Track and Field: A strong showing at state track for Woodbury, Cottage Grove schools
ST. PAUL — For a handful of Woodbury and Cottage Grove area athletes, the past couple of days have been memorable in unimaginable ways.
For some it was their first time coming and for others, they are defending champions, but either way, the ability to compete in state track and field is an honor.
"The atmosphere here is unbelievable," said Math and Science Freshman Tierney Wolfgram. "I always look forward to this weekend."
East Ridge, Woodbury and Park has athletes participating in the section AA during the morning and afternoon on Friday and Saturday, while Math and Science Academy competed in the section A meet during the afternoon and evening each day.
There were only a handful of finals happening on Friday for the two sections, but Alec Wittman and Allyson Weiss from East Ridge as well as Harris Anderson and Wolfgram from Math and Science started off the weekend in their respective races and events.
Wittman competed in the boys pole vault, while Weiss was jumping in the girls long jump. Weiss placed third in the event and Wittman just kept carrying himself over the bar until there was only two athletes left in the competition.
It was between Carson Dittel from Roseville and Wittman. The pole was set at 14-feet-6 and Wittman jumped over it on the first of three tries, while Dittel took all three and couldn't get over.
Wittman became the state champion of boys pole vault. It was another goal he wanted to reach this season, especially after becoming conference and section champion this season.
"My goal was 14 feet, so it was great to see myself reach 14-6," Wittman said. "I'm just so excited to be here and be a state champion is unbelievable."
Anderson came to state for the first time in his running career, while Wolfgram was defending her state title from last season. Anderson finished fifth in the boys 3200-meter run and Wolfgram ended her 3200-meter run in second.
Wolfgram was up against the Ping sisters from Cotter who returned from Utah this season. Those sisters run the 1600 and 3200-meter runs with Wolfgram and she knew it was going to be tough with those two in the state finals.
Wolfgram went on to place second on Friday in the 3200-meter and finished third on Saturday in the 1600-meter race.
"It's hard to race those two because they're also my friends," Wolfgram said. "I'm just excited to push harder this upcoming season and hopefully return next year to race again."
As for Saturday, there were many more finals to complete, which included a handful of schools in the Woodbury and Cottage Grove area.
Anna Muellner from Woodbury placed fourth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.15. The East Ridge 4x200-meter relay girls team finished eighth.
The East Ridge 4x800-meter relay team and the Woodbury 4x100-meter relay team didn't qualify for the finals on Saturday.
In the field events for the girls, Maya Cochrane from Woodbury and Weiss from East Ridge competed in the girls shot put and girls triple jump.
Cochrane placed fifth after a throw of 39-03.75. Weiss came back on Saturday to finish first in the triple jump with a jump of 39-07.75 and while on the podium to receive her medal, she was named Ms. Track and Field.
READ MORE: State Track: Weiss wins triple jump, Ms. Track
On the boys side for section AA, there were four individuals competing and three teams running in various events throughout the day.
Joseph Timp from Park placed fifth in the 400-meter dash finals with a time of 49.89 seconds. Grant Wittman from Woodbury finished eighth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:57.25 in the finals.
The East Ridge 4x200-meter relay team were defending state champions in this event, but couldn't capture the title again as Hopkins edged out and the Raptors finished second with a time of 1:28.30.
In the 4x400-meter relay, Woodbury and East Ridge had teams in the finals. The Royals finished ninth with a time of 3:27.10, while the Raptors placed third with a time of 3:20.37.
Maxwell Ntege didn't qualify for the 100-meter dash after finishing 10th in the prelims. Jerald Hall also didn't qualify for the 200-meter dash and placed 13th in the prelims.
In the field events for the boys side, Andrew Kraemer finished 13th in the boys long jump with a jump of 20-06.
In the late afternoon to start the section A competition on Saturday, all eyes were on the Math and Science 4x800-meter relay team. The Dragons placed first with a time of 8:02.99.
The team consisted of seniors Naman Shah, Aric Brodie, Jack Osborne and sophomore Anderson. This was the first time in all four of their careers that they reached the state championships and they finished on a high note.
"I wanted to make sure I got out in front early," Shah said. "Once I did that, I knew the rest of the team would be able to pull out the victory."
The four pushed each other to run harder and faster than ever before, which helped them when Osborne was crossing the finish line with no one in front of him.
"I just gave it everything I had at the end to make sure we came out on top," Osborne said. "It was an unbelievable experience."
This weekend wraps up the outdoor track and field season for high school sports, but now the focus for most of these runners is training during the summer and then the possibility of running in cross country during the fall.