ST. MICHAEL — Peyton Johnsrud didn’t know if he’d hit the same heights again.

As a sophomore in 2019, the Minnewaska standout finished second in the Class A high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 7 inches.

After missing the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnsrud didn’t have another crack at a state title until the Class A championship Friday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

“Losing last year was rough for us,” Johnsrud said. “Coming into this year, I just wanted to make sure I could jump that high again and go out there and compete.”

Johnsrud got his long-awaited high jump title after clearing 6-7.

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“It’s just a relief to jump that high again,” Johnsrud said with the blue ribbon-and-medal around his neck. “Right away (this season), I wasn’t sure. But first meet, I got 6-6 and I thought I was doing good. Then a few meets I got 6-2 and eventually, 6-9.

“I was always pretty confident.”

After 6-3, it came down to two jumpers: Johnsrud and Rock Ridge’s Josh Creer-Oberstar. Both jumpers had little trouble getting to 6-6. At 6-7, Johnsrud cleared the bar on his first attempt. Creer-Oberstar got it on his third and final attempt.

“I just kept thinking that I had to get it on that first jump,” Johnsrud said.

With both unable to clear 6-8, Johnsrud won the tiebreaker after clearing 6-7 on his first try.

“We were both really close,” Johnsrud said.

“It was just a relief (to win). It was a long time.”

Minnewaska senior Connor Johnsrud goes airborne during a triple jump attempt during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. 

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
Minnewaska senior Connor Johnsrud goes airborne during a triple jump attempt during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Tigers clinch team title

Both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles came down to Morris/Chokio-Alberta’s Kenny Soderberg and Providence Academy’s Jayson Ekiyor.

The first go-around, Ekiyor locked up his second straight 110 title at 14.51 seconds, with Soderberg second at 15.10.

Later in the 300, Soderberg was ready to get the upper hand.

“I just knew our times were really close,” Soderberg said. “I just wanted to get a head start right at the beginning of the race.”

“And,” Soderberg added, “that worked out.”

With a strong start to the race, Soderberg stayed ahead of Ekiyor the whole time to secure the 300 hurdles championship. Soderberg crossed the finish line at 39.14, beating Ekiyor’s 39.59.

The difference in the 300 for Soderberg: “It was definitely the good start and jumping off the right leg each time.”

Soderberg added, “it was an incredible feeling to win. Us two, we’re very competitive.”

Morris/CA had a second state champion as Ethan Lebrija squeezed out the win in the 200. The Tigers junior dropped half a second from his seed time to win at 22.30, beating Spectrum’s Max Reis by .06 seconds. Lebrija also won another medal in the 100, taking seventh at 11.22.

Soderberg was also part of the fifth-place 4x100 relay with Derek Waldbeser, Trey Hunt and Lewis Nohl, finishing at 43.92.

With a team score of 42 points, the Tigers were the Class A boys champion, beating Plainview-Elgin-Millville (38) and Perham (35).

LQPV/Dawson-Boyd senior Darius Fenske runs in the 1,600-meter race during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. 

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
LQPV/Dawson-Boyd senior Darius Fenske runs in the 1,600-meter race during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Area notes



  • Other Class A boys medalist included: the Morris/CA 4x100 relay with Soderberg, Derek Waldbeser, Trey Hunt and Lewis Nohl (5th, 43.92); Montevideo’s Francis O’Malley in the shot put (6th, 49-3); MACCRAY/RCW’s Riley Ashburn in the high jump (t-7th, 6-0); and Minnewaska’s Connor Johnsrud in the triple jump (8th, 41-11.25).

YME senior Silas Whitebuffalo approaches the finish line during the boys 300 hurdles during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. 

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
YME senior Silas Whitebuffalo approaches the finish line during the boys 300 hurdles during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

  • The Class A girls track and field state championship meet began at 3:30 p.m. Friday and was still underway when the West Central Tribune went to press. For info on the Class A girls, go to www.wctrib.com/sports or check out the E-Edition.

Litchfield senior Landon Wagner uncorks a throw in the boys shot put during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael.

Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
Litchfield senior Landon Wagner uncorks a throw in the boys shot put during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune

Class A championship

Boys

BOYS TEAM SCORING (Top 10 plus area teams) -- (1) Morris/Chokio-Alberta 42 (2) Plainview-Elgin-Millville 38 (3) Perham 35 (4) Annandale 34 (5t) Spectrum and Mora, 33 (7) Rock Ridge 32 (8t) Providence Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Lewiston-Altura 30 (25t) Minnewaska, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 14 (58t) Montevideo, Norwood-Young America, Blooming Prairie, Caledonia/Spring Grove, Kenyon-Wanamingo, East Central, Fisher 4 (74t) MACCRAY/Renville County West, Crosby-Ironton 2.5
Central Minnesota Christian junior Ben Van Eps hit the dirt during a triple jump attempt during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael.

 Joe Brown / West Central Tribune
Central Minnesota Christian junior Ben Van Eps hit the dirt during a triple jump attempt during the Class A state track and field championship on Friday, June 18, 2021 at St. Michael. Joe Brown / West Central Tribune


Winner and area finishes
100 HURDLES – (1) Jayson Eikyor, Providence Academy, 14.51 (2) Kenny Sodberg, Morris/Chokio-Alberta, 15.10
300 HURDLES – (1) Soderberg, MCA, 39.14 (12) Silas Whitebuffalo, Yellow Medicine East, 42.75
100 DASH – (1) Max Reis, Spectrum, 10.84 (7) Ethan Lebrija, MCA, 11.22
200 DASH – (1) Lebrija, MCA, 22.30
400 DASH – (1) Kyler Bade, Plainview-Elgin-Millville, 49.63
800 RUN – (1) Jacob McCleary, Perham, 1:56.92
1,600 RUN – (1) Cameron Stocke, Rock Ridge, 4:12.94 (14) Darius Fenske, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd, 4:40.35
3,200 RUN (Thursday) – (1) Emmet Anderson, Staples-Motley, 9:17.11
4X100 RELAY – (1) Minnehaha Academy 43.51 (5) Morris/Chokio Alberta 43.92
4X200 RELAY – (1) Mora 1:30.23
4X400 RELAY – (1) Lake City 3:27.43
4X800 RELAY – (1) Park Rapids Area 8:12.86 (12) LQPV/D-B 8:31.29 (16) Minnewaska 8:47.14
HIGH JUMP – (1) Peyton Johnsrud, Minnewaska, 6-7 (7) Riley Ashburn, MACCRAY/RCW, 6-0
LONG JUMP – (1) Joshua Finseth, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 21-3.25 (13) Ashburn, MACCRAY/RCW 19-5
TRIPLE JUMP – (1) Kaden McNiff, Floodwood, 45-3.25 (8) Connor Johnsrud, Minnewaska, 41-11.25 (10) Ben Van Eps, Central Minnesota Christian/Community Christian, 41-0.5
POLE VAULT – (1) Jarod White, Pine Island, 15-9 (DNP) Austin Frank, BOLD/BLHS, no height
DISCUS – (1) Will Tschetter, Stewartville, 175-7 (10) Francis O’Malley, Montevideo, 140-9 (15) T.J. Christensen, Litchfield, 127-4

SHOT PUT – (1) Tony Nelson, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 59-2.25 (6) O’Malley, Montevideo, 49-3 (16) Landon Wagner, Litchfield, 46-4