ST PAUL - The heart of a champion cannot be measured by a medal around an athlete's neck.
The members of the Marshall Tiger 3,200 relay team are a testament to that.
The Tigers ended up placing 12th out of 17 relay teams, finishing the race in 9:37.26. Minnetonka won the contest in 9:06.48, less than three seconds short of the Class AA record.
Marshall’s Rose Anderson hands off to Nichole Sample to start the anchor leg of the 4x800-meter relay at the State Track Meet Sunday. The Tigers placed 12th with a time of 9:37.26.
Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd’s Jacinta Roggenbuck receives her third place medal for the 400-meter dash at the State Track Meet Saturday.
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI’s Wyatt Johansen hands off to Travis Dinius during the 4x800-meter relay Saturday at the State Track and Field Meet.
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI’s Leah Jessen leads the pack during the first leg of the 4x800-meter relay at the State Track and Field Meet Saturday.
Freshman Claire Boersma, sophomores Jackie Turner and Rose Anderson and eighth-grader Nichole Sample didn't quite make the podium at the 2014 Minnesota State Track and Field Championships Saturday at Hamline University, but their effort was valiant.
"I'm feeling a little disappointed, Sample said, who anchored the relay race. I'd really hoped to medal. We did try our best, though, and I'm really proud of that. We made it here, so that's an accomplishment in itself."
Runners had to battle the wet and rainy conditions on top of the competition.
"We tried not to let the rain bother us, Anderson said. "We knew we had to get out there, race and do our best. Our two main goals this season were to get our school record and to come to state and we got those goals. So this is just something extra for us."
What set Marshall apart from the other relay teams after the race was how they pulled together, like family, and supported each other on and off the track.
"We're a team and we have so much heart," Turner said. "We wanted to get up on the podium and last night, we visualized ourselves getting a medal, but it didn't quite happen. Seeing the looks on my teammates' faces drives me to want to do even better next year. Just seeing the looks of defeat drives us."
Boersma led off the race for the Tigers.
"I was really nervous to start because I knew there was going to be a lot of girls and it was going to be really congested, but my strategy was to just go out fast and see how long I could hang on," Boersma said. "My first lap was really good, but I kind of locked up on the last half of the last lap. I'm still pretty proud of us."
Turner ran the second leg of the race, followed by Anderson, who acknowledged that the 800-meter distance was a grueling one for track athletes to run. She and her teammates are driven by one constant, however.
"We want to do well for each other," Anderson said.
One's best is all that should ever be asked of a young athlete, which seems to be much more accurate of a measure than any other gauge. And when Sample collapsed to her knees just inside of the track after completing the race, it was Turner who was quick to pick Sample up-both literally and figuratively- reminding her fellow teammate what mattered most.
"My teammates, I know they feel a little down on themselves, but I'm so proud of everything they've put into this, Turner said. These guys make me a better person. We're such a close team and we want to do our best for each other. We literally put everything into these races, including our hearts."
Despite being kept off the podium, the girls' realistic goals and put-everything-on-the-line attitudes and efforts can only mean a positive outlook for the future. With the exception of alternate Jenna Christianson, who graduated this spring, the team returns all relay members for the next two seasons.
"It's still a dream of ours to get a medal," Turner said. We didn't realize how big of a deal it was to be here. So, getting that medal would be really cool."
CLASS AA RESULTS
3,200 RELAY: 1. Minnetonka (Meaghan Borowski, Meghan Janssen, Lucille Hoelscher, Elizabeth Endy) 9:06; 12. Marshall (Claire Boersma, Jackie Turner, Rose Anderson, Nichole Sample) 9:37.26.
More than 3,100 spectators turned out to witness the Class A athletes showcase their talents during the final day of the Minnesota State Track and Field Meet Saturday at Hamline University.
Among the 13 area high school seniors competing at the state meet were Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's Jacinta Roggenbuck, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton's Matt LaVoy and Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI's Leah Jessen and Wyatt Johansen, all of whom look to continue their running careers in college.
Roggenbuck collected two medals in her final track outing, finishing third in the 400-meter dash (58.34) and fourth in the 200 dash (26.20).
"Last year in the 400, I got sixth, so I was just trying to get better," Roggenbuck said. "I ended up getting three places better. In the 200, I've been to state two other times, but I'd never made finals before this year. This year, I did and I got fourth. That makes me really proud, to go out with a bang."
