By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette
ST. PAUL – Junior Wayde Hall provided the biggest highlights for the Stillwater boys at this weekend’s Class AA state track and field meet at Hamline University.
The defending state champion Ponies were not a factor in the team standings this year, but Hall provided some points with matching third-place finishes in the 3,200-meter race on Friday and the 1,600 on Saturday.
Hall was one of eight athletes making up eight entries for the Ponies, who totaled 27 points to place 10th in the final team standings. Wayzata racked up 81 points to outdistance runner-up Park (64) and third-place Minnetonka (55), which scored more points than the Ponies (47) did while winning the title a year ago.
"I think we ranged from brilliant to unexpectedly mediocre, but I thought Wayde ran fantastic," Ponies coach Scott Christensen said. "To lay down two career bests and to be the best junior at the most important meet of the year, I think he really rose to the occasion. He came through big time and raced real well. His tactics were flawless and he found the perfect spot to be in both races."
Wayzata’s Josh Thorson blistered the field in the 3,200 on Friday while posting a winning time of 9:06.07. Obsa Ali of Richfield followed in second place at 9:18.25 and Hall was next in a time of 9:16.68.
"Thorson really killed it in the beginning and I couldn’t go with him," Hall said. "He was too good, and I just kind of raced for second and just tried holding on."
Eric Colvin, who led the first three laps of the race, followed in seventh place for the Ponies with a time of 9:25.55.
"I think he led the race when he shouldn’t have and fell back out of the back of the pack when he shouldn’t have," Christensen said.
Hall followed that up with a third-place showing in the 1,600 with a time of 4:14.58, finishing behind Rochester Mayo’s Riley Macon (4:12.45), who prevented runner-up Thorson (4:13.61) from sweeping the individual titles in cross country and one- and two-mile races in track his senior season.
"It was a fast start," Hall said. "We got to the 1,200 mark faster than I’ve ever been. I knew that was going to be the case with Thorson and Macon and everyone else that was really good in this meet, so I just wanted to go with them and hope for the best.
"I’m just really happy with the state meet. It was my first one in an open event and I feel it went pretty well."
Tom Linner also scored points for the Ponies in the 1,600 while placing eighth in a time of 4:19.66.
With little more than an hour between races, Linner followed with an seventh-place finish in the 800 with a time of 1:55.57 – a time that was only .16 slower than a year ago when he placed fourth in the event.
Seven of Stillwater’s eight entries finished ninth or higher, including junior Nate Bird with an eighth-place showing in the discus (153-2) and junior Connor O’Neill with a ninth-place effort in the pole vault (13-6).
"I felt anybody we got into the state meet was capable of scoring and they did," Christensen said. "Bird has had a sore foot and there was a chance he couldn’t even score, but when he hit 153 in prelims I was pretty happy with it. It was definitely a step up from last year when he didn’t make the finals.
"O’Neill was right where he has been. He made a big jump from last year and 14 feet is where the money is. He took some cracks at it."
Stillwater’s other entry was the 4×800 relay, where Evan Johnson, Eric Colvin, Josh Choe and Sean Bjork placed 11th in a time of 8:07.93.
Team standings (top 15)
1. Wayzata 81; 2. Park 64; 3. Minnetonka 55; 4. Apple Valley 41; 5. North St. Paul 39; 6. Rochester Mayo 32; 7, tie, Roseville 31 and Andover 31; 9. Lakeville South 29; 10. Stillwater 27; 11, tie, Champlin Park 26 and Blaine 26; 13. Eden Prairie 23; 14. Hopkins 21; 15, tie, Mounds View 20 and Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony 20.
100 – 1. Ayuk Tambe (Blaine) 10.79.
200 – 1. Keelon Brookins (Tartan) 21.90.
400 – 1. Nathan Roese (East Ridge) 47.79.
800 – 1. Eric Gebeke (White Bear Lake) 1:52.01; 7. Tom Linner (St) 1:55.57. Prelims: 7. Linner, 1:56.28.
1,600 – 1. Riley Macon (Rochester Mayo) 4:12.45; 3. Wayde Hall (St) 4:14.58; 8. Tom Linner (St) 4:19.66.
3,200 – 1. Josh Thorson (Wayzata) 9:06.07; 3. Wayde Hall (St) 9:19.68; 7. Eric Colvin (St) 9:25.55.
110 hurdles – 1. Rilwan Alowonle (Park) 14.04.
300 hurdles – *1. Rilwan Alowonle (Park) 36.59.
4×100 relay – 1. Park, 42.19.
4×200 relay – *1. North St. Paul, 1:27.23.
4×400 relay – 1. Wayzata, 3:18.36.
4×800 relay – 1. Wayzata, 7:52.56; 11. Stillwater (Evan Johnson, Eric Colvin, Josh Choe and Sean Bjork) 8:07.93.
Long jump – 1. DeAntre Smith (Roseville) 22- 3/4.
Triple jump – 1. Rilwan Alowonle (Park) 47-11.
Shot put – *1. Thomas Anderson (Andover) 65-4 1/4.
Discus – *1. Thomas Anderson (Andover) 182-5; 8. Nate Bird (St) 153-2.
High jump – 1. DeAntre Smith (Roseville) 6-8.
Pole vault – 1. Lee Bares (Lakeville South) 15-6; 9. Connor O’Neill (St) 13-6.