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TRACK: Bemidji teams accomplish opening-day goals at state meet

Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson, left, ran away from the middle pack and her strong sprint down the stretch was rewarded with a third-place finish in the 3,200 at Friday’s state Class 2A meet hosted by Hamline. Mike Vosburg | Forum News Services1 / 3
Bemidji’s Allie Heifort finished eighth in the discus at Friday’s Class 2A state track and field meet hosted by Hamline University. Mike Vosburg | Forum News Services2 / 3
Gina Balstad forwards the baton to Liz Olson in the first exchange for the Bagley-Fosston 4x200 relay team. The Flyers completed the race in 1:49.84 but failed to advance to today’s finals. Rand Middleton | Forum News Services3 / 3

ST. PAUL — After Friday’s four completed events at the state Class 2A track and field meet the Bemidji girls team sits in seventh place with 10 points.

The Lumberjacks boys did not have anyone entered in the events that held their finals on Friday but BHS is expected to put some points on the board today when the Jacks compete in the 4x800 relay, mile, long jump and 800.

“We’re going to be busy on Saturday,” said Bemidji boys coach Steve Sneide. “I think we’re going to have a very good day.”

Friday was a very good day for the Bemidji’s girls team. The Lumberjacks accomplished all of their goals as Jenna Truedson claimed third in the 3,200, Maea Wall advanced to today’s finals in the 400, the 4x400 relay unit of Amy Carey, Megan Serratore, Truedson and Wall secured a berth in today’s finals and Allie Heifort captured eighth place in the discus.

“We did what we were hoping to do,” said BHS girls coach Chris Lehman. “And I think we will do even better on Saturday because we should be more relaxed.”

Lehman could see indicators of nerves on some of his athletes but the tension surfaced in a few performances.

Included in that category was the ninth-place finish of the 4x400 relay team.

“We didn’t run our greatest race but we did make it to Saturday’s final and that is what we wanted to do,” Lehman said.

The top nine teams in Friday’s preliminaries advanced to Saturday and the Lumberjacks claimed that last spot by running 4:01.75. Placing 10th just behind Bemidji was Chisago Lakes which posted a time of 4:02.43.

“I think we were a little nervous and we ran only an average race,” Lehman said. “But our ultimate goal was to make the finals and we did that. I think we’ll be more relaxed on Saturday and we will run a much better race.”

Heifort, who will cap her high school career today in the state shot put competition, finished eighth in Friday’s discus event with a throw of 122-8.

“I think Allie was a little nervous but she overcame the nerves and finished eighth,” Lehman said. “I think she’ll be more relaxed on Saturday and should do very well in the shot put.”

Wall also advanced to today’s finals in the 400 as she claimed eighth after the preliminaries with a time of 57.97. That effort shaved more than a full second off her section time of 59.10.

“Maea went out hard and finished hard,” Lehman said. “We knew she had a race like this in her and she delivered.”

Friday’s action began with the girls 3,200 and Truedson put on quite a show.

Maria Hauger of Shakopee and Danielle Anderson of Eagan raced ahead of the pack and Hauger eventually cruised to a win with a time of 10:26.39.

Throughout most of the race Truedson stayed with the second group and was content to run in fifth place.

“But at the end of the race Jenna out-sprinted the pack and sprung free,” Lehman said. “This was only the fourth time that Jenna has run the two-mile. She’s been working on her sprints all year and never worked on the 3,200.

“And all that work paid off. I don’t think there is a distance runner in the state who can beat Jenna in a sprint.”

In today’s state action Truedson will compete in the 1,600, Amber Peterson will make her state debut in the pole vault, Heifort will throw the shot put, Wall will run in the 400 finals and Bemidji will race in the 4x400.

Boys Division

On Friday Elias Hendrickson served notice that he is a threat to win today’s 800 finals as the Lumberjack senior easily won his heat in 1:55.35 and, had he been challenged, could have run even faster.

“Elias ran a comfortable race,” Sneide said. “He coasted to the heat win and after the race Elias said that he had quite a bit left.”

For the record, Hendrickson posted the fourth fastest time Friday but the three runners who had better times all ran in the other heat.

“It really doesn’t matter that Elias was fourth overall,” Sneide said.

“The goal was to win the heat and get into the finals. He is sitting right where he wants to be.”

Bemidji’s 4x400 relay unit of Wakinyan Moore, Nick Gubbels, Adam Loisel and Hendrickson finished 13th in Friday’s preliminaries and didn’t advance to today’s final. The Lumberjacks did, however, set a school record with a time of 3:24.63.

“Most years our time would have been fast enough to make it to the finals but this year’s race was very fast,” Sneide said. “Our goal was to set a school record and then see where it placed us.

“There were six teams that ran 3:21 and we’re just not a 3:21 relay team.”

In today’s action BHS will be represented by Hendrickson in the 800, Sam Carlson in the mile, the 4x800 relay team of Gunnar Nelson, Gubbels, Carlson and Hendrickson plus Brady Schmidt in the long jump.

Hamrin finishes 15th

Sarah Hamrin of TrekNorth made her debut at the state track and field Class A meet Friday and the freshman finished 15th in the 3,200 with a time of 12:16.86.

Clare Flanagan of Blake won in 10:27.85.

In the Class A girls 4x100 relay Bagley-Fosston was 17th in 52.32. Representing the Flyers were Jennifer Albright, Elizabeth Olson, Hayley George and Camille Merschman.

Bagley-Fosston also competed in the 4x200 as Gina Balstad, Olson, George and Merschman combined for a time of 1:49.84 and placed 14th. Friday’s performance shaved almost two seconds off their state qualification time.

In the boys 800 Caleb Schneider of Northome-Kelliher finished 16th with a time of 2:06.10.

Today’s schedule in the Class A meet includes the girls 1,600 and pole vault. Marissa Carlson of Bagley-Fosston will run the 1,600 and Balstad will compete in the pole vault.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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