GIRLS TRACK: Bemidji's Truedson overcomes disaster to win state title in 1,600
ST PAUL — The runners in the girls Class 2A mile race at Saturday’s state meet in Hamline were bunched as they began the last lap. Among the leaders of the group were Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson and Anna French of Wayzata.
Both competitors were among the favorites to claim the state championship and both were right where they wanted to be heading into the final lap.
French, however, lost her chance to win the race when she stumbled and fell to the track. Truedson happened to be right behind French when the Wayzata runner hit the ground and only some quick thinking and some great legwork prevented the Lumberjack sophomore from suffering a similar fate.
Truedson was able to straddle the fallen runner, regain her stride and return to the task at hand. During that final lap Truedson made up all of the lost ground and when she hit the finish line the sophomore was crowned the Class 2A state champion with a time of 4:59.75.
“I almost went with the girl when she tripped,” Truedson said. “But, somehow I avoided her and moved on.”
Truedson’s championship in the mile helped lift the BHS girls to fifth place in the final standings with 35 points. Minnetonka won the state title with 94.5 and Lakeville South tallied 79. The spread from third to ninth, however, was only 14 points and Bemidji was right in that mix.
“We finished fifth in the state and I think that is the highest the program has placed in a long time,” said Jacks girls coach Chris Lehman. “It has been a phenomenal year and seeing Jenna win a state championship is a great way to finish the season.”
This weekend’s meet represented Truedson’s seventh trip to a state event and was her third appearance at a state competition this school year.
Saturday’s championship, however, was her first.
“Last year I ran 4:58 in the mile at state and finished fourth but this year I won with 4:59,” Truedson said. “After placing third in the two-mile on Friday I felt that I could win the mile but I didn’t think it would happen.”
The right strategy and her powerful kick helped Truedson earn her victory. Through the years she has learned when to hang back and when to attack and when the time comes to make a move her great kick comes into play.
“Working all season on the 400 and with the 4x400 relay team helped me develop my sprint and I used that on Saturday,” Truedson said. “My plan was to stay with the lead pack and I was able to do that. With 150 yards left last year’s champion (Tess Misgen of Shakopee) was ahead of me but my kick helped me catch her.”
Misgen finished second, about a second behind Truedson. It is likely that the two combatants will meet again down the line because Truedson is a sophomore and Misgen just completed the eighth grade.
Bemidji had two other top-five finishes Saturday as Amber Peterson was fifth in the pole vault and Allie Heifort fifth in the shot put.
Peterson cleared 11-3 with ease but on her first attempt at 11-6 the senior rolled her ankle on the landing. She tried to continue but her chances of going higher were over.
“Amber didn’t want to finish her year hurt but 11-3 is her personal record and finishing fifth at the state meet is a very good way to end a career,” Lehman said. “Amber had a great season.”
Heifort advanced to Saturday’s finals by throwing 40-9.25 during the preliminaries and she couldn’t better that distance with any of her final three throws.
The senior ended her career with a pair of top-10 finishes as she also was eighth in the discus on Friday.
Maea Wall added a pair of team points by placing eighth in the 400 with a time of 58.32. She also anchored Bemidji’s 4x400 relay team which finished in 4:06.37 and claimed ninth place.
Amy Carey ran the lead lap and was followed by Megan Serratore and Truedson.