With 27 athletes from the “Journal 11’”high schools competing at the 2021 State Track and Field Meet, it was a busy day. Most of those athletes came in seeded within the “podium” range, the top nine. In the end, individual competitors made the podium 13 of 17 tries, while four of five relays did the same. Finishing top nine equates to making All-State. The biggest winners were a group of girls from Kingsland and Grand Meadow representing GMLOKS. All runners were helped by a strong back wind heading into the finish line, hurt by upper upper-80-degree temperatures. Just finals were ran (per COVID changes) amidst a one-day event, as opposed to prelims and then finals (qualifying events) in a two-day event, the past norm at state.
In 2018, the team of Emily Hovden, Lauren Buchholtz, Riley Queensland, and Anika Reiland performed the feat (in a time of 1:45.23). In 2019, Buchholtz, Queensland, Reiland, and Hailey Hindt did it too (in a time of 1:44.47). Coming into the 2021 state race, the GMLOKS 4×200 girls relay was a top contender. Seeded second (1:46.82) only behind 1A adversary Stewartville (1:45.97), the Bulldogs were in the running to perform a state title three-peat. Changing the line-up one runner from sections (Chantle Reiland for Madison Hindt), the foursome of Reiland, Anika Reiland, Hailey Hindt, and Anna Oehlke carried on the state title tradition. The GMLOKS 4×2 used the youthful Reiland’s (Chantle 8th grader, Anika sophomore) in the last 400 meters to grab a state title. Chantle made up a lot of ground and Anika, one of the top Class A sprinters in the state, was a non-catchable anchor. The girls (1:44.41) beat Thief River Falls (1:44.94) to claim the school’s third straight 4×200 meter title. It was the first time this year that specific GMLOKS foursome ran a 4×200 together. It was the fastest GMLOKS girls 4×200 time of the season, faster than the previous two state champions too. Overall, as it pertains to ‘Journal 11’ schools, things revolved around the GMLOKS conglomerate, which sent 10 girls and six guys to state. Hailey Hindt and Anika Reiland were busy elsewhere. Hindt wrapped up a brilliant hurdles career by making the podium in both her individual events. In the 100-meter-hurdles, Hindt posted a season-best time of 15:04 (.51 seconds quicker than at sections). She took third to Concordia Academy’s Shaina Zinter (14.29) and Annandale’s Nyalaam Jok (14.77). Those top two times were faster than the state record, but didn’t qualify per too much wind. In the 300-meter-hurdles, Hindt went 45.72 to take fourth behind Zinter (43.51) and two others. Hailey came in seeded third in each event.
She took fourth at state in the 300-hurdles (45.36) in 2019. The senior graduates having ran at state five times, finishing top five all five tries (with two state titles amidst GMLOKS 4×200 teams). She racked up 21 hurdle first place finishes this year. Anika Reiland also was super busy. In a short span, she ran the 100-meters, taking fourth in a season-best time of 12.48. Reiland then took on the 4×200 relay for a state title. Not too long thereafter, she ran the 200-meters, taking fifth in a time of 26.31. Reiland came in seeded second in the 100, third in the 200. The 200 was her third of three state sprints. Anisa Thompson of The Blake School won both the 100 (12.23) and the 200 (25.46). Reiland, just a sophomore, finished top five a trio of times (made the podium), an impressive feat. She took first 14 times this year in either a 100 or 200. She now has seven state appearances and is the only athlete to be on all three GMLOKS girls 4×200 state title teams. The Bulldogs next best finisher was the boys 4×200 squad. The team of Jacob Kerrins, Luke Speer, Blake Ludemann, and James Howard came in seeded fourth. In a time of 1:31.95, they took sixth at state. Mora (1:30.23) won the 4×200 title. PEM (1:31.53) took third and St. Charles (1:31.70) fourth to give Section 1A three in the top six. Ludemann and Speer are seniors, Kerrins and Howard juniors. Riley Paul, McKenna Hendrickson, and the girls 4×800 team also made the medal stand. Paul took on the Shot Put. The junior’s best toss was 48’10”. He took eighth. Paul had six times topped a 50’ toss this season. He posted eight first place finishes. Tracy-Milroy-Balatan’s Tony Nelson was state champ (59’2 ¼”), tossing more than four feet greater than his seed (54’11’). PEM’s Leo Silha took second (58’4”). Hendrickson, a sophomore, ran 2:24.71 to take ninth in the 800-meters. Canby/Minneota’s Grace Drietz (2:17.36) won that event ahead of Section 1A’s Katrina Sortland (2:17.87) of ZM. The girls 4×800 (Lauren Queensland, Shelby Beck, Hendrickson, Kendyl Queensland) ran 10:01.62 to take ninth.
