Fun, business on Bemidji's agenda
ST. PAUL - Bemidji will have five girls competing in five different events at the state Class 2-A track and field meet at Hamline University and the quest for state honors begins at 9 a.m. today when Maea Wall competes in the long jump.
At 11:16 a.m. Wall will turn her attention to the 400 and a little more than an hour later she will join Amy Carey, Jenna Truedson and Megan Serratore in the 4x400 relay.
Also competing today will be Allie Heifort who is seeded fifth in the discus. She will start her state competition at 10:15 a.m.
On Saturday Heifort will return to the pit at 9 a.m. for the shot put while Truedson will run in the 1,600 at 10:42 a.m.
If Wall and the relay team do well today they will advance to Saturday's finals. Wall would run the 400 at 11:35 and the relay would conclude the Class 2A meet at 12:44 p.m.
Wall is seeded second in the high jump, according to the various section performances, and the freshmen is hoping to continue the steady improvement that she has seen this year.
"Each time I have jumped I've gone about a foot farther than the last time," Wall said.
Wall jumped 17-10.75 at the Section 8-2A meet and the lone girl who fared better was Nadia Lorencz of Farmington who sailed 17-11.25.
"I'm hoping to go 18 feet on Friday," Wall continued. "The key is to hold your form in the air and I've been working on staying in the air as long as possible."
Wall didn't consider herself a 400 runner but last year when her coaches asked for volunteers she agreed.
"They convinced me to try it and now I love the 400," she said. "And I especially love running the 400 in the relay because the other girls are always there for you.
"This year we have a very close 4x400 relay team and that is a big advantage," Wall, who anchors the relay, added.
Carey is the lead runner in the all-freshman 4x400 and she will hand off to Serratore.
"I like to chase people, catch them and then maintain our position," Serratore said. "At state our goal will be to try our best and have fun. We feel that we have already accomplished a great deal by making it to state as an all-freshman team and now our goal is to have as much fun as we can."
Truedson is the seasoned veteran despite her freshman status. Today marks her second straight spring at the state track and field meet and she also has a pair of state cross country appearances on her resume.
"Last year I ran in the 800 and finished 10th," Truedson said. "Because I've been to the state meet before I know what it is like to compete at this level.
"I also know many of the other racers, their strategy and how they run. My hope is to get to the top pack or get the lead and then hand off to Maea in a good position."
Truedson also will run the 1,600 and her strategy for that race will be similar.
"The mile is a hard race," she said. "The goal is to stay in the top pack and go hard at the end. I'm seeded 10th and I think it will be tough for me to win the race but I also think it is possible."
Coach Chris Lehman believes that his athletes will have productive days at the state meet and he wouldn't be surprised if the Lumberjacks return with some hardware.
"I think all of the girls will do very well," he said. "Our first goal in every race will be to make it to the finals and I think if the girls run their usual races they will advance.
"They have all worked very hard all year and have been rewarded by making it to state," Lehman continued. "And now we'll see how they all do."