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AUSTIN EDITION - Austin sprinters race into finals

NORTHFIELD -- Austin had a pair of sprinters reach the finals of the Section 1AA girls track and field meet Thursday during the preliminary round at Carleton College.

The finals were held in a few events on opening day. But mostly preliminary races were held, with the finals coming on Saturday. No prelims were held in the relay events, which are Austin's best shot at a state berth.

Austin senior Theresa Hirsch reached the finals of the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.1. She was in the top six heading into Saturday's finals. Sophomore Emily Johnson had a time of 27.32 to reach the finals of the 200 dash. She enters Saturday's race as the seventh seed.

"They did run good races," Austin coach Nancy Jones said.

Austin junior Lisa Bue had a disappointing day in a couple of events. After jumping 5 feet in the high jump at the Big Nine Conference meet, Bue topped out at 4-foot-8 in the finals at the section meet. Austin freshman Bethany Larson cleared 4-foot-10 in the high jump but, like Bue, did not place.

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Bue had a time of 2:28 in the 800 run, missing a spot in the finals by less than two seconds.

"She raced a decent race and was second in her heat," Jones said. "She was just in one of the slower heats."

In the finals of the 3,200, Austin's Natalie Bowers and Megan Wilson both ran season bests but did not place. Bowers' time of 12:37 was eight seconds off her previous best, and Wilson's time of 13:36 was 22 seconds better than her previous best.

Austin will enter Saturday's finals with the top-seeded relay in the 800 meter event. The Austin foursome of Hirsch, Johnson, Jenny Tucker and Staci Tucker needs to place in the top two to earn a state berth. The Packers also are seeded sixth in the 400 relay and seventh in the 1,600 relay.

"That's kind of where we're planning to get some points," Jones said of the relay events.

On Thursday, none of the Packers placed in the discus and long jump.

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