July 18, 2024


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Track and field: Alexandria programs win Section 8AA titles; 22 athletes qualify for state – Alexandria Echo Press

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ALEXANDRIA – The Alexandria track and field programs built off a solid start in Detroit Lakes on Wednesday with a strong showing at home on Saturday to win the Section 8AA titles. The Alexandria girls team scored 165.75 points and won by 30 points over runner-up Rocori, while the boys team scored 169.50 points and won by 27 points over runner-up Willmar.

“Our athletes have been improving all the way through the season,” Alexandria boys head coach Mike Empting said. “We tell the kids from the beginning that it’s all about putting you at your best at the end of the season. These kids have done it. We had a lot of kids qualify for the state meet, which is great. And even the ones that didn’t qualify placed high and some had personal-best performances. I’m just really proud of them.”

For the girls, this section title win is their 11th straight.

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Alexandria’s Giselle Jahner, Emma Ecker, Jaelyn Miller and Aleah Miller hug after finishing in second in 4x400m relay at the Section 8AA Tournament on June 4, 2022. These are four of 18 Alexandria athletes heading to the state tournament.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“I’m thrilled for the girls as a team,” Alexandria girls head coach Meghan Orgeman said. “Victory is always something that you celebrate and it’s always a goal. I just feel like this is the icing on the cake of a really special season and we’ve got even more to come.”

Both programs also won section true team titles

back in May


After day one of the section meet

, five Alexandria girls and two boys had already punched their tickets to the MSHSL Class AA State Tournament at St.Michael-Albertville on June 9-11. On Saturday, nine more boys and six more girls punched their tickets.

Alexandria’s Christian Doumbia earned his way to the state meet by finishing second in the 100m dash (11.03), first in the 200m (22.72) and first in the 400m (49.63).

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Alexandria’s Christian Doumbia runs across the finish line after winning first place in the 400m run at the Section 8AA Championships on June 4, 2022. Doumbia qualified for the state tournament in the 100m, 200m, and 400m en route to helping the Cardinals win the section team title.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

With both teams practicing simultaneously, Orgeman has gotten to see Doumbia’s competitive spirit and she says there’s almost nothing that holds him back.

“He will do whatever it takes to win,” Orgeman said. “I cannot wait to see what he will run at state. The 400 is relatively new to him, so it’s fun to see him drop a hammer like he did in the 400.”

On the girls side, Aleah Miller won the 1600m run (4:56.16) and Hailie Kent, who had already qualified for the state tournament in the long jump, took first place in the triple jump (37-05.00) on Saturday.

Orgeman said Miller running the 1600m in less than five minutes was one of the high points of the meet.

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Alexandria’s Aleah Miller is headed back to the state tournament after finishing first in the 1600m run at the Section 8AA Tournament on June 4, 2022. Both Alexandria track and field programs won the section title.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

“There were extreme highs across the board and you look at how hard they’ve trained this season, how hard they’ve worked, they deserve it,” Orgeman said.

For Kent, her next goal is to improve on her runner-up finish in

last year’s state tournament.

“Hailie’s ready,” Orgeman said. “I trust her training and our taper is going to make her pop at the right time. For her, the more competition, the better; the higher the honor, the better she jumps. Hailie is ready to do some great stuff.”

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Alexandria senior Hailie Kent won the triple jump at the Section 8AA Tournament on June 4, 2022. Kent, who was the runner-up in the triple jump at the state tournament in 2021, helped the Cardinals win their 11th straight section title.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Kent already accomplished one of her goals for the season on Saturday by making it to the state tournament in multiple events.

Along with Addison Fettig, Elena Fuglestad and Elle Heydt, she qualified in the 4×100 by finishing second with a time of 51.26.

“We’ve been working really hard the last couple of weeks on our handoffs and getting them consistent,” Kent said. “We were able to have really fast, clean handoffs, and then we had to battle at the end there a little bit to get that second place finish.”

Alexandria’s depth in the triple jump was on display on Saturday as it had three athletes finish in the top five. Outside of Kent’s first place finish, Ella Steussy finished third (36-00.50) and Marisa Rousu finished fifth (34-02.50).

Steussy, a junior, had been in second place until Kent’s 37-05.00 jump.

“We just hugged and cried,” Orgeman said she and Steussy did after the event. “I congratulated her on an impressive season. She’s come so far this year. She was just happy for her teammates and hugged her teammates. So we kind of all just had all those emotions come together at once. She had an incredible 36-foot jump.”

