Prep Track: Willmar looking to leave a (virtual) mark

Cardinal boys and girls look to repeat as True Team champs in virtual format

Taggert Reynolds throws the shot put Thursday, May 6, 20201 at Hodapp Field against St. Cloud Tech. Matthew Curry / West Central Tribune.

WILLMAR — If Willmar ’s boys and girls track and field teams hope to repeat as state True Team champions, it’ll have to happen under much different circumstances.

Due to COVID-19 protocols, the 2021 state True Team championship meet will be held virtually. To record results, participating teams have a window from May 24-29 to get results to submit to to use for the competition. The state True Team results will be announced next week.

The Cardinals will submit their results from Friday’s home dual meet against Sartell. The Willmar boys are looking to win their fifth straight Class AA True Team championship after taking first in 2016, ‘17, ‘18 and ‘19. The girls, which qualified as one of four wild card teams, will look to seal a second straight championship.

“That’s the best way (the coaches association) could figure out doing it,” said Cardinals head coach Mike Bobbe. “We didn’t know what they were going to loosen (restrictions) up to and having the venues the way they are. A track meet is difficult to plan all the logistics.

“It’s a little anticlimactic but still a feather in our cap to continue the tradition here.”


On May 18, Willmar submitted its results from a quadrangular at Brainerd for its section True Team results. The Cardinal boys ultimately won the Section 6AA title while the girls finished second behind Rockford. All section second-through-fifth place teams were put into a virtual meet to determine the wild cards. For the Class AA girls, Willmar, Luverne, Plainview-Elgin-Millville and Fairmont made the cut.

Previously the head track coach at Andover High School, Bobbe shares the same ideology as former Cardinals head track coach Jerry Popp: build a good overall team with lots of kids and overall production.

“On the boys side, we were missing our best thrower (Jacob Rosendahl) and our best boys sprinter (Eli Jorgenson), so it really did show our depth to (win the section title),” Bobbe said. “The girls only lost the (section) meet by six points, so even though we had a few missing pieces, we were in pretty good shape.”

In Class A, the Minnewaska girls will try to repeat as state champions after winning the Section 5A championship. Morris/Chokio-Alberta won the 5A boys championship, and Paynesville girls will also compete after qualifying as a wild card.

The Laker girls submitted results from its home invitational on May 18 and will submit their results from the West Central Conference championship on Tuesday in Melrose for the state True Team meet.

“Our girls’ team is similar to our team two years ago, with the exception of getting off to a little slower start,” said Minnewaska head coach Jennifer Johnsrud. “You just cannot replace losing a season even if you do off-season work. … As far as grit and determination, our girls this year continue to show toughness. They step up when they need to and consider what is best for the team, not just for individuals.”

Johnsrud added, “I think our girls will take away from the season the feeling of really being a team. Hard work, determination, selflessness and trying to only worry about the things you have control over is what we have focused on this season.”

Along with qualifying for True Team, Willmar was given another chance to prove itself as the Central Lakes Conference championship meet was added to the schedule for Thursday, June 3 at Sauk Rapids. The junior varsity meet will be on Tuesday, June 1 at Hodapp Field in Willmar.


This season, CLC teams have been competing in dual meets to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

“The CLC meet will be our first full-fledged meet,” Bobbe said. “Each team will have its top three in each discipline and its top relay teams. It’ll be a lot of fun. These kids have waited two years; it’s pretty crazy to think about that.”

The Minnesota State High School League championship meet is scheduled for June 17-19 at St. Michael-Albertville High School. The meet normally runs at Hamline University in St. Paul. June 17 will have the 3,200-meter run for all divisions. Class A will compete on June 18, with Class AA on June 19. On both days, boys will compete in the morning and the girls in the afternoon.

“We’ve managed to give our kids as good an experience as we can in a year like this,” Bobbe said. “The little victories are the big thing as far as getting them out here to compete and keeping them strong.”

True Team Field

Class AA


Section 1 — Plainview-Elgin-Millville

Section 2 — Waseca


Section 3 — Minneapolis Roosevelt

Section 4 — Totino-Grace

Section 5 — Annandale

Section 6 — Willmar

Section 7 — Cloquet

Section 8 — Pequot Lakes

Byron (wild card)

Dassel-Cokato (wild card)

Grand Rapids (wild card)

Jordan (wild card)


Section 1 — Byron

Section 2 — Belle Plaine

Section 3 — Visitation

Section 4 — Holy Angels

Section 5 — Rocori

Section 6 — Rockford

Section 7 — Cloquet

Section 8 — Detroit Lakes

Fairmont (wild card)

Luverne (wild card)

Plainview-Elgin-Millville (wild card)

Willmar (wild card)

Class A


Section 1 — Pine Island

Section 2 — Sibley East

Section 3 — Redwood Valley

Section 4 — Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted

Section 5 — Morris/Chokio-Alberta

Section 6 — Frazee

Section 7 — Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin

Section 8 — Park Rapids

Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland (wild card)

Lake Crystal-WM/Nicollet (wild card)

Lanesboro/FC (wild card)

St. Charles (wild card)


Section 1 — GMLOKS

Section 2 — Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton

Section 3 — Southwest MN Christian/Edgerton

Section 4 — Maple Lake

Section 5 — Minnewaska

Section 6 — Barnesville

Section 7 — Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin

Section 8 — Park Rapids

Chatfield (wild card)

Lanesboro/Fillmore Central (wild card)

Paynesville (wild card)

St. Charles (wild card)

Willmar senior Avery Welsh placed third in the triple jump against St. Cloud Tech on Thursday, May 6, 2021 at Hodapp Field. Matthew Curry / West Central Tribune.

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