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Boys relay takes 2nd at state, Albertson two 4ths

If someone told the Stillwater Area High School boys track and field coach Scott Christensen that his 4x800 relay team would run that fast he would have bet anything that they'd be leaving the award ceremony at last weekend's state track and field meet with gold medals around their necks. The relay team picked a good time to put up their personal best time of 7 minutes 51.05 seconds at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

But thanks to the team from Mankato West, Christensen would have lost that bet.

Mankato West flew through the race in 7:49.14 to win by less than two seconds. And to add salt to Christensen's wound, the mark the Scarlets put up was fast enough to break the all-time state record of 7:49.35, held by Stillwater's 1998 team.

"We'll get it back," said Christensen of the record. "It was a great race

a real dogfight. It has become the signature of our team. We've really put together a good relay and it has worked out well for us."

The team of Andrew Boldt, Elliot Saltzman, Jake Watson and Collin Bushman were able to cut their splits and shave seconds off their old best of 7:56.52. Boldt (1.59.1 split), Saltzman of Lake Elmo (1.58.8), and Watson (1.55.7) all put together their best splits of the year. Bushman, nursing an injury, couldn't hit his best split.

Watson also competed in the 3,200 meter run, but didn't run his best race, despite leading for five laps.

"The pace was really slow so he took over the lead in laps 3 though 7. Then, the two favorites went by him and then the kid from Alexandria, an unknown guy, passed him," Christensen said. "I think he began to doubt what he was doing."

Three more runners passed Watson within yards of the finish line to put him in seventh place in a time of 9:26.43.

Winona's Garrett Heath edged out Minneapolis Southwest's Forrest Taahdooahnippa by .03 seconds in a thrilling finish for first place. Heath ran it in 9:17.42.

"I thought Jake would be no worse than third," Christensen said. "I'm satisfied with the time in the 4x8 with Collin injured. Any other year he would have won, but I'm not overly disappointed with second place."

Jeff Anderson placed 10th in the triple jump with a mark of 41-feet, 6 inches. Christensen thought Anderson's nerves got the best of him.

"Everyone was in their first trip to state. We've had plenty at state cross-county meets, some in at least three, but it's a whole different thing," Christensen said. "I think Anderson's adrenaline was going and he had trouble hitting the board. I think he was just happy to be there."

Albertson takes 4th in distance races

Ladia Albertson witnessed a bit of deja vu when she ran the 1,600 Saturday at the state track and field meet in Blaine.

The day before, Albertson placed fourth in the 3,200, about 20 seconds behind of trio of the top distance runners in the state with a time of 10:52.22. Lisa Waananen of Maple Grove won the race in a time of 10:29.94, ahead of Hopkins' Shannon Bergstedt (10:30.77) and Heidi Lindeman of Coon Rapids (10.38.40).

In Saturday's 1,600, Albertson again watched as Bergstedt (4:53.25), Lindeman (4:54.75) and Waananen (4:58.81) crossed the finish line just before her. She took fourth again in a time of 5:03.09.

The junior reached her goal of running the 3,200 in under 11 minutes, but wasn't able to finish the 1,600 in under five minutes.