Track: Wingers, Bombers compete at 1AA True Team meet
With just two outdoor meets prior to Tuesday, the track and field season still felt like it was in its infant stage for the Red Wing boys and girls track and field teams.
But in Tuesday's Section 1AA True Team meet, both Wingers squads had to grow up in a hurry as the weather-shortened season is nearing the end.
"With the inexperience we have, as far as who's competing, without much meet experience, that kind of plays a part," Red Wing head boys track coach Adam Nelson said. "That kind hurts the guys who have developed a lot in the last year. But it was fun to see the guys compete tonight."
Girls head coach Jesse Nelson added, "Everybody's in the same boat. Every team was in their second or third outdoor meet. All things considered, our girls did awesome. The thing I feel bad about is for the newcomers who weren't able to compete because of the weather. The lineup would have been different if we had seven meets under our belt instead of two."
With a trip to the state True Team championship on the line, the Red Wing girls finished in fifth place with a team score of 348, while the boys took sixth with 352.
Plainview-Elgin-Millville took the section title in the girls' meet with a score of 528. Winona took second with 440 and will be entered in a wild-card meet with the other section runner-ups to claim another spot at state. For the boys, Byron finished ahead of Winona in the final race - the 4x400-meter relay - to take first place with 468 points, six points ahead of the second-place Winhawks. Winona will get one more opportunity to make state as a wild-card team.
The state True Team championship will begin May 17 at Stillwater High School.
Tuesday's section meet got off to a phenomenal start for the Winger girls when the 4x800 relay team of Kianna Stewart, McKenzie Muelken, Elle Bryant and Elise Leise took first place with a time of 10 minutes, 17.92 seconds.
"Kianna had a great, great race, putting our 4x8 in great position," Jesse Nelson said. "McKenzie Muelken had a big personal record in our 4x8, and Elle dropped about 10 or 15 seconds in her 4x8 as well. ... Elise had a great meet, and that started by anchoring that 4x8."
Leise reached the top of the podium again in the 800, as the eighth-grader took first with a time of 2:29.93.
Junior Emily Stegora contributed 55 points as an individual, taking first in the 300 hurdles (49.40), third in the long jump (16 feet, 3.25 inches) and fourth in the 100 hurdles (16.45). She also ran the anchor in the 4x100 relay team that finished in third (52.87).
"Emily Stegora is a stud," Jesse Nelson said.
Jennifer Salter chipped into the Wingers' score with a fourth-place finish in the shot put and a seventh-place showing in the discus. A transfer from Eastview (Apple Valley), Salter's shot put went 33 -6, while her discus throw went 93-4.
"She showed what she can do in both the shot and disc," Jesse Nelson said. "Those were her best throws of the year for sure; maybe even personal records."
For the Red Wing boys, junior Aiden Winn had the team's top finish, taking third in the 800 with a time of 2:06.06. He also competed in the 1,600, finishing in fifth (4:42.91).
"(In the 800), Aiden, along with Tanner Alms taking sixth (2:10.06), that's faster than they have run before," Adam Nelson said.
Darrick Jackson added a fourth-place finish in the 400 (51.82), and Tyler Rea finished fifth in both the 110 and 300 hurdles in 17.10 and 44.10, respectively. In the thrower's circles, Nick Connelly had a pair of fourth-place finishes in the shot put (43-5.5) and discus (128-1.5).
"He had a heck of a night," Adam Nelson said of Connelly.
Adam Nelson added, "We had a lot of PRs (personal records) today, but our inexperience showed today. We're a young team, but our boys came out and performed. We finished about where I thought we would."
The Cannon Falls' boys and girls track teams also competed in the section meet, with both teams taking 10th place. The Bomber boys had 168.50 points, while the girls finished with 234.5.
Coming up with 40 individual points, junior Emi Trost had a clean sweep in the distance running events, taking first in the 1,600 (5:02.19) and the 3,200 (11:20.41). Trost won the 1,600 by over 29 seconds, and crushed the field in the 3,200, winning by over 53 seconds.
For the Cannon Falls boys, senior Nick VanWatermeulen had the team's top finish, finishing in a tie for third in the pole vault with a height of 12-6. Alex Bultena took fifth in the high jump with a leap of 5-8.
Tuesday's True Team section meet will be the last in Red Wing for the foreseeable future. The section coaches voted to move the meet to Winona next year.
On Wednesday, the Winger boys and girls host Missota Conference rival Academy of Holy Angels in a dual meet.