Mustangs chasing state titles at true team meet

There is a decent amount of turnover in terms of the teams competing in this week's Class AAA state true team track and field meet. Eight teams (five boys and three girls) that competed in last year's meet failed to qualify this season.

Despite that turnover, last year's champions are back to defend those titles, forcing the other teams in the meet to once again have to try and unseat the top dogs.

Both teams from Mounds View High School are among those trying to stop the winning streaks of the top teams. The Mustangs' boys team is one of eight looking to end Wayzata's two-year dominance in true team. On the girls' side, Mounds View is chasing three-time defending champion Lakeville South.

The last team other than Lakeville South to claim the girls true team state title was Hopkins in 2011. The Royals edged Mounds View by 2 1/2 points that year.

Coupled with Minnetonka's championship in 2012, Wayzata's back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014 have given the Lake Conference the last three boys state championships. Rosemount, in 2011, was the last non-Lake Conference team to win it all.

Mounds View got their teams to state by winning yet another set of section championships. The girls team extended its section winning streak to 11 while the boys claimed their 19th section title in the last 20 years.

Relay teams come out on top

As is customary in Section 6AAA, Mounds View and Roseville battled it out for the girls championship. The Mustangs won this year's meet by a fairly comfortable 125 points.

Mounds View claimed 11 individual event wins and added nine runner-up finishes. The Mustangs took first and second in five different events and went 1-2-3 in the shot put.

Mounds View was dominant in both throwing events, outscoring Roseville by 30 1/2 points in the two events. Veronica Rasmussen, who is headed to the University of Minnesota on a track scholarship this fall, won both the shot put and discus. Cassidy Smestad, who recently signed to throw at Truman State next season, was second in the shot put and fourth in the discus. Leah Klein was second in the discus and third in the shot.

Other 1-2 finishes came in the triple jump by Kacey Davitt and Noelle Reynolds, the 1,600 meters by Emma Bangert and Christine Hessini, and the 100-meter dash by Mikayla Toninato and Elizabeth Menne.

Menne added a win in the 200-meter dash, Rachel Clark won the 3,200 meters to give Mounds View a sweep of first in the distance races and Julia Fixsen took home first place in the high jump.

Mounds View's three other event wins came in relays as it took first in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x800-meter relays. Sarah Johnston, Emmy Michaelson, Toninato and Reynolds won the 4x100; the 4x200 went to Annalee Blake, Michaelson, Mari Coltvet and Maddie Quickstad; and the 4x800 team consisted of Erin Saemrow, Jordan Nustad, Mara Balzer and Bangert.

In the boys' meet, Mounds View wasn't as dominant, but a third team entered the fray and kept the second-place team from staying close to the Mustangs. Mounds View scored 1,020.5 points and beat runner-up North St. Paul by 142.5 points. Roseville was third, 218 points behind Mounds View.

The Mustangs won four individual events and added eight runner-up performances. They went 1-2 in two events and 1-3 in a third.

Individuals stand out

Head coach Ross Fleming singled out the three athletes who competed in the 800 and 1,600-meter races. Alex Plasencia, Devon McDonald and Tim Pease all ran in both events.

"They pulled a very difficult double and all (ran personal bests)," Fleming said. "Those two events kept pace with North as they blitzed us in the sprints."

In the 1,600, Plasencia ran third, McDonald took fourth and Pease finished sixth and all three finished ahead of all three of North’s runners. They did the same in the 800 as Pease was second, Plasencia third and McDonald fifth.

Mounds View struggled in the three sprints as it its best finishes were fourth and sixth in the 400 and fifth in the 200. No other competitor in those events finished higher than 11th. North St. Paul took first in all three races.

In terms of points earned, Mounds View top two events were the 110-meter hurdles and the high jump. Senior Matt Baker led the team in both with first-place finishes. John McMillan was third and Charles Etuko sixth in the 110 hurdles as Mounds View scored 74 points. Etuko was second and Jake Zastrow eighth as Mounds View added 70 points in the high jump.

The pole vault was another strong event for the Mustangs as Joseph Eggers took first, Hayden Oliver was second and Calvin Cignanik took 10th.

Mounds View's other event victory came in the 4x800-meter relay as Hans Adamsson, Henry Henson, Ben Snuggergrud and Grant Delaune teamed up to win the event by more than six seconds.

Irondale

The Knights also competed at the Section 6AAA. The girls took third and the boys were fifth.

Irondale's girls team won three events and freshman Julia Hayes had a hand in all of them. She claimed two firsts on her own as she won both the 100 and 300-meter hurdle races. She also teamed up with Lix Axberg, Michelle Meyer and Emily Brandt to win the 4x400-meter relay and record the fourth-fastest time in program history.

The Knights' boys team also won the 4x400-meter relay as Adam Kelner, Ryan Sully, Anthony Axberg and Branden Boleman combined to beat runner-up Mounds View by just over two seconds.

In addition to the 4x400 win, the Knights also shone brightly in the open sprints. In the 100-meter dash, Victor James ran second, Alex Kelner was third and Sam Vossler took fifth. Kelner took second in the 400, Vossler was fifth and Warren ran seventh. Kelner was also the runner-up in the 200 and Vossler was third.

Irondale added a victory in the triple jump as Bryce Warren sailed 45 feet, 4 1/2 inches to win by more than 13 inches. Sam Frantz had a strong pole vault and finished second by clearing 12 feet, six inches.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village

A pair of St. Anthony Village High School seniors put together some strong performances for their co-op teams.

Nick Lawson ran the grueling 1,600/3,200 meter double and came away with a first and second. He won the 1,600 meters by nearly two seconds and was runner-up in the 3,200 to a runner who competed in just one event in the meet.

Charlotte Wolf finished sixth or better in three events. Her highest finish was third in the long jump and she added a fifth in the 400 and a sixth in the 200.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.
 

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