Even after winning state championships in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles last year, Reid Pierzinski decided to switch up his offseason training regimen. Instead of getting in shape via long-distance runs, he spent ample time in the weight room this winter.
The results of his hard work were on display Saturday at the Class 1A state track and field meet at Hamline University, where the Pequot Lakes senior once again won both hurdles races. Pierzinski crossed the finish line for the 110 hurdles in 14.84 seconds and won the 300 hurdles in 38.48.
“I’m more built for sprinting than I was last year,” Pierzinski said, adding that he feels stronger than before. “I did a lot of weight training [this offseason] and really watched what I ate. … That’s definitely helped with everything this year.”
Pierzinski said that he ran the hurdles a bit cleaner at the state meet last year, where his 110 time was slightly faster. He dealt with several lingering injuries and rainy conditions at this year’s meet but still managed to defend his titles.
Riley sets two records
Minneapolis North senior T’Nia Riley set a state record in the 100-meter dash in prelims with a blazing 11.84. Her race in the finals wasn’t as fast, but Riley still bested the rest of the field at 11.96 seconds. Riley won last year’s 100, too, and appeared elated to have her name in the record books.
“It felt really good to know that I can do something really good and be recognized for it,” she said.
Riley also set a record in the 200, winning for the second consecutive year with a 24.44, more than a second faster than anyone else.
Heading into her final high school season, Riley worked on getting out of the blocks quicker and tweaking her form. The adjustments paid off, netting her two state records.
“It helped me with my weakest parts of my races,” she said.
Ping sisters go 1-2 in 1,600
After crossing the finish line within a second of one another, sisters Grace and Lauren Ping hugged in celebration as the rest of the field completed the 1,600 behind them.
Grace Ping, a Winona Cotter freshman, won in 4:57.86, while seventh-grader Lauren Ping finished in 4:58.25. The sisters each went home with a championship as Lauren Ping won the 3,200. Defending champion Tierney Wolfgram of Math & Science Academy placed third in the 1,600 at 5:01.34.
Gunnarson sets two records
Peyton Gunnarson set a record in the 100 wheelchair, pushing past the rest of the field to win by several lengths at 17.10. He also shattered the 200 wheelchair record by nearly 2 seconds at 30.86. The Lewiston-Altura freshman won both races last year as well.
Moore wins inaugural award
Samuel Moore won the inaugural Mr. Minnesota Track and Field Award, defending his championship in the shot put and placing second in discus. The Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale senior threw 62 feet, 3½ inches in the shot put and 180-4 in discus, behind only Mitchell Weber from St. Clair/Imannuel Lutheran.
State meet records
Girls’ pole vault: Julia Fixsen, junior, Mounds View, 13-9 ¼
Girls’ 3,200-meter run: Emily Covert, junior, Minneapolis Washburn, 10:06.19
Boys’ 4x200-meter relay: Hopkins (Jaylen Champion, King Allah, Sam Leervig, Joe Fahnbulleh), 1:26.37
Girls’ 100: T’Nia Riley, senior, Minneapolis North, 11.84
Girls’ 200: Riley, 24.44
Girls’ high jump: Nyalaam Jok, ninth grade, Annandale, 5-9
Boys’ 4x100 relay: Southwest Christian (Isaiah Colman, Josiah Colman, Alexander DuMoulin, Zach Ertel), 42.88
Boys’ 100 wheelchair: Peyton Gunnarson, freshman, Lewiston-Altura, 17.10
Boys’ 200 wheelchair: Gunnarson, 30.86