ST. PAUL - All within a mammoth toss of 152 feet, 1 inch in the discus, Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd senior thrower Zach Jenson broke a personal best, a school record and got second place in Class A at the state track and field meet Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
"I'm so excited. I wasn't expecting to get second," Jenson said. "I plan on wearing (the medal) the rest of the day."
Qualifying for state in both the discus and shot put, Jenson's ultimate goal was to win a medal. And after a tumultuous offseason, it became a gratifying experience for Jenson just to make it to state, let alone getting to stand on the podium.
Photo by Joe Brown
Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd thrower Zach Jenson launches the discus during Saturday’s state track and field finals at Hamline University in St. Paul. Jenson finished in second place with a toss of 152 feet, 1 inch.
During basketball season, in a game against Milbank (S.D.), a hard elbow broke Jenson's jaw in two places, forcing the LQPV senior to have his jaw wired shut for a month.
"I lost 35 pounds after a month, and I drank a lot of milkshakes," Jenson said. "It was nasty, not good-tasting stuff.
"Once I could start eating, I worked out a lot more. I filled up, got a little bit stronger and it paid off. It was time for me to get some luck."
Jenson's biggest bit of luck came in the first flight. After a throw of 140-9 and a scratch in his first two shots, Jenson appeared to be out of the finals. Then he stepped into the circle for his final toss, unleashing the discus and dwarfing his seed mark of 139-3.
"I let go, and it felt good. I couldn't tell (where it landed), but people were cheering, the mark came up and I thought, 'Yes,'" Jenson said. "I needed to throw well because I didn't have a good throw at that point.
"It really helped because I think it made the other flight nervous. They weren't expecting that, so it wasn't easy for them."
Brian Blasey of Ada-Borup ended up with the gold medal in Class A after a throw of 154-7, besting Jenson by over two feet. But after everything he went through from the offseason, just getting to wear a medal across his neck was all Jenson could ask for.
"It feels great, that's all I can say," he said.
Swenson runner-up in 800
Crossing the finish line in second place against a stacked field in the 800-meter dash, instead of dwelling as a runner-up, LQPV/DB runner Ryan Swenson huddled up with his adversaries after the completion of the 800 final.
After a grueling race, it was a show of respect for the racers.
"We're all pretty good friends. I've raced against Grant Timm (of Plainview-Elgin-Millville) and (Holy Family Catholic's Weston) Holasek for a long time, pretty much every year," Swenson said. "Before the race, we were just talking, giving each other crap. We're competitors first, but we all get along and that helps with the pre-race jitters."
With about 150 meters left in the race, Swenson led the pack. But Jackson County Central's Justin Cook made a strong late charge, getting past Swenson to take first place with a time of 1 minute, 55.97 seconds. Swenson's time was 1:56.65, beating Timm, who took third at 1:57.09.
Coming into Saturday's final, Cook, Swenson and Timm each qualified for the 800 final with times below 1:58.
Just a week before, Swenson beat Cook for the section title. But with state on the line, Cook's charge was overwhelming for the pack.
"I knew someone was going to be coming and I know how hard Justin can finish and he showed his kick at the end," Swenson said. "With 100 to go, I saw Grant right behind me, and I didn't know Justin was there. I've ran against him three times and his kick is always strong.
"(Cook) finished incredibly, he ran a perfect race."
Missing out on an elusive individual gold medal, Swenson says he has no regrets over an impressive individual stretch that started at last season's state track and field meet, where the Eagles were the Class A team champions. Since last spring, Swenson has been an all-state honorable mention in football, a 200-match winner in wrestling and a state participant in track. Next fall, Swenson said he plans on being a walk-on at South Dakota State in football.
"It's been a great run. I look back and I don't really have any regrets, which is how I wanted it to end, without any regrets," Swenson said. "I can't complain on going out on a p.r. (personal record)."
Along with Jenson and Swenson on Saturday, the LQPV/DB girls 4x100-meter relay team had its shot at a Class A title. Running a time of 51.56 at sections to qualify for state, the relay team of senior Hayley Wittnebel, freshman Jacinta Roggenbuck, and juniors Morgan Munsterman and Sara Melom could not match that time, finishing in ninth at 51.80.
