ST. MICHAEL — The work that Cayden Holcomb, Carter Holcomb, Noah Smith and DeMonte Simmons had put into their relay handoffs had been ample.
On Saturday, in the biggest track and field meet of their lives, it showed.
The baton passing from Holcomb, to Holcomb, to Smith, to Simmons was impeccable. With it, that foursome turned in their all-time best showing in the 4x100 relay and finished a lofty third in the Class AA state track and field meet at St. Michael-Albertville. It marked the sixth time that group had broken the school record in the 4x100, this time clocked in 42.74.
First place went to Champlin Park (42.34).
“We put a lot of work into handoffs, to make sure they’re right,” said Smith, who also placed sixth in the 200 (22.39). "Today, they were clean and crisp, the best they’ve ever been for us.”
Smith entered the state meet feeling confident about his relay’s prospects. They’d run a 43.20 last week in the state-qualifying meet, but the 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior was certain they could do better than that at state.
Confidence is a common theme among all four of these Mayo guys.
“We are all performers,” Smith said. “We all perform our best under pressure.”
Century relay team breaks through
The Century combination of junior Tyler White and seniors Seth Hill, Ryan Horton and Silas Green were left to wonder.
They were also left to celebrate on Saturday as they flourished in the state meet.
Their event was the 4x800 relay. That Century foursome entered the meet with one of the worst qualifying times in the 16-team field, 8:16.29. On Saturday, they demolished that mark, clocked in a season-best 8:01.54.
That landed them a fourth-place finish. Even more impressive is that they did it while operating in the slower of Saturday’s two heats. That 8:16.29 qualifying time — done in the Section 1AA meet — had put them there.
“What they did today was phenomenal,” Century assistant coach Mikey Allen said. “To come out of the slow heat and finish fourth, that is really good. But to be honest, we expected it.”
That confidence came from knowing they'd throttled things down in the 4x800 at the section meet in order to leave energy that day for individual events.
It was not a strategy employed Saturday, when the 4x800 was the sole event for each of them.
“I figured we’d get around the time that we did,” Hill said. “Actually, we were hoping for even a little bit better than that.”
That might have happened had they been with the fast heat, which produced three teams hitting sub-8 minutes, including Andover’s winning time of 7:54.58. Century won its heat by a bunch, Horton grabbing the lead in the third leg and then Green adding to it.
“We did what we knew we could do,” Horton said. “But had we been in the fast heat, I really think we could have hung with the top three teams.”
Century's Nelson stuns in pole vault
Out of nowhere, Century's Nathan Nelson soared higher than he ever had on Saturday in the state meet. Way higher.
Nelson pole vaulted 14 feet, 3 inches. His previous best had been 13 feet. That stunning improvement left the sophomore third overall. He wasn't far from first. Wayzata's Jack Helmich won it with a 14-6 clearance.
• Century senior Isaiah Huber was 10th in the 100 (11.0), and Mayo’s Spencer Pearson placed 10th in the triple jump (41-8). . .John Marshall sophomore Michael Nicometo was 11th in the 200, in 22.52.
CLASS AA STATE MEET
(Winner; Section 1AA teams)
1. Rosemount 55, 3. Farmington 34, 6. (tie) Lakeville North 29, 27. (tie) Mayo 14, Century 14, 33. Owatonna 11, 56. Lakeville South 3.
(Winner; Section 1AA finishers; *meet record)
100 — 1. Gary Afram (Rosemount) 10.70; 10. Isaiah Huber (Century) 11.0. 100 wheelchair — 1. Blake Eaton (Duluth Denfeld) 22.04. 200 — 1. Landen Liu (Centennial) 22.13; 6. Noah Smith (Mayo) 22.39; 11. Michael Nicometo (John Marshall) 22.52. 200 wheelchair — 1. Blake Eaton (Duluth Denfield) 38.17. 400 — 1. Gus Langford (DeLaSalle) 48.64; 2. Ramy Ayoub (Farmington) 49.02; 4. Miles Townsend (Rosemount) 49.78. 800 — 1. Will Skelly (Mounds View) 1:53.46; 2. Bryce Stachewicz (Lakeville North) 1:54.71. 1,600 — 1. Gabe Smit (Prior Lake) 4:15.96; 6. Brennen Peterson (Rosemount) 4:22.87; 9. Andrew Casey (Lakeville North) 4:25.89. 110 hurdles — 1. George Jackson (Hopkins) 14.09; 5. Jack Titchenal (Owatonna) 15.05; 9. Ben Mosser (Lakeville South) 15.25. 300 hurdles — 1. Sam Duffing (Hopkins) 39.15; 2. Jack Kocher (Lakeville North) 39.45; 16. Ryan Gregory (Owatonna) 42.96.
4x100 — 1. Champlin Park 42.34; 3. Mayo (Cayden Holcomb, Carter Holcomb, Noah Smith and DeMonte Simmons) 42.74. 4x200 — 1. Farmington 1:28.14; 8. Rosemount 1:29.65. 4x400 — 1. Farmington 3:22.34; 3. Lakeville North 3:25.16. 4x800 — 1. Andover 7:54.58; 4. Century (Tyler White, Seth Hill, Ryan Horton, Silas Green) 8:01.54.
Triple jump — 1. William Heydt (Alexandria) 45-4 1/2; 10. Spencer Pearson (Mayo) 41-8; 14. Aiden Buendorf (Rosemount) 40-11 1/4. Long jump — 1. William Hanson (Edina) 22-3 1/4; 4. Justin Gleason (Owatonna) 21-5 1/4; 6. Gary Agram (Rosemount) 20-10 1/4. High jump — 1. Jacob Ziebarth (Cambridge Isanti) 6-7; 8. Ben Mosser (Lakeville South) 6-2; 11. Devin Jax (Northfield) 6-0. Shot put — 1. Marcus Hansen (Waseca) 63-2 1/4; 4. Hayden Bills (Rosemount) 53-1/2; 5. Weston Ebner (Rosemount) 52-2 3/4. Discus — 1. Marcus Hansen (Waseca) 178-8; 2. Hayden Bills (Rosemount) 165-1; 4. Charles Barnick (Rosemount) 151-6. Pole vault — 1. Jack Helmich (Wayzata) 14-6; 3. Nathan Nelson (Century) 14-3; 8. Cayden Holcomb (Mayo) 13-6.