They ran 9:53.31 at sections and were seeded seventh heading to state. Luverne (9:34.65) won the girls 4×800 state title. The Bulldogs team in young, Beck a junior, Hendrickson and K-Queensland sophomores, L-Queensland an 8th grader. The GMLOKS 4×100 (Oehlke, Ellie Buchholtz, Madison Hindt, C-Reiland), in its fourth straight state meet, took tenth (51.97), running behind their 1A meet pace (50.93). Rockford (49.88) won that state title. The GMLOKS 4×100 team was entirely new from the 2019 squad that took third. Hindt and Buchholtz are seniors. Ellie joined older sister Lauren as having competed on a state GMLOKS relay team. Madison got to enjoy the state experience with her twin sister Hailey. Finally, Garrison Hubka took on the two long races. First was the 3,200-meters in a special Thursday state edition (done to shorten Friday’s boys, then girls, double session). He took 12th in a time of 10:11.52. He ran slower than at sections (10:03.45). Emmet Anderson of Staples-Motley was state champion (9:17.11). Hubka then ran the 1,600-meters on Friday in 4:40.77, taking 16th (of 16). It was a smidgeon slower than at sections (4:37.23). Rock Ridge’s Cameron Stocke (4:12.94) was the state champion. Hubka, a sophomore, had a breakout year of distance running, making state in both cross country and track/field. GMLOKS’ girls scored enough points to compete for the team state title. They (39) took third behind Rockford (46) and Annandale (42), just ahead of Concordia Academy-Roseville (38). No Journal-covered team has fared so well since the RPH boys won a state title much on the backs of Noah Carlson and Matt Culhane in 2016. All of the GMLOKS boys and girls athletes to compete at state are either from Grand Meadow or Kingsland.
LFCMC track and field had the next most competitors of the Journal-covered schools. Five individuals and a relay took on state. Senior Ben Snyder had their highest finish. In the Triple Jump, Snyder went 43’4¾”. He took fourth behind Floodwood’s Kaden McNiff (45’3 ¼”), Dilworth-Glyndon’s Joshua Finseth (44’3¾”), and SWMCH-EHS’ Micap Schaap (43’7 ¼”). Snyder came in seeded eighth, putting up his best distance since jumping a season-best 43’9½” at the L-A Invite in late April. He nursed a hamstring injury late in the season. Snyder graduates a three-time state participant (4×200 and 4×400 in 2019). Sophomore Madison Simon picked a good time for a personal best. Simon cleared 10’ for a first time in competition. It allowed her to take fifth overall in the pole vault. She came in seeded tenth after going 9’2” at sections. W-E-M’s Toryn Richards won the state title, clearing 10’9”. The girls 4×400 (Morgan Pickett, Lillyan Kiehne, Macayla Brogle, Brielle Ruen) made the medal stand by taking eighth in a time of 4:12.83. They were a bit off their 1A Meet pace of 4:07.16, which was fifth fastest coming in. Section foe Stewartville won the state title in a time of 4:01.18. LFCMC’s team is all juniors, save Kiehne, who is just a 7th grader. Ruen joined sisters Leah and Bailey (most recently 2017) as having made state in track and field. All did so on 4×400 squads. Brielle also took on the individual 400-meters. She ran 59.87, which was good enough to reach the podium in ninth place.
Ruen had ran a season-best 58.68 at sections. The only 400-meter races she ran in and didn’t win were at sections and state. Ellie Kuechle of Eden Valley-Watkins (57.34) was state champion. Finally, male competitors J.T. Rein and Jayce Kiehne didn’t make the medal stand. Rein came in seeded third in the 300-hurdles (40.67), and said time came when he ran through at least two hurdles. He was a state title contender. But he didn’t just run through a hurdle on the big stage, he wiped out on one. Rein took 13th in a time of 43.23. He won eight 300-hurdle competitions this year. Morria Area-Chokio-Alberta’s Kenny Soderberg won the state title (39.14). Kiehne entered his 800-meter race as one of 11 competitors to run their section race between 1:57.98 and 2:00.35. His state time was 2:02.04. He took 12th (of 16). He was the youngest competitor in the race, the only freshman. Perham’s Jacob McCleary (1:56.92) won the state title. The biggest news for the Kiehne household was that senior Carson Kiehne, whose state hopes were mostly dashed because of injury, was voted as a one of 17 finalists for the Minnesota Mr. Track and Field award.
