Thole: Musketeers go the distance for Ponies

Stillwater’s talented distance trio of Wayde Hall, from left, Eli Krahn and Eric Colvin combined for 38 points at the Class AA track and field state meet last weekend at Hamline University in St. Paul. They helped push the Ponies to their second state championship in three years. (Photo by Brad Dixon)

Stillwater’s talented distance trio of Wayde Hall, from left, Eli Krahn and Eric Colvin combined for 38 points at the Class AA track and field state meet last weekend at Hamline University in St. Paul. They helped push the Ponies to their second state championship in three years. (Photo by Brad Dixon)

Coach Scott Christensen parlayed “The Three Musketeers” into his fifth large-school state track and field championship since taking over the reins in 1982.

Alexandre Dumas wrote a book about Porthos, Athos and Aramis and Christensen could write one on his own three musketeers Eli Krahn, Wayde Hall and Eric Colvin, who contributed 38 of the Ponies’ winning 65 points.

Forest Lake was the runner-up with 59.5 points while Wayzata was third with 57 and followed by Eden Prairie and Champlin Park with 30, Hopkins (29), East Ridge (27.5), Woodbury (27), Chaska (26) and North St. Paul (26) rounding out the top 10.

The three musketeers made a powerful statement on Friday when they accounted for 14 points in the 3,200 meters with Krahn placing second in 8:58.67 behind Richfield’s Obsa Ali, who finished in a state meet record time of 8:57.07. Colvin was seventh (9:07.80) and Hall ninth (9:09.04).

Pole vaulter Connor O’Neill eclipsed 15 feet for second place to give the good guys a commanding lead with 24 points — and the best still to come on Saturday.

Before I start blabbing about the musketeers, the Ponies also picked up some key points on Saturday with Nate Bird nailing fourth place with a 155-1 discus toss and dependable Sean Bjork clocking 1:55.71 to place fifth in the 800. Bjork also ran a leg on the Ponies’ fourth-place 4×800 relay (7:54.89) while teaming with Bailey Hesse-Withbroe, Luke Richie and Tayler Aarness.

Larissa Colvin joined Fiona Montie, Hannah Anderson and Maria Morley to place sixth in the 4x800 relay in a school record time of 9:20.29. (Gazette photo by Stuart Groskreutz)

Larissa Colvin joined Fiona Montie, Hannah Anderson and Maria Morley to place sixth in the 4×800 relay in a school record time of 9:20.29. (Gazette photo by Stuart Groskreutz)

The 1,600-meter race had local fans ecstatic with Krahn breaking the tape in 4:09.38 and Hall close behind in 4:10.42 and Colvin eighth in 4:16.62. Ali was third (4:10.91), but it was 24 points for the Red and Black and they were off to the races — no pun intended.

Kudos to the Ponies and coaches for a job well done.

Stillwater enjoyed a three-peat in 1995, 1996 and 1997. How about another?

Nuff said.

The Stillwater girls were also busy at the state meet while placing fourth in the 4×400 relay with Cela Peterson, Natalie Phippen, Shelby Litchy and Fiona Montie and sixth in both the 4×200 and 4×800 relays. Brooke Hunter, Litchy, Montie and Phippen turned in a time of 1:44.29 in the 4×200 while Montie, Larissa Colvin, Hannah Anderson and Maria Morley set a school record while finishing the 4×800 in 9:20.29.

 

Today’s Sports Trivia

Name the first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy?

 

In the huddle

I’m kind of in a rambling mood this week so I’ll start with a rant about why maybe the feds should just let go. Educational reforms have run rampant over the past several decades. Witness the rise and fall of programs such as module scheduling, outcome based education, year-around school and profiles of learning to name just a few. No Child Left Behind is another. It often seems as though the people farthest from the classroom or playing field have the most input on how our educational and extra-curricular programs should be run. They sit in their mahogany fox holes — far behind the field of battle — and make dynamic decisions that ultimately affect the entire educational system…. Harmon Killebrew hit his record home run in Met Stadium in 1969 and a red chair in the Mall of America marks the spot 582 feet away from where Killebrew’s blast was launched…. The Ponies boys’ lacrosse team (11-4) saw its season end recently with a 14-8 loss at White Bear Lake in the Section 4 semifinals. The Bears, who hung half of the losses on the Ponies, advanced to the big show by knocking off top-seeded Mahtomedi in the finals and earlier this week advanced to the state semifinals. Harrison Yaste had two goals and an assist against White Bear Lake and Matt Kaye had a pair of goals to pace the locals. Sam Sagissor had a goal and assist while Jeff Peterson had a goal and a pair of assists. George Uppgren and Nick Athmann each notched a goal…. You can’t ask for more of a man than give all that he has within his span…. Answer to Today’s Sports Trivia: Ernie Davis of Syracuse was the first black player selected for the Heisman Trophy in 1961. He did of Leukemia a short time later…. Did you know that Charlie Sheen turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid?…. I was a big fan of “America’s Mermaid” Esther Williams, who passed away last week at age 91. She was a former world record holder in the 100 freestyle. MGM signed her to a contract at age 19 and she went on to star in water aquatic movies in the 1940s and 50s. Her movies featured dozens of acrobatic and precision routines with high-risk dives. Williams was among the top-rated pin-ups among GI’s during World War II. All those aqua ballets she performed led to synchronized swimming, which later became an Olympic sport. SAHS formed the Aquateens in 1955. Esther was one of a kind, that’s for sure, and she was a top money producing movie star without getting out of her bathing suit…. The Ponies baseball season also came to an end with a 2-zip loss to seventh-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall in the Section 4AAA tournament at Midway Stadium in St. Paul on June 1. Rob Mouton got the win by holding the Ponies to just four hits. Grant Moden was 2 for 2 at the plate for Stillwater while Austin Holmberg and Steve Albertson accounted for the other two hits. Andy Peterson took the loss, but he held the Raiders to a mere three hits. The damage was done in the second inning when the Raiders got timely hits by Conor Rhoda, Aiden Hennen and Griffin Caron. Peterson pitched lights out ball from that point on with boss support from his teammates. The good guys defeated White Bear Lake, Mahtomedi and East Ridge before falling to eventual section champion Mounds View and runner-up Cretin. The locals finished their season with a 14-10 record with victories in 12 of their last 16 games…. Congrats to the latest SAHS Distinguished Alumni Bruce Beutel ’50, Harriet McPherson ’46, Dr. Edward Elgethun ’61 and Hugh Madson ’49…. Together we build courage, character and loyalty. If we can say that with a straight face then we have accomplished something…. finis

 

Today’s rumination #622

Itching for what you want is not enough — you have to scratch for it.

• • • •

George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Thursdays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: georgethole@gmail.com

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