Girls track and field: Ponies run down section title

By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette

OAK PARK HEIGHTS – For a group that coach Dawn Podolske has characterized more by quantity, the Stillwater girls’ track and field team showcased plenty of quality while dominating the 16-team field during the Section 4AA meet on Thursday at Stillwater Area High School.

The Ponies totaled 156 points to easily outdistance runner-up Roseville (93) and third-place Woodbury (90) and claim their seventh section crown in the last nine years. By comparison, Stillwater clipped Roseville by just two points to win last year’s section championship.

Stillwater also ensured a busy schedule for next week’s state meet, with a total of 15 athletes combined to provide eight entries – including all four relays. The section title complements an impressive season that also includes last week’s Suburban East Conference title, a victory at the True Team section meet and a fourth-place finish at True Team state.

"We’ve just been on a roll," said Ponies coach Dawn Podolske, who was also voted Section 4AA Coach of the Year. "This meet is a lot different than the others because teams want to get their kids through to the state meet and we loaded our relays. I don’t think in my career all four relays have gone to the state meet so that’s really exciting. All four of those races were really a lot of fun."

Stillwater scored points in every event except for the 100 and 1,600 meters.

"We had someone in every finals except the open 100, which makes the meet more fun and you have a chance to score points for your team, too," Podolske said.

Lauren Olsen, Alex Crain, Bethany Adkins and Anna Posbergh ran to a victory in the 4×100 relay in a time of 49.52. Adkins and Crain also contributed to Stillwater’s winning 4×200 relay team (1:42.67) that included Kelcie Kempenich and Natalie Phippen.

The Ponies also claimed the 4×400 relay with Fiona Montie, Phippen, Maria Morley and Kempenich turning in a winning time of 3:57.37.

Stillwater finished second in the 4×800 relay with a time of 9:28.98 posted by Cassie Pratt, Larissa Colvin, Abby Lange and Morley.

"It was their best times, I believe, for all four relays," Podolske said.

Brooke Hunter provided Stillwater’s only individual section title while winning the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.32. Shelby Litchy (15.99) finished sixth in that event, but also earned a spot in the state meet while placing third in the 300 hurdles in a time of 45.97 – one spot in front of eighth-grade teammate Cecelia Peterson, who placed third at 46.60. Hunter also finished seventh in 48.76 to provide plenty of points in that event.

"Brooke Hunter winning the 100 hurdles was exciting and that time is outstanding," Podolske said.

Posbergh cleared 10-1 in the pole vault to finish second and qualify for state in that event. She also finished third in the long jump to miss out on state by one spot while finishing behind teammate and runner-up Alicia Doerr (16-10 1/2). That was one of three narrow misses for the Ponies to go along with Peterson’s third-place finish in the 300 hurdles. Rachel Amos was the other as she finished third in the triple jump with a distance of 35-9 3/4.

"She had gone maybe like 33-9 but then made the finals and jumped 35-9," Podolske said. "When you see a kid going that distance and realizing all the hard work is paying off is pretty special."

The points rolled in from across the board and not always, including some from those who did not advance to state. For example, Dayshia Coleman – who also competed in the 100 meters – finished fifth in the shot put with a distance of 33-3 3/4 and Crain, in addition to running the open 200 and on two winning relays, found time to score in the discus while placing ninth.

"There were some great, great performances," Podolske said. "I think you can see, if you watch, that it’s important and winning is nice and I wish we could do this well every year, but to see the kids having fun in what they’re doing is also fun for us coaches to see. They want to do well for each other and the team, so it’s a pretty special group of kids."

Team standings

1. Stillwater 156; 2. Roseville 93; 3. Woodbury 90; 4. St. Paul Highland Park 86; 5. Tartan 85; 6. North St. Paul 75; 7. White Bear Lake 82.5; 8. Mahtomedi 65; 9. East Ridge 57.5; 10. Cretin-Derham Hall 45; 11. St. Paul Johnson 24; 12. Hill-Murray 20; 13. St. Paul Harding 16; 14. St. Paul Central 15; 15. Minneapolis Roosevelt 15; 16. St. Paul Como Park 3.

