BEA’s Lindsey, FHS’ Thompson medal at state track meet

STATE MEDALIST — Blue Earth Area’s Thomas Lindsey pushes away the pole after elevating and clearing the bar during the Class A state track & field meet on Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul. Lindsey went on to capture a bronze medal in the field event. (Photo by Greg Abel)

ST. PAUL — Fairmont advanced in four events, while one Cardinal runner and one Blue Earth Area Buc competitor claimed medals during Day 1 at the Class A state track & field meet at Hamline University.

Laura Thompson claimed Fairmont’s first medal of the two-day meet on Friday. Thompson stayed firmly near 10th place throughout the first seven laps of the 3,200-meter run, then turned on the jets for the final 400 meters to advance two positions and claim an eighth-place medal in 11:43.79.

Winona Cotter siblings Lauren Ping (10:39.34) and Grace Ping (10:50.19) took first and second place, respectively, in the 2-mile run.

Blue Earth Area’s Thomas Lindsey took a bronze medal in the pole vault when he cleared 14 feet, 3 inches. Lindsey finished behind Rockford’s Austin Schloeder (14-6) and Plainview-Elgin Millville’s Jacob Munsch (15-0).

Four boys’ events on the track will feature Fairmont runners during Day 2 action today in St. Paul.

The first Cardinals to advance to today’s finals were the members of the 4×200-meter relay team of Hudson Artz, Dylan Kennedy, Andrew Moeller and Caden Baarts. Fairmont’s foursome finished the relay in 1:31.95 for sixth place. The crew finished third in their heat to take the advancing position.

Kennedy became the next area runner to qualify in the 400-meter dash. Kennedy improved his seeding time by .22 of a second to finish the race in 51.04 and take the ninth and final advancing spot for today’s event.

Moeller then finished the boys’ 800-meter dash two seconds faster than his section time of 1:57.4 for a personal-best and the seventh spot to gain today’s finals.

Moeller was fifth in his heat halfway through the race, then took fourth on the penultimate turn and passed into third as he entered the final straightaway.

The final advancing Cardinals came with an impressive performance.

Fairmont’s 4×400 relay team of Jordan Wolter, Artz, Moeller and Kennedy took 4.51 seconds off its qualifying time to finish with the best Day 1 time at 3:24.15. Wolter started the relay in the middle lane and handed off to Artz in a near tie for second before Artz jumped ahead coming out of his second turn.

Artz handed to Moeller with a 15-meter lead, which Moeller maintained through his handoff to Kennedy. Kennedy finished a full 1.84 seconds ahead of second-place Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta.

Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk said the 4×400 relay highlighted the success of the meet.

“The 4×400 was a heck of a punctuation mark again, that was fabulous,” Bonk said. “To be as good as they’ve been all year and still take four seconds off, once you get really good, it gets really hard to even take one second off. All four of the guys just did fabulously. You can’t single any one of them out because they all did great. I think all four probably ran the fastest splits of their life.

“Andrew’s 800, that was one of our best in school history and a big personal best for him. Dylan battled to get that last spot in the 400 and the 4×200 did a good job. That was our best time this year and probably a top-five time in school history. Those four events they made it in all performed remarkably well.”

The Cardinal girls 4×200 relay team of Karalyn Closs, Jenna Gustafson, Grace Higgins and Joni Becker finished with a time of 1:49.32 for 11th place, while Becker ran the 400 in 1:00.94 for 15th overall. Neither the relay or Becker individually qualified for today’s finals.

The 4×400 team of Closs, Becker, Corene Moeller and Thompson ran a time of 4:16.38 for 15th place in the final girls’ event of the day. The squad stayed near the middle of the race until a dropped baton knocked it out of contention.

In the high jump, both Fairmont’s Bethany Linse and Blue Earth Area’s Sophie Keister cleared 5-0. Keister finished in 13th place, while Linse finished 14th.

In the girls’ discus, Martin County West’s Makena Larson recorded no distance due to scratching on her throws.

Bonk said though none of the girls’ events advanced to Day 2, he was proud of the efforts and performances.

“I thought Laura’s 3,200 was just fabulous,” Bonk said. “It equalled her best time on a really tough day to run distance, much hotter than the ideal. I know the girls feel bad about the 4×400, but Laura would have had to run on the anchor almost five seconds faster than she had ever run in her life.

“It was unfortunate to drop the baton, but in the big picture it didn’t prevent us from advancing. Where we didn’t make it, it wasn’t that we didn’t run well, but state is some tough competition.”

The Cardinals get in the starting blocks again when Day 2 of the Class A meet begins at 3:30 today at Hamline University.

Along with the four boys’ events, Fairmont’s Ellie Hernes will try for gold in the triple jump, BEA’s Ben Babcock will leap in the long jump and Martin County West’s Makena Larson will heave the shot put.