Year in Review 2011: Alowonle wins two state track championshipsIn 2011, Park’s R.J. Alowonle earned two state championships — winning the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles — to become the first male athlete in Park history to win two state titles in the same year.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
In 2011, Park’s R.J. Alowonle earned two state championships — winning the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles — to become the first male athlete in Park history to win two state titles in the same year.
“It’s the greatest feeling — I can’t even put it into words,” Alowonle said at last year’s state meet. “I just want to thank God, my teammates and my coaches. I couldn’t have done it without them. They’ve helped me so much this year.”
At the state meet, Alowonle won the state title in the 110 hurdles with a personal-best time of 14.46 and defended his 300-meter hurdle state championship from 2010 with a Park-record time of 37.32.
As a team, Park nearly shocked the world of Minnesota high school track and field as the four members of the Wolfpack boys team came only five points away from winning the Class AA state championship.
Led by Alowonle’s two state titles, the Wolfpack finished tied for third as a team in the 2011 state meet with 42 points. Eden Prairie also scored 42 points to tie Park for third. With 47 points, Stillwater won the state championship, followed by runner-up Wayzata with 43 points.
According to Park head coach Mike Moran, third place is the best-ever finish by a Park boys track team.
“They did really well,” Moran said at the time. “A couple really good guys can do that for you at this meet. I’m very proud of those guys. It’s a lot of fun. It was a very close meet.”
At the state meet teams are awarded points and All-State honors for finishing in the top nine places in each event. A first place finish garners 12 points, second place gets 10 points, third place earns eight points, and so on. The ninth place finisher earns one point.
Park’s athletes — Alowonle, D’Monte Farley, Irving Gutierrez and Dylan Smallidge — finished in the top five in five of the seven of the events they qualified to state in.
Alowonle and Farley, both just juniors last year, each qualified for the state meet in the maximum four events — something that no other male athlete had done in Park history.
At the meet, in addition to winning the 110-meter hurdle and the 300-meter hurdle state titles, Alowonle finished in fourth place in the triple jump. Also, Farley took sixth place in the 100-meter dash, and the foursome took third place in the 400-meter relay with a school record time.