TRACK AND FIELD: NKB’s Mony Johnson wins record-breaking shot put state title

In historic fashion, Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck senior shot putter Mony Johnson claimed gold at the Class A girls state track and field meet.

Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck senior Mony Johnson competes in the girls shot put during the Class A state meet on Friday, June 10, 2022, in St. Michael.
Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service
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ST. MICHAEL -- Mony Johnson is a state champion.

In historic fashion, the Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck senior shot putter claimed gold at the Class A girls state track and field meet on Friday with a record-breaking performance in St. Michael.

“It feels amazing,” Johnson said. “It was one of my biggest goals since my freshman year. That was one of my goals coming in. Especially last year, we were like, ‘First isn’t good enough. We’re aiming for a state record.’”

On her first attempt of the day, Johnson broke the Class A state meet record with her throw of 46 feet, 1.75 inches. She did even better on her third toss, launching a throw 46-04.75 to finalize the new standard in the record book.

Johnson won state in the event by nearly four feet and broke the previous state meet record by 11 inches.


Esko experiences bittersweet day at the Minnesota Class A state track meet
Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck senior Mony Johnson, center, smiles on the podium after winning the girls Class A shot put state championship on Friday, June 10, 2022, in St. Michael.
Clint Austin / Forum News Service

“I was very nervous coming in,” said Johnson, who was sore after competing in discus the day before. “But once I got through warmups, I felt strong. I got through my first throw, and all my nerves went away once I broke the record. I was so excited.”

It was a triumphant moment for the NKB senior, who placed second in Class A in shot put during her freshman and junior seasons. She left no doubt this time around, shattering her previous personal best of 45-07 and rocketing past this year’s second-place mark of 42-05.75, set by Concordia Academy-Roseville’s Nora Wilhelm.

“It was a bittersweet feeling, ending my high school career like that,” Johnson admitted.

But going out as a state champion? It doesn’t get better than that.

“It’s really amazing,” she said.

Here’s how other area athletes fared at the Class A state meet.


Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck seinor Mony Johnson competes in discus during the Class A state meet on Thursday, June 9, 2022, in St. Michael.
Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service

Johnson also competed in discus on Thursday, where she placed fourth with a throw of 124-05. Wilhelm took that crown, registering a finish of 134-05. Chatfield’s Zayda Priebe (131-00) and Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop’s Olivia Schwarzrock (129-11) rounded out the top three.

Also competing for the NKB girls, Allison Lundin placed 13th in the 1600 with a time of 5:31.16 and 15th in the 3200 with a time of 12:16.17.


For the boys, Andrew Fahey placed sixth in the 400-meter dash at 51.03, while Evan Bilinski clocked a 42.41 finish in the 300-meter hurdles to place 11th. The 4x200 relay team Ridge Flatness, Henry Gonzalez, Evan Bilinski, Andrew Fahey came in 14th with a time of 1:36.73.

As a team, the NKB girls placed 15th in Class A with 18 teams points. The boys tied for 57th with four points.


Bagley/Fosston’s Ava Phrakonkham sprinted to a 12.66 in the girls 100-meter dash finals, which put her fourth overall. She was 0.01 seconds shy a top-three time, while St. Cloud Cathedral’s Hope Schueller won the race in 12.42.

In the girls 200-meter dash, Riika Tirkkonen placed fifth in Class A with a time of 26.31. She just snuck into the finals after her prelims race, but she improved three places in the finals to clinch a top-five mark.

The girls 4x200 relay team consisting of Isabella Warmbold, Tirkkonen, Chloe McLean and Phrakonkham finished seventh in their relay, clocking a 1:47.80 time. The 4x100 relay team of McLean, Tirkkonen, Lauren Sekely and Phrakonkham was 11th in 51.31.

Among the Bagley/Fosston boys, Noah Nelson placed 21st in the 100-meter dash prelims with a time of 11.49.

The girls landed in a tie for 18th in the Class A team standings with 14 total points.


Clearbrook-Gonvick had two athletes competing. Jack McQuown placed 15th in the boys 800-meter run with a time of 2:02.59 in the prelims, while Allison LaVine placed 18th in the girls long jump finals with a leap of 14-00.75.


Clint Austin of Forum News Service contributed to this story.


Boys Team Results (Top 10)

1-Nova Classical Academy 47.5; 2-Perham 47; 3-Minneapolis North 46; 4-Luverne 43; 5-St. Cloud Cathedral 35; 6-St. Croix Lutheran 33; 7-Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 25; 8-Triton 24; 9-Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 23; T10-Pine Island 22; T10-Greenway/Nashwauk/Keewatin 22; T57-Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck 4.


Girls Team Results (Top 10)

1-Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball 81; 2-Concordia Academy-Roseville 68; T3-Zumbrota-Mazeppa 48; T3-GMOKS 48; 5-Luverne 41; 6-St. Cloud Cathedral 36; 7-Minnewaska 32; T8-Pierz 26; T8-Murray County Central 26; T10-Legacy Christian Academy 24; T10-Nevis 24; 15-Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck 18; T18-Bagley/Fosston 14.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
Micah Friez is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of East Grand Forks, Minn., he worked at the Pioneer from 2015-23 and is a 2018 graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in Creative and Professional Writing.
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