Carrying the state torches for the “C” teams of Chatfield and Caledonia/Spring Grove were Sam Backer, Zayda Priebe, and Chris Pieper. Gopher sophomore speedster Sam Backer competed in the 100-meter and 200-meters, making the medal stand in both. In the 100, he came in narrowly seeded third (11.10) and promptly took fifth in a time of 11.18. Spectrum’s Max Reis won the event in 10.84. Excluding Backer, the top seven finishers were all juniors. In the 200, Backer came in seeded fourth (22.59) and took eighth in a time of 22.96. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta’s Ethan Lebrija won that event (22.30).
Backer was the top sophomore in each race. Each of his “seed” times came from sections, where he ran his fastest (200) and second fastest (100) races of the year. For the season, Backer notched 11 first place finishes combined in 100/200-meter races. Girl’s discus thrower Zayda Priebe also made the podium. The junior came in seeded seventh (116’3”). With a throw of 113’4”, Priebe took ninth. She won eight discus competitions this year. Minnewaska Area’s Metaya Jergenson won the state title with a throw of 123’8”, a full 6’ more than her seed (117’1”). Finally, Caledonia/Spring Grove’s Chris Pieper took on the High Jump. He came in seeded fourth (6’1”) with seven other guys. Pieper topped that height by one inch. Going 6’2”, Pieper did enough to take sixth overall. He made the medal stand. The 6’2” leap matched his season-high. Pieper won six of the eight High Jump competitions he competed in this year.
Wiebke, Fishbaugher Shine at State Golf Meets
Two teams and two individuals each took on 2021 State Golf Meets. It was the individuals who shined the most. One put a cap on an excellent career. The other took a big second step and he still has two years to go. One young team put its first state experience in their memory while a group of Burro guys did the same.
Jenna Wiebke entered the year facing a challenge. The Caledonia senior made the 2019 state Class A golf tourney as Section 1A runner-up. But the Warriors, for the 2021, moved up to Class AA. It is a much more difficult class of competition. Wiebke cleared the first major hurdle. She got out of the Section 1AA tournament, qualifying for the state meet by taking fifth place (shooting a 36-hole 173). At the state meet, at The Ridges of Sand Creek Golf Course in Jordan, Wiebke whapped the little ball around pretty good. Day One she posted 9-hole totals of 41 and 42 for an 83. It left her tied for 11th place of 87 total golfers. Perham’s Mallory Belka (73) led the field, just ahead of Lake City’s Jordan Windhorst-Knudsen (75). Section 1A champion Lake City (343) led Fergus Falls (359) in the team competition. The Tigers (673) went on to easily win a state title over Providence Academy (717). Day Two, Wiebke cut a couple strokes off her total. She shot an 81, passing four girls on the leaderboard.
She shot the fourth lowest Day 2 total. Shooting a 36-hole 164 score, Wiebke took 8th place overall. She joined Perham’s individual state champion Belka (148), Lake City’s Windhorst-Knudsen (157), Providence Academy’s Grace Petzoid (158), Minnewaska Area’s Annika Stensrud (161), Park Rapids Area’s Anna Eckmann (162), Le Seuer-Henderson’s MaKenna Reinhardt (162), and Cannon Falls’ Margaret Bahr (163) was having prestigiously medaled. Wiebke put forth a splendid senior year, medaling in all nine of the Warriors head-to-head or triangular meets. She also won the W-K Tourney and the TRC Meet. Her low 9-hole score from those events was a 37, shot versus La Crescent/Hokah. Her low 18-hole score was 81, done at state and at the W-K Tourney.
Fillmore Central’s Jake Fishbaugher has a lot of golf ahead of him. He is just a sophomore, who now sports two individual state qualifications on the links. His effort at the state Class A boys tournament was very noteworthy. Fishbaugher went out Day 1 and put up two sub-40 numbers. He shot a 39 and a 38 for an 18-hole total of 77. It left him in a seven-way tie for seventh place. Fertile-Beltrami’s Rylin Petry sat atop the leaderboard, shooting a pair of 35s for a 70. He held a four-stroke lead on six golfers tied for second place with 74s. Day Two, Fishbaugher was even better, shooting a 37 and a 38 for a 75. His two-day total tallied up to 152. Jake tied with the Legacy Christian Academy duo of Tommy Steffen and Trent Harrison for 9th place at eight-over par. Fishbaugher had seven birdies and 19 pars. Thirteen of those pars came on Day 2. The fourteenth hole tripped him up, as he posted two triple bogies on that par-five. Other than that, he had just one other double bogey. He shot five strokes better than his 36-hole 1A Meets tally of 157. At the 2019 state golf meet, Fishbaugher, as a frosh, shot 187 to take 62nd place. He improved by 35 strokes over two years. Ninth place is purportedly the highest placing for a Fillmore Central male golfer ever.