This year marked the fifth straight year that Roggenbuck qualified for the state meet and she's proud of the fact that she continued to improve her times each year.
"I've been getting my personal records this season," she said. "Before this year, my PR in the 400 was 59.83, which I ran at section last season. My prelim race this year was a 58.48, so a second and a half better. Then in finals, I ran .10 faster than that, so I'm feeling pretty good."
Roggenbuck's 200 prelim time of 26.15 is her personal best, though she nearly matched the feat in the finals.
"I was seeded sixth coming in and I got fourth, so I'm happy," Roggenbuck said. "I feel really proud of my accomplishments. I'm glad I could medal individually because when I first came to state it was for relays. It was a team effort. But now I've been making it as an individual. It makes me feel really proud, that I can stand on my own two feet and carry my own weight."
Roggenbuck's success caught the attention of U.S. Track and Field Olympian Carrie Tollefson, a Dawson-Boyd native, who was at the state championships.
"She wished me luck," Roggenbuck said. "She said 'don't leave anything behind you. Just go for it.'"
Tollefson's Olympic history includes a story that Roggenbuck can relate to. Tollefson reportedly missed making the Olympic team in distance races, which were her thing. But unexpectedly, Tollefson made the team in a shorter race.
"So you never know what's going to happen when you step on the track," Roggenbuck said. "In the end, it matters how much you want it. That's what I always tell myself when I'm running."
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton's Jada Carr added to her fourth-place medal in the long jump Friday with a ninth-place finish in the triple jump (35 feet).
CML's Jessen, Emily Gillingham, Kalli Jelen and Natalie Dinius won their heat in the 3,200-relay competition, but missed making the podium, finishing 11th with a time of 9:53.85.
"We were disappointed that we were in the slow heat because we really wanted to get a medal, but we ran our best time, so I'm proud of those girls," Jessen said. "We ran our personal best so it's nothing to be ashamed about."
Emotions got the best of Jessen after the final race of her high school career, as she fought back tears while talking about her experiences.
"I'm going to miss this," Jessen said. "It's been a good run, though. It's been many good years with lots of good memories. So it's definitely been a satisfying career."
Jessen said that leaving behind all of her teammates is the most difficult part, especially the members of the 3,200-relay team, all of whom are underclassmen.
"I've kind of raised those girls and it's going to be hard to leave them behind," Jessen said. "I'm going to miss my team. They're my family. But they're going to do good things. Hopefully I can run some miles with them this summer."
Wyatt Johansen led the CML 3,200-relay team to a 12th-place finish (8:24.75) on Saturday. While they didn't medal, Johansen was satisfied with their effort.
"We ran three seconds slower than our fastest time, which we ran at sections," he said. "That was an 8:21 and then (Saturday) it was an 8:24. It could've been better, but I'm feeling pretty good about it."
Johansen said he'll miss running with brothers, twins McKinley and Mitchell, who were both part of the 3,200 team, along with Nathan Cooper and Travis Dinius.
"Mitchell is the alternate, but during the season there were meets that all three of us ran the relay together," Wyatt Johansen said. "That was fun. Everybody says, 'they all look the same.'"
On Friday, Johansen ran a personal record in the 3,200 run, eclipsing his best time by nearly five seconds.
"It was the best race of my career," he said. "It felt amazing and I don't have any regrets."
TMB's LaVoy made his first state track appearance on Saturday, finishing 15th in the 1,600 run (4:38.20).
"It cooled down really nice before the mile race, so I gave it a pretty good shot, Lavoy said. "I ran a personal record by a couple of seconds, so it was a good day. It means a lot to just be up here among the state's best runners. I've been working towards making it to state in the 1,600 for four years and I finally got it this year. It was exciting."
CML's Morgan Citterman placed 11th in the shot put with a throw of 35-4 1/2, while teammate Nathan Pavek was 16th in the high jump (5-10).
LQPV/D-B's Joey Lee cleared 5-10 with a missed attempt and finished in a four-way tie for 12th place in the high jump. Eagles junior Alaysia Freetly just missed making the podium in the 1,600 run, finishing 10th in 5:16.21. Teammate Kaitlin Connor was 17th in the triple jump (32-2 3/4).