New for this season, one boy and one girl will be selected the state’s top track and field athletes.
1. Record starts
Stubborn April snow altered the measurements for quantifying track and field success. Inches are about the amount of white stuff covering the track. Time is the countdown until athletes can get outside. Competitions indoors on March 31, however, saw two record performances. Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn ran the 3,200-meter race in Mankato in 10 minutes, 13.28 seconds, the fastest time in the nation so far this season. Her time ranks third in Minnesota history. Mounds View’s Julia Fixsen set a state pole vault record. She cleared the bar at 13 feet, 9 inches at the University of Minnesota. Their places in state annals are based on rankings maintained by former Wayzata cross-country coach Bill Miles and current Champlin Park cross-country coach Kevin Moorhead. Highly regarded in track circles, their lists include records set at indoor or outdoor competitions, both within and beyond Minnesota or during the summer months beyond an athlete’s graduation.
2. New individual honors
New this season, one boy and one girl will be crowned as the state’s best. Mr. and Ms. Track and Field awards presented by the sport’s coaches association will attempt to accomplish the difficult task of recognizing top competitors in a sport featuring myriad events. “As far as we know, Minnesota is the only state that has a coaches association present this type of award,” said Aaron Berndt, association vice president and Wayzata boys’ coach. “It should be fun and a good way to generate more interest.” Athletes nominated by the end of the section meets will be whittled to 10 semifinalists for each gender. Three finalists will be determined in the days leading up to the state meet. Winners will be announced June 9 at Hamline University, home of the Minnesota State High School League state meets.
3. Expanding True Team state meet
The True Team state meet is expanding from nine teams per class to 12. That means more chances for teams to gauge their depth because the scoring format counts every athlete competing toward their team’s total. There are three classes of True Team track and increasing the number of teams within each creates more opportunity and excitement, Berndt said. The meet takes place May 18-19 at Stillwater High School.
David La Vaque