ST. MICHAEL — Something about Metaya Jergenson’s first throw at state felt different.
The Minnewaska senior came into the Class A state track and field championship at St. Michael-Albertville High School as the seventh seed in the girls discus with a personal best of 117 feet, 1 inch.
In the biggest meet of the season, Jergenson unleashed a toss of 123-8, a personal record that vaulted her into the lead after one attempt.
“I definitely was focused,” Jergenson said. “I was down, I was ready, my footwork was nice and my hand release was good. Usually there’s something that throws me off, but today it was really good.
“I jumped quite a bit.”
Each thrower in her flight had three more chances to usurp Jergenson and yet her initial mark held firm, securing a state championship.
“I didn’t expect it at all,” Jergenson said. “It definitely came out of nowhere, but I’m so grateful that it happened.”
Windom’s Delaney Smith, who won the shot put earlier in the day at 43-2.75, put on the most pressure with two throws at 121-8 and 121-0. Smith earned the top seed in the discus with a throw of 125-6, so she was certainly capable of surpassing Jergenson’s best throw.
“I was pacing those last three throws,” Jergenson said. “It’s like I could win or I could just lose it.”
But Smith’s final attempt went 118-9 and Jergenson was able to exhale. Her spot on top of the podium was secure.
“Once they called it, I was like, oh my gosh, I actually did it,” Jergenson said. “I’m so proud of myself.”
Koenen clinches three medals
Avery Koenen knew Friday was going to be exhausting. Facing both Class A’s best and dealing with a sunny afternoon in the high 80s/low 90s, the Montevideo sophomore competed in four events: the triple jump, long jump, high jump and 300 hurdles.
“(I’m) really tired and really surprised,” Koenen said, summing up her day. “Really happy about it.”
Through her efforts all over the STMA complex, Koenen brought home three medals, placing sixth in the triple jump (35-6.25), eighth in the high jump (5-1) and ninth in the 300-meter hurdles (47.85 seconds). She also took 16th in the long jump (16-1.75).
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coaches balancing it and helping me through the back-and-forth of all the events,” Koenen said.
After three triple jumps in the 34-foot range, Koenen was able to hit 35 feet in her final attempt of the final event of the day. It meant a lot to end on a high note.
“It’s satisfying,” Koenen said. “It just makes me happy that I could do my best.”
With 10 athletes competing at the state meet in eight events, the Minnewaska girls had the area’s highest team score in the area, finishing ninth with 28 points.
Rockford was the Class A girls champion with 46 points, beating Annandale (42) and Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland (39).
Aside from Jergenson’s win in the discus, the Lakers’ 4x800 relay took second place, albeit with a little chaos at the end. During the final handoff, the baton was knocked out of Kristen Glover’s hand into the air. It took a bounce on the track. On the way back up, Glover caught the baton and took off after Luverne’s Tenley Nelson for the final two laps. Luverne won at 9:34.64 while Minnewaska’s quartet of McKenzie Luetmer, Makena Thoen, Olivia Danielson and Glover finished at 9:45.04.
Also winning medals for the Laker girls: Danielson in the 800 (6th, 2:22.95); the 4x100 relay with Masie Jordan, Mya Lindeman, Ava Chevalier and Emily Kaiser (9th, 51.92); and the 4x400 relay with Glover, Thoen, Danielson and Luetmer (9th, 4:12.87).
Other area medalists were: Paynesville’s Rebekah Walz in the pole vault (6th, 10-0); the Morris/Chokio-Alberta 4x100 with Olivia Lebrija, Crystal Nohl, Ruby Swenson and Lydia Fynboh (6th, 51.08); and Fynboh in the 100 (9th, 12.64).
To find the complete boys Class A results with a story and photos, check them out at www.wctrib.com/sports or buy Saturday’s print edition.