victory for the Hornets.
With the state meet more than a month away, Crawford-Tufts still doesn’t feel he’s peaked. A nagging left shoulder injury suffered during football season, along with a stiff wind Friday, took the edge off his top-end speed.
But he’s determined to keep the competition from noticing.
“I won’t be letting my guard down at all,” he said. “I know all these guys are out to get me.”
Sandle’s big leap
Eden Prairie’s Michael Sandle found out Wednesday he would compete in Friday’s Elite Meet, an event he admittedly knew nothing about.
“I thought I’d be competing against college kids,” he said.
He would have fit in. Already the owner of the all-time triple jump record (49 feet, 5½ inches) at the state meet, Sandle posted a mark of 50 feet, 3¼ inches on Friday. The overall state record is 50-4.
Even on his first jump, Sandle sensed something big was ahead. “My coach told me on my first jump I was a little out of control and that was a 49-11.”
Dyson defends title
Roseville’s Becca Dyson held the eighth-best seed time in the 1,600 field. Ahead of her were all-state runners such as Shakopee’s Maria Hauger (No. 1 seed) and St. Louis Park’s Mara Olson (No. 6).
But Dyson, the Elite Meet champion in the 1,600 last year, was poised to defend her title.
“This is the first meet where I came in knowing I’d won before,” Dyson said. “The pressure was on a little bit.”
She handled it in true veteran fashion, passing Hauger on the final lap.
• St. Francis sophomore Maggie Ewen won the discus throw and shot put events, setting a new meet record in the latter.
• Buffalo’s Jerome Begin swept the 110 and 300 hurdle events.
• Bagley/Fosston’s Analisa Huschle won the long jump and 200 dash.
• Despite a weather-shortened spring season and a stiff wind on Friday, seven meet records were set.
A potent mix of state champions and record holders give the Hamline Elite track and field meet talent to match the event title.
The sixth running of the meet begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul, home of the state meets in June. Friday’s meet is a scaled down version. Only athletes who have posted top marks this spring can take part and gauge their place among some of the state’s best performers.
On the boys’ side, four defending state champions will be on display: Devin Crawford-Tufts (Edina), Mason Ferlic (Mounds Park Academy), Michael Sandle (Eden Prairie) and Trevor Yedoni (Benilde-St. Margaret’s).
Crawford-Tufts won the Class 2A state titles in the 100 and 200 sprints. Yedoni claimed the high jump crown and Sandle set a new state record in the triple jump. In Class 1A, Ferlic won the 3,200. All four will compete in those events Friday.
The one-class format of the Elite Meet allows for showdowns like Ferlic against top Class 2A competitors Josh Thorson of Wayzata, who won the event at last year’s Elite Meet and took fourth in the Class 2A state meet, Edina’s Aldis Inde (seventh at state) and St. Francis’s Adam Zutz (ninth). Also of note, Ferlic and Zutz won state cross country titles in their respective classes last fall.
On the girls’ side, watch for performances with Elite Meet record-setting potential. Ten meet records were broken last season, seven by girls. Four of them return: St. Paul Highland Park’s Erica Dombro (400), Fergus Falls’s Haylie Zenner (800), Shakopee’s Maria Hauger (3,200) and St. Francis’s Maggie Ewen (discus throw).
And the one-class format makes for several healthy battles. Pipestone’s Bree Woelber and Richfield’s Jessica January will face-off in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Woelber has won both events at the Class 1A state meet during her career while January swept the hurdles at the Class 2A state meet last season, setting an all-time record in the 100.
Hauger, the 2010 Class 2A state champion in the 3,200, will get pushed by a familiar face – runner-up Jamie Piepenburg of Alexandria.
And a pair of state champions, Eastview’s Alex Beckman (Class 2A) and Bagley/Fosston’s Analisa Huschle (1A), are the front-runners in the triple jump. Huschle holds the state’s all-time mark in the event.
Analisa Huschle, of Bagley/Fosston leaped through the air at the girls long jump during the Hamline Elite Meet. Kyndell Harkness