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Century comes up with a surprise gift — a state relay title

The Century 4x100 girls relay team got a spectacular final leg from Megan Lund and snuck past Minnetonka to give the Panthers a rare relay state title.

Class AAA Track and Field State Finals
Century High School's Favor Omoijuanfo celebrates with her teammate after finishing the girl's 4x100 relay during the Class AAA State Track and Field Finals at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael, Minnesota on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The group finished first with a final time of 47.70.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin
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ST. MICHAEL — Quite a birthday present for Century girls track-and-field coach Kris Allen.

The gift was presented to her — and to themselves — by the Century 4x100 relay team.

It was a state championship, won Saturday night at St. Michael-Albertville High School on the final day of the Class AAA track-and-field meet.

“The last time we won a relay (4x800, in 2011) it was also my birthday,” said Allen, who spoke through tears. “I watched it today, but I still don’t believe it. There is a lot of pressure on these girls. They really wanted to win, but they held up so well.”

Saturday’s state title relay team is almost identical to the Century foursome that finished second at state last year, the only newcomer Megan Lund. And goodness, are they glad to have that sophomore around now.

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While Allen noted that all four of her 4x100 runners performed well (in order, junior Favor Omoijuanfo, junior Madison Habberstad, senior Sarrah Lindner, sophomore Lund), Allen didn’t hesitate in picking out the Panthers’ lifesaver this day.

It was that sophomore, Lund. She ran the final leg of the relay. When she received the baton from Habberstad, Century appeared to have little chance of emerging as champion. Minnetonka was in front of second-place Century and by a considerable margin.

But just a second. This was exactly what Lund had been working on that very morning, chasing runners down from behind. She did it in case she was confronted with this very scenario at the state meet.

Now, here it was.

“The coaches were telling me that if it was a close race, that I’d have to stay relaxed the whole time when I ran, that I couldn’t get tensed up because then I’d lose my form,” Lund said. “I kept that in mind. I stayed relaxed even as I was getting closer and closer to (Minnetonka anchor runner Briena Giebel).”

Lund really did stay relaxed, she really did pass Giebel in the final meter and Century really did win the race, just the second time ever it had claimed a state relay. That foursome was timed in 47.70, runner-up Minnetonka in 47.73.

Century finished its season having never lost in a 4x100 race and as a state champion.

Mayo's Hanson in loaded field

Mayo athletic star Hannah Hanson had never seen elite competition quite like what showed up on Saturday night.

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Hanson was competing in both hurdles, the 100’s and 300’s. In both, it turned out that some of the best athletes ever to do the hurdles in Minnesota were there.

That included Rosemount’s Ava Cinnamo in both races and Roseville’s Ava Fitzgerald in the 100’s.

Class AAA Track and Field State Finals
Mayo High School's Hannah Hanson leans into the finish of the girls 100 high hurdles during the Class AAA State Track and Field Finals at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael, Minnesota on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Hanson finished fourth with a final time of 14.33.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

Hanson did her part, running faster than she'd ever run before. She was clocked in 14.33 in the 100’s, 44.39 in the 300’s.

That might have been good enough to win either race in some seasons. But not this one. Not with Fitzgerald running an all-time state record 13.81 in the 100’s, Cinnamo clocking a personal-best 14.22 and Coon Rapids' Kennedy Martinson also getting a personal-best 14.30. Hanson’s 14.33 was good for fourth.

It was the same thing in the longer hurdles race. Hanson ran a 44.39, but everyone in front of her also ran personal bests, including Cinnamo’s 43.10 which won it.

Hanson wasn’t bothered by any of it. Instead, she was just glad to be a part of a group this strong.

“It was amazing to run against girls that fast,” said Hanson, who is also a volleyball and basketball standout. “And to (have a personal-best time) was great. I’m really happy about all of it and excited for next year. I’m continuing to find out how fun this sport really is.”

Gordon just misses record

Penelopea Gordon has been flirting all season with the Century record in the 800.

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It is 2:13.13, set by Jenny Guibert. Gordon just missed that mark a couple of times this season and did again Saturday, clocked in 2:13.30.

Class AAA Track and Field State Finals
Century High School's Penelopea Gordon runs in the girl's 800 during the Class AAA State Track and Field Finals at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael, Minnesota on Saturday, June 11, 2022. Gordon finished third with a final time of 2:13.30.
Tucker Allen Covey / Post Bulletin

It left the senior third overall. First place went to Burnsville’s Zoie Dundon, in 2:09.51. Wayata’s Teegan Anderson was second (2:12.69).

Gordon was also a part of a Century 4x800 relay team (Sophia Comfere, Madison Ohm, Sophia Trabuco, Gordon) that finished third Saturday in 9:27.70 and a 4x400 relay team that was ninth, in 4:02.04.

It was a busy Saturday for the Century senior.

Notable

• Century’s Habberstad also competed in the pole vault, finishing ninth with a height of 10-feet-6. She finished the meet All-State (top-nine finisher) in four events.

• Century finished sixth as a team with 35 points. Rosemount was the winner with 93.

Complete meet results: https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/475179/results/all

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Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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