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Boys track and field: Johnson advances to state in shot put

Red Wing senior Luke Johnson competes in the shot put. He won the event and qualified for state with a toss of 57 feet, 7 1/2 inches. - RiverTown Newspaper Group photo by Matt Steichen1 / 2
Sam Whitebear, a Red Wing senior, runs in the 300 hurdles. He posted the fifth-fastest time in the event (41.99). - RiverTown Newspaper Group photo by Matt Steichen2 / 2

Luke Johnson qualified for state in the shot put with his performance Thursday at Lakeville South High School and Sam Whitebear qualified for the section finals in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. Bryant Blahnik also won the 800 prelims and advanced to the finals of the Section 1AA meet Saturday.

"I was very happy today," Red Wing coach Adam Nelson said. "Overall it was a very good day for us."

Johnson won the shot put by just one quarter of an inch. His winning mark of 57 feet, 7 1/2 inches was just barely ahead of second place finisher Joe Bjorklund from Rosemount.

Whitebear qualified with the eighth-fastest time in the 110 hurdles (17.44) and the fifth-fastest time in the 300 hurdles (41.99).

"Sam did extremely well today in the hurdles," Nelson said.

Blahnik recorded the fastest time in the 800 with a time 1 minute, 59.92 seconds. The next nearest runner was Chandler Dye of Rosemount and he finished with a time of 2:01.28.

Christian Leitner provided a pleasant surprise for Red Wing with his performance in the 3,200. He went into the race seeded 16th. His eighth-place finish (10:14.37) scored Red Wing one point.

"I couldn't be happier for Christian with his performance," Nelson said.