ST. MICHAEL — This was the way that Maia Peterson had dreamed of going out. Same with fellow Stewartville senior and best friend Hailey Lewis.
Those two, along with Haylie Strum and Taylor Klement, powered the Tigers to a first-place finish in the 4x400 relay. That happened in the final event of the day on Friday in the Class A girls state track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville.
Grabbing that state title left the perfect taste for Peterson, who was barely denied an individual championship earlier in the day in the 400. Peterson was timed in 57.37 in that one, while Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball’s Ellie Kuechle edged her in 57.34.
Both Peterson and Lewis will go on and compete at the college level next year in track and field. But for now, they’re going to enjoy the heck out of the sweet memories provided by this relay title. They’d each participated three prior times at state in the 4x400, finishing second, third and then second again.
Getting over the hump on Friday meant everything to them.
“We were super hungry for this, but nervous, too,” said Peterson, whose 4x400 team finished in 4:01.18, a record for them. “We had two new runners this year (freshman Klement and sophomore Strum), so we didn’t know how it would go. But they did an amazing job. It was really cool to see that.”
The title was enough to leave Lewis in tears.
“Winning it is just an amazing feeling,” Lewis said. “This is something we’ve wanted all along. When we were done, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, did we actually win?’ And then I bawled in Maia’s arms.”
Peterson looked like she might also capture that individual 400 title. She knew it would be a serious test going against Kuechle, as both entered the state meet with identical 57.49 state-qualifying times.
Friday’s race demostrated how equal they really are, with Kuechle beating out Peterson by the smallest of margins. As soon as Kuechle cross the finished line, she collapsed.
Then, in typical Peterson fashion, the big-hearted Stewartville senior immediately helped her back onto her feet.
“I wanted (Kuechle) to see her time on the scoreboard,” Peterson said. “Plus, she is a super sweet person.”
GMLOKS wins relay title
Stewartville’s championship 4x400 team represented just one of two state titles won by Section 1A athletes. The other also came in a relay, with Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland’s combination of Anna Oehlke, Hailey Hindt, Madison Hindt and Anika Reiland finishing first in the 4x200 relay (1:45.89), a school record. GMLOKS was third as a team in the state meet with 39 points. Stewartville was seventh, with 31.
Hindt had lots to do with GMLOKS’ success. Besides helping it to the 4x200 title, the senior was third in the 100 hurdles (15.04) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (45.72).
Hindt has been leading the team all season, in lots of ways.
“I try to be really influential in our good work ethic,” she said. “I come to practice ready to work, but I also try to show that we can have fun as we do it.”
Katrina Sortland just misses
Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s Katrina Sortland came close to an individual title in the 800. The sophomore went out strong and led almost the entire race. Finally, though, Canby/Minneota’s Grace Drietz caught her in the final 15 meters and ran off a winner, clocked in 2:17.36. Sortand’s time was 2:17.87. Drietz also won the 1,600, in 5:00.45.
Sortland wonders if she went out too fast.
"I started out so fast that I got leg cramps at the end," she said. "But I feel pretty good about finishing second. I had a good season of training and my dad really helped me get in the right mindset."
St. Charles’ Lindsey Root was third in the long jump (17-feet-8) and sixth in the 200 (26.33). GMLOKS sophomore Anika Reiland was fourth in the 100 (12.48) and fifth in the 200 (26.31).
Lourdes managed a fourth place in the 4x100 relay (50.56). That team consisted of Grace Buntrock, Paige Gallaugher, Ella Shedivy and CJ Adamson.
(Winner; Section 1A teams)
1. Rockford 46, 3. Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland 39, 7. Stewartville 31, 16. Zumbrota-Mazeppa 21, 26. St. Charles 12, 34. Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton 8, 45. (tie) Blooming Prairie 6, Lourdes 6, 57. Winona Cotter 3, 65. (tie) Lake City 2, Lewiston-Altura 2, 71. (tie) Pine Island 1, Chatfield 1, Hayfield 1.
(Winner; Section 1A finishers; *meet record)
100 — 1. Anisa Thompson (Blake) 12.23; 4. Anika Reiland (GMLOKS) 12.48; 11. Amanda Iverson (LaC) 12.82. 200 — 1. Anisa Thompson (Blake) 25.46; 5. Anika Reiland (GMLOKS) 26.31; 6. Lindsey Root (St. Charles) 26.33. 400 — 1. Ellie Kuechle (Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball) 57.34; 2. Maia Peterson (Stewartville) 57.36; 9. Brielle Ruen (Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton) 59.87. 800 — 1. Grace Drietz (Canby/Minneota) 2:17.36; 2. Katrina Sortland (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) 2:17.87; 9. McKenna Hendrickson (GMLOKS) 2:24.71. 1,600 — 1. Grace Drietz (Candy/Minneota) 5:00.45; 5. Natasha Sortland (Zumbrota-Mazeppa) 5:05.30; 16. Brooklyn Radtke (Pine Island) 5:41.52). 100 hurdles — 1. Shaina Zinter (Concordia Academy-Roseville) 14.29; 3. Hailey Hindt (GMLOKS) 15.04; 8. Ashley Veronen (Lake City) 15.77. 300 hurdles — 1. Shaina Zinter (Concordia Academy-Roseville) 43.51; 4. Hailey Hindt (GMLOKS) 45.72; 14. Ashley Veronen (Lake City) 49.12.
4x100 — 1. Rockford 49.88; 4. Lourdes (Grace Buntrock, Paige Gallaugher, Ella Shedivy, CJ Adamson) 50.56; 10. GMLOKS (Chantle Reiland, Ellie Buchholz, Anna Oehlke, Madison Hindt) 51.97. 4x200 — 1. GMLOKS (Anna Oehlke, Hailey Hindt, Madison Hindt, Anika Reiland) 1:44.41; 5. Stewartville (Jaidyn Brower, Maia Peterson, Hailey Lewis, Jolie Stecher) 1:45.89.4x400 — 1. Stewartville (Haylie Strum, Taylor Klement, Hailey Lewis, Maia Peterson) Hailey 4:01.18; 8. Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton 4:12.83. 4x800 — 1. Luverne 9:34.64; 7. Cotter (Claire Heiring, Aubrey Williams, Sonja Semling, Claire Ebertowski) 9:52.64; 9. GMLOKS (Lauren Queensland, Shelby Beck, McKenna Hendrickson, Kendyl Queensland)10:01.62.
Long jump — 1. Nyalaam Jok (Annandale) 20-1/2; 3. Lindsey Root (St. Charles) 17-8; 9. Jackie Cole (Medford) 16-9 3/4. Triple jump — 1. Maggie Larson (Maple Lake) 40-10 1/2; 9. Jaci Newman (Pine Island( 35-3; 13. Maia Peterson (Stewartville) 34-5 1/2. High jump — *1. Nyalaam Jok (Annandale) 6-0; 4. Annaka Forsberg (Blooming Prairie) 5-3; 14. Ashley Veronen (Lake City) 4-10. Shot put — 1. Delaney Smithy (Windom) 43-2 3/4; 8. Raina Stecher (Stewartville) 36-7 3/4; 9. Madison Johnson (Hayfield) 36-6 1/2. Discus — 1. Metaya Jergenson (Minnewaska) 123-8; 8. Raina Stecher (Stewartville) 114-5; 9. Zayda Priebe (Chatfield) 113-4. Pole vault — 1. Toryn Richards (Waterville-Elysian-Morristown) 10-9; 5. Madison Simon (Lanesboro/Fillmore Central/Mabel-Canton) 10-0; 8. Jonna Gunnarson (Lewiston-Altura) 9-6.