State track meet: LaPlante shoots for moon, wins state gold
As front-runner to win the Class A state shot put event, it’s fitting Chatfield’s Jayme LaPlante was the last participant to throw on Friday.
As front-runner to win the Class A state shot put event, it's fitting Chatfield's Jayme LaPlante was the last participant to throw on Friday.
Seconds before he let lose the last shot put of his high school career, his coach, Geoff Heppding, bellowed, "Shoot for the moon!"
LaPlante nearly did hit something celestial as he launched the metal sphere a state championship-winning distance of 56 feet, 11.5 inches.
"Honestly … it feels like I'm on top of the world," LaPlante said as the distance was a personal record, too. "It's a head game and I mentally prepared myself to do improve every time I went up today."
LaPlante's blue ribbon bookends a senior year that started with a state title on the gridiron, and culminated with him atop the shot put podium. The Minnesota State University, Mankato recruit bested Luverne's Cody Rofshus, who gave chase with a second-place toss of 56 feet, 3 inches.
Heppding dubbed Friday as "something from out of a movie."
"Jayme threw two feet further on his last throw than he's ever done before," the coach said. "It's incredible that he would end his high school career that way at state. How perfect. It's storybook."
Starting the year at 51 feet, 5 inches at the indoor RCTC meet, LaPlante's "freaky quickness" in the event helped him win every single tournament in 2014, including the Friday's final one.
"Winning the football championship was great because of my buddies, but this one, this individual one, it means it's all on you," LaPlante said.
For Trost, a third state title
LaPlante wasn't the only Rochester-area athlete who came home with a crown on Friday.
Cannon Falls' speed queen Emi Trost overcame an injury-riddled senior season, and made a move with 300 meters left in the 3,200-meter run to take state with a time of 10:56.30.
"I'm just so happy," she said, as she shaved six seconds of her first-place seeding time of 11:02.78. "I'm so thankful and blessed because I hadn't expected to be able to run this season."
The top 800-meter runner in Class A last year, Trost also won the Class A cross country title this fall. But when comparing her three championships, she said Friday's was sweetest. Maybe because she spent the majority of the race behind Mayer Luther's Hannah Truniger, before making a move with just 300 meters remaining.
Trost's final kick was a spectacular one as she ended up winning by a full 10 seconds.
"I wasn't sure when to kick because my leg still lingers of my injury," she said. "But when I went around her, I could tell by her breathing that I could do it. And I just gave it my all."
Z-M's Lindhart brings home bronze
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Maddie Lindhart finished with bronze honors in the discus, improving upon her seeding toss of 116 feet, 4 inches and notching a launch of 118 feet, 3 inches.
"Today was my first time at state," she said. "I took fourth at sections last year."
Talk about year-over-year improvement for the junior.
Even though junior Olivia Haug of Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton was seeded third with a toss of 120, 3 inches, she took forth. Her best effort on Friday was 117 feet, 9 inches. Katelyn Weber of St. Clair won the event with a throw of 126 feet, 1 inch.
Senior Brielle Bierman of La Crescent will be one to watch on Saturday as she won both her hurdles heats. She's seeded second in the finals for not only the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.13, but also in the 100-meter hurdles (15.58).
"The 300-meter hurdles is my race," she said. "It's been my best race ever since I tried it out late in my freshman year."
Eighth-grader Chloe Holtz of Plainview-Elgin-Millville made it to the podium on Friday, taking eighth place in the high jump. She cleared 5 feet after being seeded 5 feet, 1 inch.
Fellow Bulldog Karlie Gilbeck took sixth in the long jump, leaping 16 feet, 5.25 inches. Her seeded jump, however, had been 16 feet, 11 inches.
"I did have a good jump today – in the mid-17s – but I scratched by just one-half an inch," she said, as such a jump would have given her the state title. The winner leapt 17 feet, 1.25 inches. "But hey, I have next year."
Here come Lourdes' relay teams
If you went by seed times, Rochester Lourdes senior Ian Torchia was the heavy favorite to win the 3,200-meter run as his time of 9:29.84 was tops by 18 seconds.
"But seed times don't mean anything here (at state)," he said. "Some guys don't run very hard at sections."
Torchia ended up taking third place with a time of 9:41.76, five seconds behind Perham's Keeghan Hurley.
"It was good having people to run against – it came down to the last 400," he said. "It's not about speed at that point. It's about strength and I could see Keeghan was still holding strong."