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Alexandria junior Ella Steussy earned third place in the triple jump on June 4, 2022, at the Section 8AA Tournament and helped Alexandria wins its 11th straight section title.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Melrose Area’s Isabelle Jaenicke edged out a second place finish over Steussy by posting a jump of 36-01.50.

“She pushes me a lot,” Kent said about Steussy. “I love having someone on my team to compete with. That hasn’t really been the case for the last few years. But Ella coming up has really been not only exciting for her but exciting for me. I know we’ll have a strong jumps team next year. She’s been so great and she’s always ready to go.”

Like Kent did on the girls side, Will Heydt, the

defending boys triple jump state champion

in Class AA, also qualified for a track event on Saturday after having already qualified for the state tournament in the triple jump.

Heydt, Venald Becker, Daniel Jackson and Gavin Ashmore finished second in the 4×200 (1:33.17).

“Gavin coming up that last stretch, Daniel in second and Venald starting, gave me a great lead,” Heydt said. “I had a slingshot off that curve and got caught by one guy but still finished it out and got second.”

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Alexandria’s Will Heydt running with the baton in the final leg of the 4x200m relay at the Section 8AA Tournament on June 4, 2022. Heydt, who is the defending state champion in the Class AA triple jump, qualified for the state tournament in the 4×200 along with Venald Becker, Daniel Jackson and Gavin Ashmore.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Heydt now has his sights set on being a back-to-back triple jump state champion and making more impact at the state tournament.

“My mindset for state is just to jump hard, run hard and compete,” he said.

Empting said that he could sense the desire from Will Heydt to win back-to-back state titles.

“He’s pretty hungry to go back there, repeat and hang on to his title as a triple jump state champion,” Empting said. “He’s certainly not going to sneak up on anyone this year. He’s a known factor out there in the triple jump world across the state.”

Kent, Will Heydt, as well as Joey Lanoux (second place, shot put), Sophia Vinje (first place, discus), Amaria Sowada (second place, discus), and Alison Krasky (second place, long jump) are the Alexandria field athletes who have qualified for the state tournament.

The Cardinals’ girls team qualified for the state tournament in not only the 4×100 relay but also in the 4×400 and 4×800.

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Alexandria’s Jaelyn Miller crosses the finish line to give her, Aleah Miller, Giselle Jahner and Emma Ecker second at the Section 8AA tournament and a spot in the state tournament. Alexandria won its 11th straight section title by scoring 159.5 points.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

In the 4×400 on Saturday, Jaelyn Miller, Aleah Miller, Emma Ecker and Giselle Jahner finished second (4:05.83). Ecker is also competing in the 3200m run at the state tournament after placing second on day one of the section meet.

The Cardinals 4×800 girls relay team of Kasey Soderholm, both Millers and Ecker, finished second on Saturday (9:39.64).

Jaelyn Miller also qualified for the state tournament in the 800m run (2:17.06).

Rounding out the qualifiers for the Alexandria girls team is Elena Fuglestad, who finished second in the 400m run (1:01.12).

“Elena was fun to watch in the 400,” Orgeman said. “It was hard; another girl was coming down the homestretch and she just with her grit ended up finishing second and qualified for state.”

Myles Sansted also qualified for the boys state tournament by placing second on Saturday in the 1600m run (4:29.19).

Sansted, along with Otto Anderson, Owen Draper and Riley Wagner qualified for the state tournament by placing second in the 4×400 (3:32.27) on Saturday. Rounding out the state qualifiers for the boys is Sam Williams who earned second in the 110m hurdles.

Along with Steussy’s third-place finish in the girls triple jump, the Cardinals had eight other third place finishes with Sophie Korynta in the girls 300m hurdles, Izzy Kent on the pole vault, Becker in the boys 100m, Ashmore in the boys 300m hurdles, Dylan Frusciante in the high jump, as well as the 4x100m boys relay team of Becker, Jackson, Heydt and Walker Hennen and the 4x800m team of Riley Wagner, Owen Draper, Throck Lehmann and Harrison Greathouse.