Other recent notable Falcon boys and their scores at state; Carter Nevalainen (2018 > 178, tie 51st), Delton Sauer (2017 > 168, 28th), Jordan Miller (2015 > 164, tie-32nd), Jordan Miller (2014 > 164, tie-17th). At the top of the leaderboard, Petry (146) held off Community Christian’s Brett Reid (147) for the individual state title. Ada-Borup’s Ryan Engel (149) took third. New Life Academy’s Cole Witherow and Kittson Central’s Tyler Hennen (150s) tied for fourth while New Ulm Cathedral’s Logan Haala, Springfield’s Mavrick Winkelmann, and Underwood’s Trevor Swonger (151s) tied for sixth. Fishbaugher (75) actually shot a better Day 2 round than state champion Petry (76). Jake medaled in seven of nine team meets this year for Coach Brad Holten. He tied for first at both the W-K Invite and the TRC Meet. His best 9-hole round was 35 (at W-K). His best 18-hole round was 74 at the TRC meet.
Team-wise, Lanesboro competed on the boys side. The Burros (359) were in seventh place after Day 1. They sat nine strokes behind sixth place West Central Area (350) and 10 strokes ahead of eighth place Adrian (369).
Krissy Overland’s Burros finished in seventh place, shooting a two-day total of 714. They trailed Benson (707) for sixth and sat ahead of eighth place Adrian (731). Fertile-Beltrami (629) won the state title over Legacy Christian Academy (642). Sleepy Eye (656) took third and North Woods (675) fourth. Lanesboro’s highest golfer was senior Cale Anderson, who shot a 169 to tie for 35th place. Cale shot 88 Day 1 and 81 Day 2 to move up the leaderboard. He was tied for 51st after the first 18 holes. Hayden Lawstuen was second best for Lanesboro. He shot a 177 to take tie for 56th place. Lawstuen went 90 and 87 for his two rounds. The four other Burros to compete, Kaden Stettler (93, 92, > 185), Clay Schwichtenberg (88, 100 > 188), Caden Anderson (96, 95 > 191), and Reece Benson (109, 103 > 212) all finished in the bottom 25. Eighty-eight total golfers competed. Schwichtenberg joined Cale Anderson in shooting a Day 1 88, but he fell off Day 2. Five of six Burros did improve their scores from Day 1 to Day 2. For top individuals, see the Jake Fishbaugher part of this story.
On the girls side, Fillmore Central took its yearly pilgrimage to Becker. It was FC’s seventh straight state meet. Aaron Mensink’s Falcons have no seniors and just one junior. So on the whole, it was a learning experience for all involved. After one day of golf, FC (403) sat in fifth place, just few strokes behind fourth place Adrian (399). Marissa Topness (94, tied for 22nd) and Courtney Hershberger (99, tied for 38th) were the Falcons top two golfers. Lac Qui Parle Valley (354) built a 19-stroke lead over Park Christian (373) with Badger-Greenbush-Middle River (385) sitting in third place. The Falcons hoped to catch Adrian for fourth. But that task wasn’t fulfilled. FC (802) finished in fifth place behind Adrian (792). La Qui Parle Valley (720) took home the state title over Park Christian (746) and B-G-MR (770). Hershberger shaved 11 strokes off her Day 1 total. She posted a 187 (99, 88) to finish in 22nd place to lead FC. Meanwhile, Topness dropped off a bit. She posted a 196 (94, 102) to tie for 38th place. Chloe Morem (102, 105 > 207) tied for 48th place. Amidst FC’s team state trip in 2019, Hershberger shot a 223 (74th place), Topness a 222 (73rd place), and Morem a 242 (83rd place). Their collective numbers dropped by 97 total strokes from 2019. Rounding out FC’s six golfers, Lily Miller (109, 104 > 213) and Myleigh Scheevel (105, 108 > 213) tied with each other for 56th place, Aubrey Larson (112, 111 > 223) tied for 69th. Eighty-four total golfers competed. Park Christian’s Emily Stueland (81, 85 > 166) and LQPV’s Sarah Halvorson (81, 85 > 166) tied for the individual state title. LCPV’s Isabella Jacobs (78, 91 > 169), the Day 1 leader, took third. B-G-MR’s Alyssa Rinde (84, 86 > 170), PC’s Madison Doeden (89, 81 > 170), Pine River-Backus’ Hannah Barchus (89, 82 > 171), Walker-Hackensack-Akeley’s Kianna Johnson (91, 83, > 174), and New Ulm Cathedral’s Kayla Goblirsch (87, 89 > 176) rounded out the top eight medalists.
*The Fillmore County Journal Sports is a written collaboration of Paul Trende and Lee Epps.