After breaking his hip at the 2013 section meet, Torchia admitted he was floored to perform so well in 2014 and finish with the bronze at state.
"It's been amazing," he said. "I'm so blessed to have this year."
Speaking of amazing, Rochester Lourdes has a chance to not only possibly win the 4x100-meter relay, the 800-meter relay, and the 1,600-meter relay, but there's an outside shot at the 3,200-meter relay, too.
The 400-meter relay team is .22 seconds behind Foley for seeding in the finals, as Luke Shelerud, Adam Hannan, Kane Carstens and McKay Carstens clocked a 43.80.
Then the 800-meter relay team is seeded first with a time of 1:29.77. Nick Steinmetz, Dakota Streit, Kane Carstens and McKay Carstens clocked in under their seed time of 1:30.03.
By the time McKay Carstens crossed the finish line during their heat, there was no one near him.
"We broke the school record in the (800) for the third time," he said as the 1:29.77 is the swiftest in Lourdes history. "We thought it could happen today. We just work on putting the bar higher and higher."
As for the 1,600-meter relay team, they have a dominant four-second lead, coming in at 3:22.63, thanks to Nick Steinmetz, Dakota Streit, Kane Carstens and McKay Carstens.
The finals for the 3,200-meter relay will have Noah Hillman, Colin Ryan, Montana Streit and Dakota Streit in the thick of things with a time of 8:15.84.
In the pole vault, senior Nick Sigrist of Byron overcame his pole shattering during an early attempt. Not only did he recover, and locate a new stick, but he placed fourth in state in the event, too. His top leap was 12 feet, nine inches.
In addition, the senior is not only seeded fifth in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.51, and he's also seeded fifth in the 300-meter hurdles (40.43).
• In the 100-meter dash, Plainview-Elgin-Millville freshman Morgan Shindelar is seeded seventh with a time of 12.62 and sophomore Anna Sweet from Rushford-Peterson/Houston is ninth (12.70). Shindelar is also seeded seventh in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.30.
• Pine Island freshman Eliza Warneke ran a 15.68 in the 100-meter hurdles and is now seeded sixth.
• Plainview-Elgin-Millville sophomore Mikayla McCullough is seeded fifth for the finals in the 300-meter hurdles (46.04).
• P-E-M 400-meter relay team (Geffan Carter, Emily Iverson, Tia Standinger and Morgan Shindelar) are seeded fifth with a 50.37.
• Chatfield's 800-meter relay team (Autum Erickson, Maddie Talamates, Ashley Baker and Maddy Kammer) ran a 1:46.15 to be seeded third. Plainview-Elgin-Millville's team of Madeson Sylvester, Geffan Carter, Emily Iverson and Chloe Holtz are seeded fourth (1:46.83). Lake City's quartet of Shannon Ting, Brandy White, Bailey Cronin and Braeden McElmury is seeded seventh (1:47.17).
• Lake City's 1,600-meter relay team (Morgan Dammann, Braeden McElmury, Madi Green and Bailey Cronin) are seeded second with a time of 4:03.30. Pine Island's team of Caitlin Schartau, Sara Schartau, Brittney Arndt and Laura Torgeson came in with a time of 4:05.4 for seventh seeding in the finals.
• Bethlehem Academy senior Isaiah Brogden is seeded second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.13. He's also seeded third in the 200-meter dash coming in at 22.51. Pine Island's Ben Farrell, an eighth grader, is seeded eighth with a time of 22.88.
• In the 400-meter dash, Pine Island sophomore Kyle Groven is seeded fifth (50.06) and freshman Noah Carlson is seeded eighth (50.39). Carlson also took seventh place in the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 11.5 inches.
• Sophomore Mitchel Acker from Pine Island is seeded third in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.04.
• In the 400-meter relay, Plainview-Elgin-Millville's team (Nate Thieke Clough, Bryce Heim, Alex Slawson and Dalten Fox) is seeded fifth with a time of 44.16. Caledonia/Spring Grove (Sam Schulte, Ben McCabe, Devan Heaney and Ryan Pitts) is seeded seventh (44.50). And Lake City is ninth coming in at 44.56 thanks to Matt Kjos, Edwin Vazquez, Elijah Hodgell and Elijah Kroll.
• In the 1,600-meter relay, Pine Island is seeded third with a time of 3:26.42 thanks to Ben Farrell, Isaiah Ondler, Jason Hoerle and Kyle Groven.