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Fairmont’s Thompson 2nd in state 3,200 run, breaks school mark

STATE RUNNER-UP — Fairmont’s Laura Thompson (right), shown leading the Section 2 field in the 3,200-meter run last Saturday in Mankato, captured second-place honors during Thursday’s Class A state 2-mile competition at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael. Thompson also broke her own school record in the 3,200 in the process. (Photo by Greg Abel/Sentinel Archives)

ST. MICHAEL — After capturing Class A state runner-up honors in the 3,200-meter run and eclipsing her own school-record time –10:54.40 — on Thursday night at the St. Michael-Albertville track facility, Fairmont junior long-distance phenom Laura Thompson flashed a wide smile.

A bit ironic considering how, during her outstanding five-year varsity running career, Thompson has received good-natured ribbing from family and friends within her inner running circle — now and then — for her trademark painful facial expressions during both track & field and cross country competitions.

“I really don’t think about it anymore. I’ve accepted that’s how I run and the look I get,” Thompson said with a grin and a laugh.

Thompson’s quick start in Thursday’s 2-mile run, combined with her incredible last-lap closing kick, likely prevented potential smiles by the two opponents — Murray County Central’s Amanda Overgaauw and Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Natasha Sortland — she passed during the final stretch run to earn the silver medal.

Running in fourth place overall heading into the eighth and final lap of the 3,200, Thompson executed the pre-meet game plan created by Fairmont head coach Bob Bonk and Cardinal assistant coach Stew Murfield by biding her time before using her strength and endurance to nearly nip Class A state champion Jade Rypkema of Nevis at the wire. Rypkema won with a time of 10:54.32.

“I was trying to go around her (Rypkema) on the outside, but I couldn’t quite catch her,” said Thompson, who broke her own Fairmont High School 2-mile girls record of 11:02 set back in mid-May. “I thought the first mile was slower than normal. I expected everybody would go out hard since it’s a state meet, but no one stepped up to take the lead, so I did.”

Thompson paced the 17-runner field through the initial three laps before Overgaauw and Rypkema passed her at the midway juncture.

“I always go out pretty hard and I tried to get someone to take the lead earlier in the race because I didn’t want them to draft,” said Thompson. “I dropped back a couple of spots during the fourth lap and then stuck right with them before making a move at the end.”

Overgaauw held off Sortland for the bronze medal, 10:55.12-10:56.25, while Luverne teammates Tenley Nelson and Jenna DeBates rounded out the 3,200 run’s top six with respective times of 11:08.71 and 11:11.78.

Martin County West’s Katie Hartke ran a solid race, holding down the 11th position after the first lap with a time of 1:23.63. The Maverick freshman phenom then held steady for the next six circuits in the 12th spot before finishing in 13th place in 12:01.07.

Thompson and Rypkema square off again today when the Fairmont junior and Nevis sophomore line up in Lanes 4 and 5, respectively, at 4:40 p.m. in the Class A 1,600-meter state championship run at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

Class A Girls 3,200-Meter Run

1. Jade Rypkema (Nevis) 10:54.32; 2. Laura Thompson (Fairmont) 10:54.40; 3. Amanda Overgaauw (Murray County Central) 10:55.12; 4. Natasha Sortland (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) 10:56.25; 5. Tenley Nelson (Luverne) 11:08.71; 6. Jenna DeBates (Luverne) 11:11.78; 7. Kristine Kalthoff (Albany) 11:27.29; 8. Kyanna Burton (Staples-Motley) 11:38.50; 9. Carly Chaney (Pequot Lakes) 11:41.12; 10. Sonja Semling (Cotter) 11:42.81; 11. Mary Miller (Maple Lake) 11:50.03; 12. Greta Hansen (Math & Science Academy) 11:58.91; 13. Katie Hartke (Martin County West) 12:01.07; 14. Molly Liston (The Blake School) 12:12.63; 15. Lydia Floden (East Grand Forks) 12:21.66; 16. Liz Nelson (Mountain Iron-Buhl) 12:22.87; 17. Lizzy Harnell (Proctor) 12:24.65.

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