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Track and field: Two seconds for the Montevideo Thunder Hawks

O'Malley, Koenen finish as runners-up Friday evening in the Class A championships in St. Michael.

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Montevideo's Francis O'Malley goes through his spin while competing in the boys discus during the Class A state track and field championships on Friday, June 10, 2022 at St. Michael.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
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ST. MICHAEL — While one of the youngest competitors in the boys’ discus, Montevideo sophomore Francis O’Malley had his veteran instincts kick in.

Looking to climb up the podium at the Class A track and field championships on Friday, O’Malley felt himself getting a little too amped up.

“I got a little ahead of myself with the adrenaline in the first round,” O’Malley said. “I knew I had to settle back and get the technique down. Throwing, as much as you want to muscle it, you got to have the technique and it’s got to be smooth.”

On his second-to-last throw, O’Malley unleashed with a distance of 164-8 feet, good for second place behind Maple River’s Ethan Fischer (191-0).

“I kind of had to flip a switch and I knew I needed to get a good throw in,” O’Malley said. “So I dialed in as much as I could to get it out there.”

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O’Malley was one of four runner-up finishers in West Central Minnesota on Friday.

It was O’Malley’s second runner-up finish at this year’s state meet. On Thursday, he finished second in the shot put at 54-7.

“Honesty, I’m feeling great,” O’Malley said about the dual second-place finishes. “We had a good game plan going into it. I knew where I was sitting with marks and what-not. I knew if I wanted to get second, I would have to do my best.

“I came close to PR-ing in the shot and I PR-ed in the disc, so I’m happy with it.”

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Montevideo's Avery Koenen goes through one of her triple jump attempts during the Class A state track and field championships on Friday, June 10, 2022 at St. Michael.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Fellow Thunder Hawk Avery Koenen also brought home a second-place medal after hitting a personal-record mark of 37-0 in the girls’ triple jump.

She hit that number on her final jump of the day, temporarily putting her in first place

“I was just in disbelief,” Koenen said on hearing the mark. “I did not anticipate that going into it, but I was super proud of myself.”

In that final round, Ottertail Central’s Grace VanErp surpassed Koenen with a first-place jump of 37-5.25.

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Koenen brought home another medal with a sixth-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles. She hit another PR with a time of 47.07 seconds.

“I knew I had to come out a little faster than I’m used to,” Koenen said of the race. “I knew I had a chance to be near the top so I had to go out and run my race and I think I did that.”

On Koenen’s two-medal day: “It’s super satisfying how I did. Being able to improve my previous PRs was good.”

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Minnewaska's McKenzie Luetmer takes off at the start of the girls 400 dash during the Class A state track and field championships on Friday, June 10, 2022 at St. Michael.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Minnewaska junior McKenzie Luetmer was on a quest to improve in the 400 dash after finishing 16th a year ago.

“I was like, everything is up from here,” Luetmer said. “I just wanted to make top three.”

Goal accomplished. Luetmer crossed the finish line in second place at 58.24.

“I knew I could get second and I didn’t want to settle for anything less,” Luetmer said.

Luetmer’s runner-up finish was one of six medals for the Laker girls. Olivia Danielson was fifth in the 800 (2:19.22) and Emily Kaiser was eighth in the 100 (12.87). In relay events, the 4x800 placed third (9:37.98), the 4x400 was fifth (4:07.71) and 4x100 placed eighth (51.01)

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After the race, Luetmer and the winner, Ellie Kuechle of Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball, shared a hug at the finish line. Throughout the season, Luetmer said she and Kuechle have developed a friendship through their competitions.

“Yesterday, she got her first 56 ever and I was very happy for her. Then getting a 55 today, we were both blown away,” said Luetmer. Kuechle won with a time of 55.86. “I was really happy for her to get that time.”

Morris/Chokio-Alberta’s Ethan Lebrija looked to win a second straight boys’ 200 dash title. His time of 22.09 on Friday was .21 seconds better than his state championship time in 2021. But it was the second best time on Friday as Luverne’s Ashton Sandbulte won the 200 in 21.94. Sandbulte also won the 100 in 10.91.

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Minnewaska's Olivia Danielson, right, pulls ahead of a Murray County Central runner during the 4x800 relay during the Class A state track and field championships on Friday, June 10, 2022 at St. Michael.
Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Class A championships

