Boys track and field: Ponies roll to True Team section title

By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette

OAK PARK HEIGHTS – A heavy favorite entering Thursday’s Section 2AAA True Team event, the Stillwater boys’ track and field team achieved its primary objective while qualifying for next week’s state meet.

Behind a solid, but not overwhelming performance, the Ponies totaled 851.5 points to outdistance second-place Woodbury 699 and the rest of the eight-team field at Stillwater Area High School, which is also the site of the state meet on Friday.

"I thought we’d win so I’m not at all surprised, but the career bests were not there," Stillwater coach Scott Christensen said. "I’m just happy to be in True Team state."

The Ponies, who have advanced to state 22 times in the 26-year history of the event, dominated the distance events while scoring 234 out of a possible 239 points that were available in the 800-, 1600- and 3,200-meter races and the 4×800 relay.

Wayde Hall (1:59.39), Sean Bjork (2:00.08) and Tom Linner (2:00.59) finished 1-2-3 in the 800. There was a more than seven-second gap between Linner and the fourth-place finisher in the event. Eric Colvin won the 3,200 in 9:36.49 with teammates Matt Chu (9:58.22) and Evan Johnson (10:08.75) not far behind in third and fourth. Stillwater also placed second through fourth in the 1,600 with Tayler Aarness (4:23.72), Eli Krahn (4:36.44) and Eric Corcoran (4:36.79).

"I don’t think we ran particularly well in the distance races, but we scored a lot of points," Christensen said. "Other than Chu, we did not have a single career best. They’re sick of racing each other and (Thursday) was just another meet of racing each other, but that will change on Friday. If you’re going to run a career best you want to do it (at True Team state). This is the time of year when you need to be running career bests."

Josh Choe, Evan Johnson, Zach Bigaouette and Hall led the Ponies to a victory in the 4×800 with a time of 8:22.65. Stillwater also placed second in the 4×200 (1:32.03) and 4×400 relays, recording a season-best time in the mile relay.

Nate Bird added a first-place finish for Stillwater in the discus with a distance of 154-6, which was nearly 21 feet farther than the next closest finisher.

Makao Day placed second in the 400 with a time of 51.28 and the Ponies received third-place finishes from Nate Ricci (200), Kevin Meads (300 hurdles), Alex Burback (shot put) and Connor O’Neill (pole vault).

"I thought the hurdles was good for us," Christensen said. "Meads had a very good day in the hurdles and the high jump looked better than I thought it had all season."

Team standings

1. Stillwater 851.5; 2. Woodbury 699; 3. St. Thomas Academy 635.5; 4. Park 632.5; 5. East Ridge 553.5; 6. Hastings 472; 7. Tartan 462.5; 8. Henry Sibley 448.5.

Individual results

100 – 1. D’Monte Farley (Par) 11.27; 11. Erroll Williams (St) 12.04; 12. Jackson Thiets (St) 12.30; 22. Michael Liddell (St) 12.65.

200 – 1. D’Monte Farley (Par) 22.54; 3. Nate Ricci (St) 22.84; 8. Mitchell Schertz (St) 23.90; 13. Zack Smith (St) 24.51.

400 – 1. Nathan Roese (ER) 49.98; 2. Makao Day (St) 51.28; 6. Tom Linner (St) 52.69; 9. Mitchell Schertz (St) 53.62.

800 – 1. Wayde Hall (St) 1:59.39; 2. Sean Bjork (St) 2:00.08; 3. Tom Linner (St) 2:00.59.

1,600 – 1. Zack Benning (Has) 4:31.23; 2. Tayler Aarness (St) 4:34.72; 3. Eli Krahn (St) 4:36.44; 4. Eric Corcoran (St) 4:36.79.

3,200 – 1. Eric Colvin (St) 9:36.49; 3. Matt Chu (St) 9:58.22; 4. Evan Johnson (St) 10:08.75.

110 hurdles – 1. Rilwan Alowonle (Par) 14.82; 5. Kevin Meads (St) 16.82; 9. Geoff Berg (St) 17.73; 10. Connor O’Neill (St) 17.74.

300 hurdles – 1. Rilwan Alowonle (Par) 37.03; 3. Kevin Meads (St) 41.53; 10. Alex Klein (St) 43.57; 11. Geoff Berg (St) 43.87.

4×100 relay – 1. Park, 43.11; 5. Stillwater (Erroll Williams, Thomond O’Brien, Jordan Phelps and Zack Smith) 45.89.

4×200 relay – 1. Woodbury, 1:31.64; 2. Stillwater (Makao Day, Jordan Phelps, Zack Smith and Nate Ricci) 1:32.03.

4×400 relay – 1. Woodbury, 3:24.72; 2. Stillwater (Makao Day, Mitchell Schertz, Larry Lorbiecki and Nate Ricci) 3:26.63.

4×800 relay – 1. Stillwater (Josh Choe, Evan Johnson, Zach Bigaouette and Wayde Hall) 8:22.65.

Long jump – 1. D’Monte Farley (Par) 21-11 1/4; 5. Nate Ricci (St) 20-5; 11. Zack Smith (St) 19-7 3/4; 12. Jordan Phelps (St) 19-7 1/2.

Triple jump – 1. Rilwan Alowonle (Par) 46-1; 9. Michael Liddell (St) 40-0; 11. Connor O’Neill (St) 38-1 1/4; 12. Nicholas Wanovich (St) 37-7 1/2.

Shot put – 1. Andrew Griffith (STA) 47-3 1/4; 3. Alex Burbach (St) 46-2 1/2; 8. Ricky Pearson (St) 43-5 1/4; 11. Austin Conery (St) 41-3.

Discus – 1. Nate Bird (St) 154-6; 8. David Peterson (St) 118-11; 9. Kyle Kazmierczak (St) 115-10.

High jump – 1. Jayden Cline (ER) 6-0; 5. Josh Johnson (St) 5-10; 6. Mark Portz (St) 5-10; 10. Connor O’Neill (St) 5-8.

Pole vault – 1. Wes Evansen (Has) 13-6; 3. Connor O’Neill (St) 13-0; 8. Sean Tompkins (St) 11-0; 13. Tony Giebel (St) 10-0.

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