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Running hot: State track and field

Mon, Jun 18th, 2012
Posted in All Sports

The Chatfield Gopher’s girls’ 4x100 and 4x200 squads competed at state, finishing 5th and 4th respectively. They are (left to right) Maddy Kammer, Autum Erickson, Head Coach Chris Frye, Erin Kammer, and Ashley Baker. It marked senior Erin Kammer’s (second from right) 6th straight trip to state in track. She’s been a part of 12 state relay squads. Photo provided by John and Sam Clemens

It’s always nice to get outside in the summer and run/compete under a warming sun; that is, so long as it’s not to warm. At the 2012 Minnesota high school track and field championships, it was probably just that. It wasn’t prime running weather. With temperatures in the 90’s, athletes were definitely affected. On day one, Cannon Falls long distance runner, Emi Trost, actually collapsed near the end of her 3,200-meter event. She finished the race, but did not finish the meet (Saturday’s 1,600-meter event).

As for the county’s eight athletes, Chatfield’s 4x100 and 4x200 relay contingent (Erin Kammer, Ashley Baker, Autumn Erickson, Maddy Kammer) probably were the most affected. They ran four races in two days (and in Maddy Kammer’s case, five races in two days). Coming in as the top seed (best time) in each event, the Gophers were right where they needed to be, where they expected to be, following Friday’s prelims. Each squad qualified for Saturday’s finals: the 4x100 finished second (00:50.19) to Annandale (00:49.91), the 4x200 first (1:45.50).

In the finals, it wasn’t that the girls didn’t run well. The 4x200 broke a 27-year old school mark (1:45.21) and bettered their prelim time. Three other teams, Osakis (1:44.78), Esko (1:45.17), and Sleepy Eye Unified (1:45.18), just ran better, bettered their prelim times. Finishing in 4th, the Gophers were just four-tenths-of-a-second back of second place. The 4x100 (00:50.59) fell off its qualifying pace and finished 5th behind sectional adversary Byron (00:49.76), Annandale (00:49.82), Pequot Lakes (00:49.99), and Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd (00:50.23), all of which improved their times from Friday to Saturday. Of those teams, only Pequot Lakes ran prelims/finals for both the 4x100 and 4x200 (like Chatfield). Only two of their runners were the same.

With those relays completed, the ‘Erin Kammer Era’ of track at Chatfield High School ends. She went to state six times in six years, was a part of (count them) twelve different state relay teams (five 4x100’s, five 4x100’s, and two 4x400’s). Her best finish was second (twice; the 4x100 and 4x200 each did it in 2008 when she was an 8th grader). She also was probably the county’s most decorated athlete through the 2011-2012 school year. Erin was a big part of a Sub-Section volleyball runner-up squad, a Section runner-up basketball squad, to go along with the track and field exploits. She’ll continue her athletics career at Luther College in the fall playing volleyball.

As for the rest of the action (on the individual side of things), Gopher junior 3,200-meter runner Kayla Woltz ran, what her coached Chris Frye called, ‘a smart race,’ given the temperature. She finished where she was seeded, or 11th (11:49.92) of 16 runners. The Blake School’s Clare Flanagan was champion in a time of 10:44.70. Gopher senior Kyndra Neis ‘got stronger with each throw and just missed placing’ in the Shot Put. She finished 11th (of 17) with a mark of 34’04 ¾”. Ashley Thooft of St. Clair was the Shot Put champion (43’11 ¾”).

Freshmen Maddy Kammer ran the individual 200-meters, but didn’t qualify for the finals (finished 8th in her heat). On the R-P/H side of things, R-P senior Adria Timm threw near her best (106’01”) and finished 14th (didn’t make the finals). Sylvia Zanini of Fulda won the event with a throw of 141’01”. Houston senior Hans Lundberg came in seeded third after a monster sectional throw (150’09”, his best of the year, first-first place finish). He couldn’t quite capture that kind of lightning in a bottle a second time and didn’t have an opportunity for a third try.

On his last throw, Ottertail Central’s Alex Ukkenberg topped Hans’ mark of 139’03” with a throw of 139’04”, nixing Hans of a spot in the Discus finals. He settled for a 10th place finish (of 17). Steffan Stroh of Ottertail Central won the boys discus with a throw of 159’05”.

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