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Track and Field: Red Wing's Connelly, Armstrong state bound

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Two Wingers have already their tickets punched for the state track and field meet.

During Day 1 of the Section 1AA championship meet at Lakeville South High School on Thursday, Red Wing junior thrower Nick Connelly and seventh-grade distance runner Jasmyn Armstrong have qualified for the state meet in the boys shot put and the girls 3,200-meter run, respectively.

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In both the prelims and the finals, Connelly saved his best for last. Connelly got into the finals after throwing a personal-best distance of 53 feet, 1 inch. Then on his last throw of the day, Connelly set another personal record with a throw of 54-9 ¼, which surpassed the state standard of 54-5. Connelly finished in third behind Owatonna’s Andrew Stelter (56-4 ¾) and Rochester John Marshall’s Isaiah Minnich (55-7 ¼).

“Nick was doing really well in practice. Two days leading up to today, he was throwing some PRs in practice and we weren’t sure where they were coming from,” Red Wing head boys track coach Tony Casci said. “All spring he’s been working hard in the weight room and it’s finally paying off. He had a PR in prelims by two feet, and then added another foot to that in the finals.”

On the track, Armstrong blocked out the heat and stayed with Rochester John Marshall’s Emma Christensen as the rest of the pack fell behind. Thanks to a quick start, Armstrong qualified for state after a second-place finish with a time of 11:18.31. Christensen won with a time of 11:07.12.

“She kind of made it a two-girl race, and due to the hot conditions, nobody else wanted to go with (Christensen) and Jasmyn,” said Wingers girls coach Jesse Nelson. “She pretty much ran in second the whole race. Her risk on taking off right away paid off and she qualified for the state meet.”

After Thursday’s prelims, five girls and five boys will compete in finals on Saturday’s championship meet back at Lakeville.

Two Red Wing girls, Emily Hart and Elayna Meyer, qualified for Saturday’s 400 dash championship race. Hart was fifth on Thursday with a time of 1:01.33, while Meyer finished sixth at 1:01.86. Another Winger pair, Kianna Stewart (2:23.15) and Elise Leise (2:26.23), qualified for the 800 finals after placing sixth and ninth, respectively.

Senior Emily Stegora was a two-event qualifier, reaching the finals after a fourth-place time in the 100 hurdles (16.16) and a seventh-place time in the 300 hurdles (47.97).

For the boys, Frankie Drazkowski qualified for the finals in two events, with a ninth-place finish in the 100 (11.81) and a fourth-place finish in the 200 (23.61). Joining Drazkowski in the 200 finals is teammate Omonte Bowens, who placed seventh on Thursday at 23.64.

Senior Darrick Jackson, who reached state in the 800 last year, is in the hunt for a return to Hamline University after getting the No. 2 seed in the 400 with a time of 51.32. His time is .01 seconds faster than the third-place time by Austin’s Connor Sheehan.

Two other seniors, Aiden Winn and Lucas Knowlton, reached finals as Winn placed seventh in the 800 (2:01.68) while Knowlton was fifth in the 300 hurdles (41.16).

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The Red Wing Republican Eagle covers local sports in Goodhue County and surrounding areas. 
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