The MSHSL Track and Field Class AA State Tournament begins with prelims on June 10 at 9 a.m. at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

ALEXANDRIA TOP NINE FINISHERS – (Top two in each event make state)

Table of Contents

GIRLS – 100m – Hailie Kent, 4th, 13.11, Addison Fettig, 5th, 13.26; Kaija Schnieder, 8th, 13.44; 200m – Miah Wessel, 7th, 27.72, Kaia Emter, 9th, 27.92; 300m Hurdles – Sophie Korynta, 3rd, 46.73; Marisa Rousu, 9th, 52.04; 400m – Elena Fuglestad, 2nd, 1:01.12, Miah Wessel, 6th, 1:02.07; Alison Krasky, 8th, 1:02.09; 800m – Jaelyn Miller, 2nd, 2:17.06; Greta Oldenkamp, 5th, 2:25.67; Kasey Soderholm, 7th, 2:28.63; 1600m – Aleah Miller, 1st, 4:56.16; Giselle Jahner, 5th, 5:32.66; 3200m – Emma Ecker, 2nd, 11:21.29; Brynn Kosters, 9th, 12:19.74; Discus – Sophie Vinje, 1st, 111-03, Amaria Sowada, 2nd, 108-05; Elise Maagard, 6th, 102-10; Long Jump – Hailie Kent, 1st, 17-00.50, Alison Krasky, 2nd, 16-09.50; Pole Vault – Izzy Kent, 3rd, 9-04.00, Bria Luepke, 7th, 8-04.00; Shot Put – Sonja Schabel, 5th, 34-00.00, Amaria Sowada, 6th, 32-09.00; Triple Jump – Hailie Kent, 1st, 37-05.50; Ella Steussy, 3rd, 36-00.50; Marisa Rousu, 5th, 34-02.50; 4×100 – Addison Fettig, Elena Fuglestad, Elle Heydt, Hailie Kent, 2nd, 51.26; 4×200 – Miah Wessel, Addison Fettig, Kaia Emter, Elena Fuglestad, 9th, 1:53.72; 4×400 – Emma Ecker, Jaelyn MIller, Aleah Miller, Giselle Jahner, 2nd, 4:05.83; 4×800 – Kasey Soderholm, Emma Ecker, Jaelyn Miller, Aleah Miller, 2nd, 9:39.64

TEAM SCORES – Alexandria, 165.75; Rocori, 130.75; Willmar, 85; Detroit Lakes, 73.75; Pequot Lakes, 72; Little Falls, 49.5; Thief River Falls, 36; Albany, 21; Fergus Falls, 20; East Grand Forks, 19.75; Melrose Area, 15.50; New London-Spicer, 13

BOYS – 100m – Christian Doumbia, 2nd, 11.03, Venald Becker, 3rd, 11.14; 110m hurdles – Sam Williams, 2nd, 15.87; Otto Anderson, 4th, 16.19; 200m – Christian Doumbia, 1st, 22.72, Daniel Jackson, 5th, 23.83; 300m hurdles – Gavin Ashmore, 3rd, 41.48; Otto Anderson, 4th, 42.09, Logan Peterson, 6th, 43.60; 400m – Christian Doumbia, 1st, 49.63, Evan Kludt, 7th, 54.05; 800m – Riley Wagner, 5th, 2:05.19, Owen Draper, 6th, 2:05.67; 1600m – Myles Sansted, 2nd, 4:29.19; Joel Brault, 4th, 4:33.76; Peyton Gessford, 6th, 4:51.49; 3200m – Joel Brault, 3rd, 9:52.05, Harrison Greathouse, 4th, 10:10.61; Landon Runge, 8th, 10:35.99; Discus – Ethan Hoppe, 4th, 136-02; Zander Homelvig, 8th, 121-11; High Jump – Dylan Frusciante, 3rd, 5-09.00; Otto Anderson, 8th, 5-05.00; Long Jump – Kelly Johnson, 4th, 20-02.50; Will Heydt, 5th, 20-01.25; Shot Put – Joseph Lanoux, 2nd, 50-04.00; Triple Jump – Will Heydt, 1st, 43-05.75; 4×100 – Venald Becker, Daniel Jackson, Will Heydt, Walker Hennen, 3rd, 44.65; 4×200 – Venald Becker, Daniel Jackson, Gavin Ashmore, WIll Heydt, 1:33.17, 2nd; 4×400 – Otto Anderson, Myles Sansted, Owen Draper, Riley Wagner, 2nd, 3:32.27; 4×800 – Riley Wagner, Owen Draper, Throck Lehmann, Harrison Greathouse, 3rd, 8:27.96

TEAM SCORES – Alexandria, 169.5; Willmar, 142.5; Fergus Falls, 81; Rocori, 67; Pequot Lakes, 60.5; Detroit Lakes, 45; Little Falls, 41; East Grand Forks, 40; Albany, 28; New London-Spicer, 14.5; Thief River Falls, 7; Melrose Area, 6

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