Winning the 4x100 was Pequot Lakes, who smashed its seeding time by finishing at 50.21, edging St. Croix Lutheran by .15 seconds. Chatfield, Waseca and Annandale rounded out the top five.
The race was Melom's second at state, as she ran in the 100 during prelims on Friday.
In the boys' high jump, Yellow Medicine East senior Zach Svobodny came in as one of the meet's top qualifiers with a seeding mark of 6 feet, 4 inches. But on the state's biggest stage, Svobodny could not break the 6-foot mark, falling out after reaching a high of 5-10.
The Sting senior cited both nerves and tight hamstrings to his rough showing at state.
"Both my hamstrings were cramping up (Saturday) morning, that was part of it," Svobodny said. "The rest of it, I don't know. Probably too much pressure.
"I've been cramping up all day. It gets hot out and I don't drink much water, and that's my fault."
Winning the event was Central Minnesota Christian's Aaron Wubben, who reached a height of 6-7, beating Browerville/Eagle Valley's Ben Dreher by two inches.
Class A state track and field championship
Boys 800m-1. Justin Cook (Jackson County Central) 1:55.97; 2. Ryan Swenson (LQPV/DB) 1:56.65; 3. Grant Timm (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) 1:57.09; 4. Weston Holasek (Holy Family Catholic) 1:57.97; 5. Caleb Arndt (Madelia/Truman) 1:58.49; 6. Nicholas Rudolph (Waseca) 1:59.03; 7. Chase Austvold (New London-Spicer) 1:59.59; 8. Isaac Winters (Sauk Centre) 2:01.68; 9. Jacob Eggers (Minnehaha Academy) 2:05.03.
Girls 4x100m-1. Pequot Lakes 50.21; 2. St. Croix Lutheran 50.36; 3. Chatfield 50.43; 4. Waseca 50.73; 5. Annandale 50.95; 6. Osakis 50.96; 7. Bagley/Fosston 51.33; 8. Esko 51.72; 9. Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd 51.80.
Boys Discus-1. Brian Blasey (Ada-Borup) 154-7; 2. Zach Jenson (LQPV/DB) 152-1; 3. Dan Wood (Pelican Rapids) 151-2; 4. Kevin Longtin (Red Lake County) 149-6; 5. Tyler Petit (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) 148-3; 6. Andrew Youngren (Barnum) 148-2; 7. Tony Willette (United South Central) 147-1; 8. Sam Udermann (Foley) 144-7; 9. Andre Hinds (Blake) 143-10; 10. Ethan Lunning (Zimmerman) 141-11; 11. Tomas Parker (Pequot lakes) 141-5; 12. Alex Taray (Floodwood) 140-8; 13. Joey Grussing (Central Minnesota Christian) 136-2; 14. Jack Fraser (LeSueur-Henderson) 135-0; 15. Hunter Anderson (Hayfield) 132-8; 16. Ted Ohm (Pine Island) 131-4; 17. Jonathan Thomas (Minnehaha Academy 119-8.
Boys High Jump-1. Aaron Wubben (Central Minnesota Christian) 6-7; 2. Ben Dreher (Browerville/Eagle Valley) 6-5; 3. Nate Golden (Springfield/Cedar Mountain/Comfrey) 6-4; t4. Quin Leaf (Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted), Tyler Schiroo (Glencoe-Sliver Lake), Jake Stainbrook (Esko), Shawn Filipiak (International Falls) 6-2; t8. Randy Juell (Redwood Valley), Yves Spies (Waseca) 6-2; t10. Brian Huber (Staples-Motley), Chase Montgomery (Plainview-Elgin-Millville) 6-2; t12. Beau Kashmark (West Central Area), Brandon Zylstra (New London-Spicer), Mark Goss (Bagley/Fosston) 6-0; t15. Ryan Carlson (Springfield/Cedar Mountain/Comfrey), Isaac Darrington (Blue Earth Area) 6-0; 17. Zach Hoppenworth-Pedersen (La Crescent) 6-0; 18. Antonio McGhee (St. Agnes) 5-10; 19. Zach Svobodny (YME) 5-10; 20. Jon Nelson (Lake Park-Audubon) 5-10.