Section 1AA boys track and field: Blissful Couser gets his wish

LAKEVILLE — That was as satisfied a look as you'll see.

Century's Bennett Robelia was the Section 1AA high jump champion Saturday, sailing 6-feet-2. Robelia is state bound in the high jump and triple jump.

LAKEVILLE — That was as satisfied a look as you'll see.

It made it natural to think back to early this season, when Rochester Mayo middle-distance runner Chad Couser was bemoaning his lack of progress.

What a contrast. Couser was irked then that his times seemed stuck in the slightly above-average range. He shook his head, wondering aloud whether something might even be wrong with him.

Turns out there is nothing wrong with Chad Couser. The smile he wore after his big moment Saturday in the Section One, Class AA track and field meet said it all. So did the mobbing he received from teammates, celebrating with him.

"Stuck" no longer, Couser dashed to a 1:59.63 time and first-place finish in the 800.


With it, the senior will also be dashing to his first state meet. Couser had done it, finally.

"Getting to state in the 800 has always been my ultimate goal," said Couser, who has been a state cross country participant. "I've been running since the age of 5. But getting to state in track had always been a barrier for me. I didn't want to end my career without having made it."

Couser had to fight through the pack Saturday to get it done. The senior was boxed in the early part of the race, preventing him from getting off to the kind of start he'd wished. He said it was a slow first lap by everybody.

Good thing for Couser that he has an ability to never finish slow. Couser has some of the best pure speed for an 800 runner.

He took off in that final lap, passing a swarm of runners, and won the race with relative ease.

Robelia, Anderson 1-2 in high jump

Eli Anderson was literally shaking.

That's what happens when you've had big expectations and they're on the verge of being wiped out.


Anderson is a Century senior high jumper. He entered the section meet as its favorite, having gone 6-foot-4 once this season.

But he found himself fighting things out for second place and a trip to state with Austin Getting of Hastings.

They were engaged in a "jump off."

"I had high expectations, and this was more suspense than I was expecting," Anderson said.

Shaking and all, Anderson won the "jump off" with Getting. Life was good again. Anderson is state bound for the first time, having finished runner-up at the section meet with a 6-1 clearance.

And the winner? That was none other than Century teammate Bennett Robelia.

Robelia, also a senior, cleared 6-2. Robelia is also state bound in the triple jump, where he finished second in the section Thursday.

Red Wing's Johnson beats the mold


The stereotype for throwers is that they look like football linemen. Or maybe future bouncers.

There's usually a bit of "extra" on their bodies.

Not so with easily the best thrower in Section 1AA. That is the perfectly-fit Grahm Johnson, a Red Wing senior. There has obviously been lots of time spent in the weight room by Johnson, a powerlifter, but not much time at Dunkin' Donuts.

Johnson ramped up his workout regime more than ever this past year. It showed with his performances through the section meet. On Thursday, he won the shot put with a 57-feet-1 1/2 throw. Saturday, he was even better, sailing the discus a staggering 185-6. That nearly caught the section record of former Rochester Century star Karl Erickson, who flung it 188-8 in 2001, then went on to have a stellar career at Minnesota.

The 185-6 throw was a personal best for Johnson

"I've gotten a lot stronger, and more explosive," he said.

Johnson will be joined at state in the discus by Rochester John Marshall's Emmanuel Jada. The senior finished second in the event with a 157-7 throw.

It's Jada's first time to state.


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