GIRLS TEAM SCORING --  (1) Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball 81 … (2) Concordia Academy 68 … (3t) Zumbrota-Mazeppa; and GMLOKS 48 … (5) Luverne 41 … (6) St. Cloud Cathedral 36 … (7) Minnewaska 32 … (8t) Pierz; and Murray County Central 26 … (10t) Legacy Christian Academy; and Nevis 24 … (18t) Montevideo 14 … (31t) Paynesville 10 … (60t) Morris/Chokio-Alberta 3
Winner and area competitors
100 HURDLES – (1) Shaina Zinter, Concordia Academy, 14.53 … (7) Olivia Lebrija, Morris/CA, 16.17
300 HURDLES – (1) Zinter, Concordia Academy, 42.43 … (6) Avery Koenen, Montevideo, 47.07
100 DASH – (1) Hope Schueller, St. Cloud Cathedral, 12.42 … (8) Emily Kaiser, Minnewaska, 12.87
200 DASH – (1) Zinter, Concordia Academy, 24.98
400 DASH – (1) Ellie Kuechle, Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball, 55.86 … (2) McKenzie Luetmer, Minnewaska, 58.24
800 RUN – (1) Tenley Nelson, Luverne, 2:14.68 … (5) Olivia Danielson, Minnewaska, 2:19.22
1,600 RUN – (1) Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 5:04.16 … (6) Grace Roberg, Paynesville, 5:20.97 … (15) Hailey Werk, Morris/CA, 5:39.77
3,200 RUN (THURSDAY) – (1) Jade Rypkema, Nevis, 10:36.99
4X100 RELAY – (1) Minnehaha Academy 50.07 … (8) Minnewaska (Alannah Christensen, Mya Lindemann, Emma Kovarik, Kaiser) 51.01
4X200 RELAY – (1) GMLOKS 1:45.03
4X400 RELAY – (1) Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball, 4:01.39 … (5) Minnewaska (Teagan Stark, Danielson, Lauryn Ankeny, Luetmer) 4:07.71
4X800 RELAY – (1) Luverne 9:35.81 … (3) Minnewaska (Ankeny, Makena Thoen, Luetmer, Danielson) 9:37.98
HIGH JUMP (THURSDAY) – (1) Annaka Forsberg, Blooming Prairie, 5-6 … (14t) Ruby Bones, Yellow Medicine East, 4-8
LONG JUMP (THURSDAY) – (1) Brielle Kuechle, Eden Valley-Watkins/Kimball, 18-4.75
TRIPLE JUMP – (1) Grace VanErp, Ottertail Central, 37-5.25 … (2) Koenen, Montevideo, 37-0
POLE VAULT – (1) Cecily Fager, Legacy Christian Academy, 11-3 … (4) Ellie Zimmerman, Paynesville, 10-6 … (12t) Anna Gardeen, BOLD/BLHS, 8-6
DISCUS (THURSDAY) – (1) Nora Wilhelm, Concordia Academy, 134-5 … (13) Jayda Kolstoe, Minnewaska, 100-9
SHOT PUT – (1) Monica Johnson, Northome/Kelliher/Blackduck, 46-4.75
 BOYS
TEAM SCORING -- (1) Nova Classical Academy 47.5 … (2) Perham 47 … (3) Minneapolis North 46 … (4) Luverne 43 … (5) St. Cloud Cathedral 35 … (6) St. Croix Lutheran 33 … (7) Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 25 … (8) Triton 24 … (9) Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 23 … (10t) Pine Island; and Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 22 … (13t) Montevideo 20 … (21t) Morris/Chokio-Alberta 16 … (60t) Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd; and Central Minnesota Christian 3 … (65t) Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 2
Winner and area competitors
110 HURDLES – (1) Owen Petersohn, Triton, 15.23
300 HURDLES – (1) Petersohn, Triton, 39.97
100 DASH – (1) Ashton Sandbulte, Luverne, 10.91 … (4) Ethan Lebrija, Morris/CA, 11.14
200 DASH – (1) Sandbulte, Luverne, 21.94 … (2) Lebrija, Morris/CA, 22.09
400 DASH – (1) Taevon Wells, Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, 48.60
800 RUN – (1) Jacob McCleary, Perham, 1:55.03
1,600 RUN – (1) McCleary, Perham, 4:21.12
3,200 RUN (THURSDAY) – (1) Finn McCormick, Nova Classical Academy, 9:27.20
4X100 RELAY – (1) Minneapolis North 42.57
4X200 RELAY – (1) Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 1:30.89
4X400 RELAY – (1) St. Cloud Cathedral 3:27.69 … (DQ) BOLD/BLHS (Stevie McMath, Cole Visser, Ryan King, Colter Johnson)
4X800 RELAY – (1) St. Cloud Cathedreal 8:07.05
HIGH JUMP – (1) Jory Peters, Minneapolis North, 6-5 … (14) Brayson Boike, LQPV/D-B, 6-0
LONG JUMP – (1) Makoi Perich, Esko, 21-5.75 … (7) Boike, LQPV/D-B, 20-9.5 … (11) Caleb Voogt, Central Minnesota Christian, 20-3.75
TRIPLE JUMP (THURSDAY) – (1) Joshua Finseth, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 46-1.5 … (7) Ben Van Eps, Central Minnesota Christian, 43-0.5 … (14) Patrick Hoernemann, Yellow Medicine East, 40-10.25
POLE VAULT (THURSDAY) – (1) Jarod White, Pine Island, 16-0 … (7t) Chaden Carroll, Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 12-6
DISCUS – (1) Ethan Fischer, Maple River, 191-0 … (2) Francis O’Malley, Montevideo, 164-8
SHOT PUT (THURSDAY)  – (1) Tony Nelson, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 57-3 … (2) O’Malley, Montevideo, 54-7

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