Area tracksters gear up for state competition
ST. MICHAEL — A dozen local student-athetes are preparing for the state track and field meet today through Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
Class A preliminaries start at 3:30 p.m. today with the finals on Friday, also starting at 3:30 p.m. The Class AA prelims start at 9 a.m. Friday, and the finals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Fairmont’s Sawyer Tordsen, Hank Artz, Nelson Remington, Macy Hanson and Bella Larson compete in the Class AA meet, while Blue Earth Area’s Addison Armstrong and the Bucs’ boys 4×100-meter relay team of Nick Nelson, Gage Backer, Jack Norman and Jacob Grandgenett, plus Madelia/Truman/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Jayhawks’ sprinter Ryan Koberoski and long-distance runner Josiah DeMaris compete in the Class A meet.
“We have a send-off at 1 p.m. (today),” Fairmont head coach Jesse Walters said. “We’ll get up there and let the kids get acclimated and relax before the meet starts the following day.”
Tordsen is the defending Class AA discus champion and set the meet record of 156 feet, 9 inches last year. The Minnesota all-time record is 196-2, set last year by Rosemount’s Hayden Bills.
Tordsen currently has the second-longest throw of each section champion this year of 164-9. The only person ahead of him is Litchfield’s TJ Christensen, who had a throw of 165-10. Both are in Flight 2.
“He’s set a goal to repeat as champion and Hank is ranked pretty high in his events,” Walters said. “Both are ready to go and practiced well.”
Tordsen’s teammate Hank Artz also is in the discus. His throw of 154-6 puts him in the top six of state meet competitors.
The others in Flight 2 of the discus are St. Francis’ Philip Conant, Waseca’s Eddie Herman, Plainview-Elgin-Millville’s Ashton Kisch, Rockford’s Josiah Zilmer, Jordan’s Elijah Hagen, St. Peter’s Luke Banks, Stewartville’s Torasbjorn Lunaas and Christensen.
Artz also is competing in the shot put. His throw of 52-10 in the section meet is third among state meet competitors behind Fergus Falls’ Alexander Jenson (55-6) and Christenson (53-9 1/4).
Artz is in Flight 2, along with Lunaas, Mound-Weston’s Samual Dioszeghy, St. Cloud Tech’s Derrick Cox-Payton, Rocori’s Grady Minnerath, Proctor’s Josh Monreal, Tordsen, Christensen and Jensen.
In Flight 1 looms Jackson County Central standout Caleb Vancura, who has been dominant this season. He is capable of winning the shot put.
Grand Rapids’ Jackson Weston won last year with a class-record throw of 58-2 and the Minnesota all-time record was set in 2012 by Andover’s Thomas Anderson (65-4 1/4).
Fairmont’s second defending state champion is Nelson Remington, who is competing in the 100-, 200- and 800-meter wheelchair events.
In the 100, Remington set the Class AA record last year with a time of 18.75 and his section time he set last week is 17.51. Winona’s Devin Flizen is Remington’s competition in this event.
Remington’s time in the 200 in the section meet is 31.69. Filzen also is in the event and his section time is 38.3.
The Minnesota state record is 16.15, set last year by Mankato Loyola’s Aiden Gravelle.
Duluth Denfeld’s Blake Eaton won the 200 event in 2022 with a class-record time of 36.18 and Remingron could break the Minnesota state record, set last year by Gravelle (30.49).
Remington will go for the gold medal trifecta in the 800 and Filzen is his competition. Remington’s section time is 2:10.78, compared to Filzen’s 2:43.03.
Duluth Denfeld’s Blake Eaton set the 800 class record last year at 2:30.28, and the Minnesota state record is 1:55.85, set in 2012 by Irondale’s Mark Braun.
For the Fairmont girls, Hanson is in the mile run in the state meet. She is looking to earn a medal and her seed time is 10:56.59, which is third behind Hutchinson’s Isabelle Schmitz (10:54.10) and Willmar’s Lauren Eilers (10:55.26).
Albany’s Olivia Goebel is the AA record holder and the 2022 two-mile champion with her time of 10:34.4.
“Nelson has a good chance to win his three events, which would be good,” Walters said. “Bella is close to the other kids in the high jump. A big group of them are within a few inches of each other. It’s a wide-open field for Bella, and Macy has the third-fastest time after the sectionals and looks strong in the mile.”
Fairmont’s Larson is in the middle of the pack among the 18 state meet high jump competitors.
The girl with the highest seed mark coming in is Two Rivers’ Taylor Taurinskas’ 5-6. Detroit Lake’s Grace Gunderson cleared 5-5 in her section meet.
Fergus Falls’ Ainsley Hansen won the event a year ago and also set a new AA record with the mark of 5-7.
In the A state meet, BEA’s Armstrong looks to medal in the pole vault. Her seed mark of 5-8 is tied for second with two others, Park Rapids’ Morgan Koppelman and Perham’s Gracie Morris.
Legacy Christian Academy’s Cecily Fager, who cleared 11-3 in her section meet, has the best mark heading into the state meet.
The class record is 12-7, set in 2019 by Perham’s Ashley Hokanson, and the 2022 winner is Fager, who looks for a repeat this season.
For the boys, the top two teams in each heat plus the next five best times make the finals the following day in the 4×100 relay.
BEA’s Nelson, Barker, Norman and Grandgenett are in Heat 2 with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Nova Classical Academy, Perham, Chatfield, BOLD/BLH, Moose Lake/Willow River, Park Rapids Area and Mesagi East participants.
Minneapolis North Community set the class record last year with a time of 42.57. The Minnesota all-time record is 39.76 set in 2015 by the Eagan team.
Koberoski and his seed mark time of 50.68 — the fourth lowest among runners in the 400 — is in Heat 2. The top two in each heat, plus the next five best times, make the finals. Joining Koberoski in Heat 2 are Luverne’s Lucky Dara, Pierz’s Derek Stangl, St. Croix Lutheran’s Will Olson, Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s RJ Sylak, Cromwell-Wright’s Roma Jacques, Mounds Park’s Griffin Jones, and Barnesville’s Braeden Bredman.
The 2022 champ was Greenway/Nashwauk’s Taevon Wells and the class record was set in 1996 by Waconia’s Tom Gerding (47.66).
The Minnesota all-time mark was set last year by Farmington’s Ramy Ayoub. (47.34).
DeMaris takes his seed time of 10:01.49 into the state meet, which is 10th among the 19 two-mile participants.
Rochester Lourdes’ Mike Torchia set the class record of 8:59.19 in 2006 and last year’s winner was Nova Classical Acadmy’s Finn McCormick with a time of 9:27.2.