Park track & field: Benson clears 6-5, earns trip to state in high jumpPark's Drew Benson, a junior, cleared 6-5 in the high jump to automatically qualify for the state meet, helping Park avoid failing to send a male or female athlete to state for the first time in nearly three decades — if not ever.
By: Patrick Johnson, staff writer, South Washington County Bulletin
Park’s Drew Benson probably didn’t realize how historic his performance at the Section 3AA track meet was.
Benson, a junior, cleared 6-5 in the high jump to automatically qualify for the state meet, helping Park avoid failing to send a male or female athlete to state for the first time in nearly three decades — if not ever.
Despite having what head boys track and field coach Mike Moran said was Park’s best team in 20 years, Benson was the Wolfpack’s lone male state meet qualifier as the Wolfpack boys finished in fourth place with 57.50 points. Rosemount won the meet with 140.50 points. Eagan was second (100 points), Eastview was third (89.5 points) and Burnsville was fifth (55 points). Moran said at least one male athlete from Park has reached the state meet every year since 1985.
The Park girls team failed to qualify an individual athlete for the first time in, at least, over 10 years — according to girls team head coach Matt Maher — finishing in 12th place out of 14 teams with 13 points. Prior Lake won the girls meet with 128 points.
Last year Park sent four athletes to the state meet — Benson and 2008 graduates Nik Hawley, Jackie Voigt and Kelsey Joson.
However, the both the Wolfpack boys and girls teams had strong meets and some top-notch individual performances.
For the Wolfpack, Benson was one of three Park athletes in the final eight participants in the high jump, along with seniors Josh Dorweiler and Nick Koethe — who each cleared 6-0 in the event to finish sixth and seventh, respectively. Eastview sophomore Franky Veldman won the event with a jump of 6-7.
Benson, who finished eighth at the state meet last season clearing 6-2 and earning All-State honors, will now jump at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 30 at Hamline University in this year's state meet.