The Class 2A, Section 6 track and field meet on Tuesday featured an elite distance runner fighting back and an elite sprinter putting teammates first.
Minneapolis Washburn senior Emily Covert, limited all season by leg pain, made her track and field debut and won the 3,200-meter run. Covert, winner of the past two cross-country state championships, ran at Orono High School in Heat 1, the “slow” heat. No matter. Her time of 10 minutes, 59.72 seconds qualified her for the state meet.
The University of Colorado-bound Covert won the 3,200 title last spring in a state record time of 10:06.19. Whether she repeats as champion, Covert at least finishes her career on the track instead of in the stadium seats.
Meanwhile, Joe Fahnbulleh of Hopkins, owner of Minnesota’s fastest time in the 100-meter dash (10.23 seconds) won’t compete in the event at state.
Fahnbulleh won the 200 prelims and triple jump finals on Tuesday. On Thursday, he will anchor the Royals’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
Hopkins coach Nick Lovas said Fahnbulleh chose his own events.
“He’s satisfied with his state record [in the 100] and he only gets so any chances to run with his boys in the relays,” Lovas said. “He’d much rather be joined by his teammates on the podium than stand in the spotlight himself.”
And it’s not as if he threw away his best event. Fahnbulleh, who is committed to Florida, is the defending 200 champion and holds the state record (20.69). In addition, the Hopkins 4x100 (41.35) and 4x200 (1:26.37) are the state’s fastest of all time.
As for his “other” event, Fahnbulleh won the triple jump with a leap of 46 feet, 2 ½ inches. He nailed it on his first attempt.