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Good Day(s) For Gopher Track and Field

Fri, Jun 14th, 2013
Posted in All Sports

By Paul Trende

A year ago at the state track and field meet, Chatfield’s girls 4x100 and 4x200 teams (Erin Kammer, Ashley Baker, Autum Erickson, Maddy Kammer) entered with high hopes of bringing home a state championship. Both squads came in ‘seeded’ first (best times) in both races, were right where they needed to be after the prelims (finished 1st and 2nd), only to finish 4th and 5th in the finals. It was a respectable showing (the 4x200 broke a school record) no doubt, one that added to the rich Chatfield girls relay tradition. But it was less than what was wanted. The girls were just bested by teams that ran better. Related to that, because she was a member of both teams, then freshman Maddy Kammer came in as the Section 1A 200-meter champion, only to not qualify for the 200-meter final. A couple factors likely played a part in how last season’s three events unfolded. The four Chatfield girls, per their inclusion on the two teams, ran four races in two days (something Chatfield’s main competition didn’t do). Kammer ran five races in two days. Given last season’s state meet took place in 90-degree temperatures, it wasn’t the best recipe for best success.

On the other hand, 2013 is a different year. Three of the same four Gopher girls (Kammer, Erickson, Baker), plus newcomer Mariah Bell, and ‘thrower’ Jayme LaPlante, had themselves a good state track and field meet. Their stew was of the very successful (tasty even) variety. Chatfield can boast a state champion team, an individual state champion, and a state runner-up. With the early June temperatures in the upper 60’s or low 70’s (fitting given how the spring went), none of the individuals had to sweat as much as a season ago either.

Kammer, Baker, Erickson, and Bell got their state relay championship. They won their qualifying heat (1:46.35), albeit it was the fifth best preliminary time overall. A pair of teams who bested the Gophers last season, Osakis (1:45.33) and Esko (1:45.89) had the best two prelim times. The Chatfield ladies were saving up. And like last season, both Osakis (2nd place, 1:45.18) and Esko (3rd place, 1:45.50) bettered their prelim times in the finals. They just didn’t improve as much as Chatfield. Kammer ran the last leg. She took the baton with her team in the lead, and wasn’t to be caught. Shaving over a second-and-a-half (1:44.79) off their qualifying time, running ‘their best race on the biggest stage’, and getting some revenge on two teams/schools that bettered them a season ago, the Chatfield Gopher 4x200 won the 2013 state championship. Head Coach Jeff DeBuhr said, “I have coached for quite a few years and I have to say Autum, Mariah, Ashley, and Maddy truly deserve to be state champions. They work very hard, don’t complain about it, and love to compete.”

Kammer then turned around and went for an individual crown. The sophomore came in seeded first in the 400-meters, and there was absolutely no let down. She had the best preliminary time (0:58.76) and then shaved nearly a second off that time (0:57.79) in the finals to grab the individual state title in the tough 400-meters. Coach DeBuhr said, “(The title) was a reflection of (Kammer’s) talent, toughness, and competitiveness.” Running five races, four at an exceptionally high level, over back-to-back days, epitomized his words. Kammer and Bell also competed in the 200-meter event, but neither qualified for the final. With Maddy a sophomore, Mariah an 8th grader, Baker a junior, and Erickson a freshman, Gopher girl’s track is in good hands for a few years to come.

On the boys side, Chatfield track and field (at state) solely hitched itself to the broad strong shoulders of junior Jayme LaPlante. He entered the competition as a dual qualifier (the Section 1A discus champion, Shot Put by standard), both of which non-coincidentally used said upper body assets. The discus is more his baby, and it showed. His Section 1A title-winning throw went 147’9”. He scored on five throws at state, and all five went further than that mark. His first throw in the finals went 164’4”. His second even further, 167’9”, a personal best and Chatfield record (beating himself). Had it not been for Foley’s Sam Udermann, whose second toss in the finals went 169-feet even, LaPlante would be state discus champion. As it were, he recorded two of the top four throws (Udermann had the other two) and recorded a state discus runner-up. Jayme also made the finals in the shot put, finishing in 8th place with a best throw of 49’6”. Murray County’s Tanner Nepp won the shot put title with a throw of 52’3 ¾”. Head Coach Chris Heppding, “Jayme had a great state meet. Eighth in the shot shows that (he) is more than a one-event threat...It will definitely be fun to watch next year and see how far Jayme can take these two events.”

Two other county athletes also competed at the state meet. Lanesboro sophomore Olivia Haug was a discus entrant for L/FC/M-C track and field, the Section 1A champ at that event. She finished 8th in her heat of eight, scoring on just one throw (103’11”) with two fouls. She competed in a pretty tough heat. The seven other girls ahead of her all qualified for the discus finals. They finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th. Haug finished 11th (of 16 total entrants), with a throw significantly below her seeding (she won the Section 1A discus title with a toss of 114’11”). Noah Carlson represented Rushford-Peterson/Houston track and field. The youngster entered the state meet as Section 1A Triple Jump champ, preceded to win his preliminary flight with a leap of 42’ even. It moved him on to the finals where he couldn’t improve on his distance (best distance was 41’2”). The mark was sufficient enough to allow Carlson to ‘score’ team points. He finished in 7th place, or just below the level of schooling (8th) he just finished. As with the Chatfield contingent, both Haug and Carlson should be standouts for their respective schools for years to come.

3-Rivers South

All-Conference Softball

> Chatfield (Junior SS Sidney Irish; Sophomore C Shelby Bernard; Sophomore P Brook Irish; Senior 1B MaKenzie Miller; Sophomore CF Kirsten Keefe)

> Fillmore Central/Lanesboro (Sophomore P Morgan Malley; Senior CF Jordan O’Connor; Junior 3B Taylor Case; Senior LF Chelsea Rislove)

> Rushford-Peterson (Junior P Kendra Crawford; Junior C Keela Brand; Senior 3B Jodi Eggert)

3-Rivers All-Conference

Girl’s Golf

> Kingsland (Junior Karli Bly)

> Chatfield (Freshman Paige Isensee; Junior Morgan Henry)

> Fillmore Central (Junior Keeley Todd; Sophomore Katie Tammel)

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