Good news, bad news for Mounds View boys track

There was plenty of bitterness and frustration in the voice of Mounds View High School boys track and field coach Ross Fleming on Saturday. A day removed from the finals of the Section 5AA meet and Fleming was still stinging from the disqualification of one of his athletes on Friday.

Junior Chris Johnston had the high jump competition won on Friday at Hamline University when he was disqualified because a teammate was observed videotaping four of Johnston's attempts from a restricted area earlier in the day. The ruling took away Johnston's section title and his spot in this week's state meet.

"Why should (Johnston) have to pay the price for someone else's actions?" Fleming said. "It blows me away."

Cameras, cell phones and similar electronic devices are prohibited by the Minnesota State High School League in certain areas of just about all league-sanctioned sporting events. In the case of track and field, the prohibition is in place, in part, to prevent athletes from gaining an unfair advantage during competition. Supposedly, the video could be shown to the athlete during a break in competition, like between attempts in such events as the high jump, pole vault or discus, and seeing it could help the athlete make adjustments during his/her next attempt.

Fleming said that was the reason he was given for the disqualification. Meet officials told him that the video could have been shown to Johnston during the meet, something that Fleming said did not happen.

"Of course, we're just sick about it," Fleming said. "But Chris is taking the high road. He has handled it better than most of the adults. I'm very proud of him"

The disqualification somewhat overshadowed an otherwise pretty good section meet for Mounds View. The Mustangs racked up 11 state entries, six for the girls' team and five for the boys.

Senior Laurissa Titterud is set for a busy state meet as she qualified in three different events. Titterud finished second in the 800 meters to make state in that event and then teamed up with five teammates to take second in two different relays. She took second in the 4x400-meter relay along with Nicole Balzer, Britta Messerly-Menk and Elizabeth Menne. The runner-up 4x800-meter relay team consisted of Titterud, Mara Herbert, Balzer and Carly Bandt.

Three other Mounds View girls also punched their tickets to the state meet. Ali Zimmerman is going to state in the triple jump after winning the section title in the event. Veronica Rasmussen also won a section championship in the discus while Paige Clements will pole vault at state after taking second at sections.

In addition to the individual section titles and the state qualifications, the Mustangs' girls team also celebrated a section team title. Mounds View amassed 141.5 points to easily beat runner-up Totino-Grace, which finished with 94 points.

For the boys, Sam Warnes and Ben Kramka are double event qualifiers. For the second straight year, Kramka and Warnes finished first and second, respectively, in the 800 meters at the section meet. They also joined forces with Tony Moga and Jack O'Brien to take second place in the 4x400-meter relay.

Mounds View's two other state entries for the boys came about via section championships. Jagger Gran won the title in the pole vault to return to state for the second time and first since his sophomore year in 2010. Zach Roozen, also a senior, clinched a state berth by winning the 1,600 meters.

The Mustangs' boys squad finished third in the section team standings behind champion Champlin Park and runner-up Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village.

Irondale

The Knights picked up six state entrants at the Section 5AA meet last week. Three came from the girls team and, obviously, the three others were from the boys squad.

Each team also has one double entrant. For the girls, it's senior Kiana Carter, who won the 400 meters and took second in the 200 meters to clinch state berths in both events.

James Kruse is the multiple-event entrant from the boys team. Kruse qualified for the state meet in the 200 meters despite finishing eighth in the finals. He made it to state by beating the state qualifying standard, which all nine finalists did.

Kruse will also run the 4x100-meter relay at state along with teammates Louis Johnson, KC Ogbonnaya and Sam Yankey. They qualified by finishing second in the event.

Emma Kanning and Ben Ojika are Irondale's other state entrants. Kanning made state by winning the section title in the pole vault while Ojika is headed to state in the 110-meter hurdles thanks to his runner-up section performance.

St. Anthony

Senior David Shadduck is St. Anthony's lone state entrant and he is set to participate in two events. Shadduck won the 200-meter dash and joined three teammates from Spring Lake Park High School in winning the 4x200-meter relay

Suburban East Conference meet

Mounds View picked up seven event titles at the Suburban East Conference championship meet on May 25 at East Ridge High School.

Zimmerman became the first Mounds View girl to ever win three events in one conference meet when she claimed first place in the high jump, long jump and triple jump.

Other SEC titles for Mounds View included Titterud winning the 800 meters, Kai Mason taking first in the 100-meter dash and Clements winning the pole vault.

On the boys' side, Mounds View's lone SEC crown went to Gran in the pole vault.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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