Individual results

State qualifiers, Stillwater finishers

100 – *1. Natasha Moore (SPJ) 12.14; *2. Megan Linder (C-DH) 12.41. Prelims: 22. Lauren Olsen (St) 13.68; 31. Dayshia Coleman (St) 13.89; 42. Paige Becker (St) 14.72.

200 – *1. Natasha Moore (SPJ) 25.31; *2. Megan Linder (C-DH) 25.50; *3. Erica Dombro (SPHP) 25.51; 8. Alex Crain (St) 26.72. Prelims: 15. Bethany Adkins (St) 27.63; 21. Lauren Olsen (St) 28.17.

400 – *1. Megan Linder (C-DH) 56.97; *2. Erica Dombro (SPHP) 57.09; 6. Fiona Montie (St) 1:01.12.

800 – *1. Samantha Nielsen (Ros) 2:15.07; *2. Allison Ternes (WBL) 2:18.94; 6. Abby Lange (St) 2:27.17; 9. Anne Boldt (St) 2:28.01. Prelims: 17. Nora Gilbertson (St) 2:33.97.

1,600 – *1. Shaelyn Sorensen (Tar) 5:12.56; *2. Erika Nolby (Tar) 5:13.16; 16. Megan Weaver (St) 5:38.66; 19. Claire Patterson (St) 5:42.50; 30. Lauren Lampright (St) 6:01.04.

3,200 – *1. Allison Cordes (Ros) 11:28.25; *2. Shaelyn Sorensen (Tar) 11:28.45; 5. Cassie Pratt (St) 11:33.09; 9. Larissa Colvin (St) 11:52.15; 28. Elise Buchman (St) 13:01.97.

100 hurdles – *1. Brooke Hunter (St) 15.32; *2. Wakpor Ighovojah (Wo) 15.49; 6. Shelby Litchy (St) 15.99. Prelims: 10. Rachel Amos (St) 16.77.

300 hurdles – *1. Lisa Huska (Wo) 45.72; *2. Shelby Litchy (St) 45.97; 3. Cecelia Peterson (St) 46.60; 7. Brooke Hunter (St) 48.76.

4×100 relay – *1. Stillwater (Lauren Olsen, Alex Crain, Bethany Adkins and Anna Posbergh) 49.52; *2. Roseville, 50.42.

4×200 relay – *1. Stillwater (Bethany Adkins, Kelcie Kempenich, Alex Crain and Natalie Phippen) 1:42.67; *2. East Ridge, 1:44.89.

4×400 relay – *1. Stillwater (Fiona Montie, Natalie Phippen, Maria Morley and Kelcie Kempenich) 3:57.37; *2. East Ridge, 3:59.38.

4×800 relay – *1. East Ridge, 9:27.41; *2. Stillwater (Cassie Pratt, Larissa Colvin, Abby Lange and Maria Morley) 9:28.98.

Long jump – *1. Gabrielle Murphy (NSP) 17-10 1/2; *2. Alicia Doerr (St) 16-10 1/2; 3. Anna Posbergh (St) 16-8 1/4; 8. Karina Ikuta (St) 16-1 1/2.

Triple jump – *1. Julia Stedman (NSP) 36-10; *2. Grabrielle Murphy (NSP) 36-1; 3. Rachel Amos (St) 35-9 3/4; 13. Annika Anderson (St) 32-10 3/4; 14. Skyler Adkins (St) 32-7 3/4.

Shot put – *1. Angie Guenther (WBL) 41-1; *2. Courtney Lagoon (Mah) 34-4 3/4; 5. Dayshia Coleman (St) 33-3 3/4; 22. Kelsey Sievert (St) 28-9 1/2; 24. Paige Becker (St) 27-1.

Discus – *1. Angie Guenther (WBL) 154-3; *2. Monica Burich (Ros) 118-2; 9. Alex Crain (St) 99-7; 11. Madeleine Weidner (St) 96-2; 29. Paige Becker (St) 64-10.

High jump – *1. Erica Dombro (SPHP) 5-4; *2. Audra Richards (Tar) 5-2; 4. Kelcie Kempenich (St) 5-0; 10, tie, Allison Giebel (St) 4-8 and Skyler Adkins (St) 4-8.

Pole vault – *1. Emily Urban (NSP) 10-10; *2. Anna Posbergh (St) 10-1; 4. Alicia Doerr (St) 9-4; Alex Holmberg (St) NH.

* state qualifier

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