The Minnesota Track and Field meet is quite unlike any other in the MSHSL bonfire of tournaments.
Hamline University provides a terrific nine-lane 400-meter track at Klas Field. Fans fill the stadium seating which looks north toward the fairgrounds a mile distant. Unlike other state festivals, there are 10 or 12 things going on at once.
This reporter/photographer will be attempting to keep up Friday and Saturday (like a pitcher, I fear, it’s the legs that go first, not the arm). There’s the usual number of individual entrants, perhaps down slightly in Class A boys but the totals is enlarged by allowing in the top two relays, instead of just the winning relay that caught us by surprise after sections.
The weather outlook is hopeful; it was four years ago when it rained throughout and pole vault and high jump were moved to the dark field house basement next door.
Willmar senior Rose Jackson will compete in the long jump finals Friday morning and run prelims in the 100 and 200 dashes. The girls 4x400 relay also has a good chance to advance if they can match their 4 minutes flat run at sections.
Chris Cunningham is seeded well back and will likely have to break 23 seconds, which he’s done several times this spring, to advance in the boys 200 dash.
In Class A girls, Danielle Wubben of Central Minnesota Christian is the returning long jump champion (17-11), the area’s lone gold medalist in 2012. She’s seeded at 17-3. Hurdler/triple jumper Kari Hoeft of Paynesville, sprinter Jamilla Stimpel of BOLD/BLHS, jumper Greta Walsh of Litchfield and hurdler/jumper Emma Peterson of Benson/KMS are each in three events. Taylor Gregory of BBE is one inch short of the top seed in high jump. Bailey Erickson of ACGC is in the medal picture in both discus and shot. Katie Holzheimer of Morris/CA returns in the 100 dash, where she won bronze last June. MaKenzie Smith of MCA and Alaysia Freetly of LQPV/DB both compete in the 1600 again and Smith in the 3200, also.
Ben Burgett of Community Christian is back in the 1600 trying to reach the podium after placing 12th in 2012 as a freshman. Wyatt Enger is the only returning member of the Montevideo 4x200 relay that medaled last year (7th place). Marcus Cannon of Morris will compete in both hurdles and Adam Essler of NLS in the long and triple jumps. Abdalla Abu-Sare of Litchfield is fourth seed in discus; Jacob Pederson of YME will need a good run Friday to advance to the finals of the 400 dash.
Central Minnesota Christian has advanced its boys 4x400 relay; the Bluejays sent their girls 4x100 in 2009. The Benson/KMS girls, always strong in the distance relays, have two teams entered again this year hoping to repeat a pair of podium finishes of a year ago.
Jason Boonstra, a hockey player on the Cardinal teams of the late 1980s, has lived on both coasts, served in Iraq, has a Bronze Star and a degree in medical technology.
But while seeing the world, he lives and works in Appleton, a splendid community on the Pomme de Terre 50 miles due west of here. He works at Appleton Area Heath Services where he is the lab and X-ray manager.
Jason is also a major in the Minnesota Army National Guard, which he joined after serving in the U.S. Navy since his 1989 graduation.
Major Boonstra was the featured speaker on May 27 at Appleton’s annual Memorial Day program at the ’52 Wing Auditorium. His military service includes an 18-month deployment to the Middle East beginning in 2005. According to a report in the Appleton Press, he has served as a platoon leader, medical evacuation platoon leader and medical company executive officer.
Jason played a lot of outdoor hockey at “Garfield Gardens” to sharpen his skills. He skated for Coach Peter Aus, who would later coach Bethel College. That ’88-89 Cardinal team (Matt Glaesman, the goalie; John Marciniak and Jeff Swenson were tri-captains) finished 17-8 and won two Region 5 games before losing 8-2 in the region semifinals to Bloomington Jefferson, which went on to win the state title.
On the fly
n One wonders when that Minnewaska girls golf program will run out of energy; the Lakers won their ninth straight section title last week at Eagle Creek and will play at Class AA state in Jordan starting Tuesday. Under coach Peggy Falk and now Tony Janu the team has five state titles and a runner-up finish starting 2006. Many Lakers now play at the college level: Brianna Janu at South Dakota State, Allie Ostrander at Augustana, Sam Falk at Gustavus and sisters Emily and Sarah Roering at Colorado State. Alexis Guggisberg, the lone senior this year, has signed to play at the University of North Dakota. In 2008, then sophomores Sarah Roering and Ostrander and junior Emily Roering placed 1-2-3 at State in a 27-stroke Waska victory.
n Let’s hope the Vikings’ “Crystal Cathedral” that seeks to be a year-around destination will acknowledge the history in photos and memorabilia of high school and college football in the state, just as Lambeau Field does for Wisconsin.
n Andy Jacobson fully emerged last summer as one of the top amateur players in the state. He will go into the 7th Mid-Players Championship this month on the 18th as the No. 2 seed to the defending champion. A week later he will be the man in the crosshairs as defending champion of the 35th MGA Players’ Championship, a 64-match-play pool. The former will be played at Island View in Waconia and the latter at historic Interlachen in Edina.