Park track & field: Alowonle breaks 27-year 400-meter dash school recordThe Park boys and girls track and field teams got ready for the final three meets of the year with the Park Quadrangular Thursday, May 17, at Park High School’s Wolfpack Stadium.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park boys and girls track and field teams got ready for the final three meets of the year with the Park Quadrangular Thursday, May 17, at Park High School’s Wolfpack Stadium.
The quadrangular, against Suburban East Conference foes Cretin-Derham Hall, Hastings and Woodbury, was an “unlimited” meet allowing individuals to compete in as many different events they would like other than the usual four event maximum.
Park senior R.J. Alowonle used the meet to try and break the school’s 27-year-old 400-meter dash school record — and did so with a time of 48.28 seconds.
“I was very shocked when I saw that time,” Alowonle said. “I was really nervous, because this was my last chance to do it.”
Despite never running an open 400-meter dash in a meet, Alowonle’s time was more than a second faster than Jim Tima’s time of 49.4 from 1985. It was also the fastest time run in the state this year — ahead of White Bear Lake’s Eric Gebeke, whose best is a 48.34 this year, and better than the state championship time of 48.56 last year. In addition to his three state championships in the hurdles, Alowonle now owns a remarkable four Park High School records — the 300-meter hurdles, the 400-meter dash, the triple jump and the 400-meter relay. He is in the top eight on the Park all-time list in an incredible seven different events.
Alowonle said being on the record board at Park meant a lot to him.
“It makes me really proud, especially because walking in as a freshman I saw my sister’s name up there twice and thought it would be the coolest thing ever just to be on that board,” he said. “I worked super hard because I really, really wanted to get up there like my sister. That was one of my goals.”
The Park boys took first place in the meet with 77 points — one point ahead of Hastings (76 points). The Park girls finished in second place with 58.50 points. Woodbury won the meet with a whopping 118.50 points.
In addition to winning the 400, Alowonle won the 200-meter dash in a time of 22.13 seconds and took first place in the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet, 2 inches – the best recorded distance in the state this year. Park junior Dylan Smallidge was right behind his teammate in the triple, with a leap of 42 feet, 11 inches, which was good for second place. Park senior D’Monte Farley took third place in the event with a jump of 42 feet, 3 inches. In addition, Smallidge finished in third place in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 3 inches.
The Park boys 400-meter relay team and 1600-meter relay teams each finished in first place. Evan Bonneson finished in second place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 10.43 seconds. Louis Arrigoni earned third place in the pole vault, clearing 11 feet. Park’s Camden Knoff took fourth place in the shot put with a heave of 39 feet, 10 inches and Park’s Robert Sorenson placed fourth in the discus toss with a throw of 112 feet, 6 inches.
In the girls meet, Park went 1-2 in the pole vault as Megan Bresnahan finished in first place, clearing 8 feet, 6 inches while McKenzie Greeder placed second clearing 8 feet.
“Both of our top pole vaulters are getting consistent performances meet after meet which hopefully means good things to come from the two of them,” Park head girls track team coach Matt Maher said.
In addition, Park’s Sharmaine Turner won the 200-meter dash with a time of 27.80 seconds.
Park’s top sprinter, eighth grader Ally Gorres, won the long jump with a leap of 16 feet, four inches and took first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 2 minutes, 40.47 seconds. Park’s top 400-meter runner, sophomore Temi Ogunrinde, finished third in the 800 with a time of 2:48.30. Ogunrinde also earned third place in the shot put with a toss of 31 feet, 9 inches.
In other events, Park’s 3200-meter relay team won the event with a time of 10:39.29. Park’s Cameron Anderson and Rebekah Schulte earned third and fourth, respectively, in the 1600-meter run with times of 5:48.33 and 5:54.59. Katelyn Floysand earned second place in the 300-meter hurdles (48.97) and fifth place in the 100-meter hurdles (17.79). Park’s Gabrielle Fitzgerald and Karen Banks took sixth and seventh in the 100 hurdles with times of 18.52 and 18.57, respectively, and in the discus toss, Park’s Hannah Schwartz earned fourth place with a throw of 78 feet, 3 inches and Park’s McKay Zurn took fifth place with a toss of 76-01.
All that remains for the Park track and field teams are the Suburban East Conference Championships – which take place this week – the section championships and the state meet.