Shaina Burns jingled as she walked after the state track and field meet. The four medals around her neck provided the soundtrack of her success.
Burns, a senior for Lakeville South, showcased her various talents throughout a remarkable day at Hamline University. She won the Class 2A 100-meter hurdles and shot put events and added third-place finishes in the 300 hurdles and with the Cougars’ 4x400 relay.
No other athlete tallied four all-state performances on Saturday. Heavy rain and frequent lightning caused a half-hour start delay for all outdoor events. But Burns, a heptathlete, vowed to excel in spite of conditions.
“Giving a girl like me a challenge is kind of a dangerous thing to do,” she said.
Burns entered the shot put competition with the top seed and won with a mark of 44 feet, 10 ½ inches. Victory in the 100 hurdles was less certain. The field featured defending champion Rachel Schow of Rosemount and all-time record holder Alexandra Williams of Blaine. But Burns prevailed in 14.44 seconds, pumping her arm with joy after the race and earning the first of four medals.
“It’s really amazing,” Burns said. “I’ve been on the varsity for six years and fighting to get to this moment for literally one-third of my life. It all came together on this one day, and I can’t explain how thrilled I feel.”
Hopkins senior Shaheed Hickman spoke for all 25 individual champions aiming to defend their titles at the two-day state meet.
“Since you’re at the top, the only place you can go is down,” said Hickman, who won again in the 100 and also anchored the winning 4x100 relay to help clinch a first-ever boys’ team title for Hopkins. The Royals scored 80 points. “I knew I had to work harder because everyone was coming for my spot.”
Three additional Class 2A runners won again: North St. Paul junior Akeem Sirleaf (200), Stillwater sophomore Eli Krahn (1,600) and Bloomington Jefferson senior Matthew Rosen (800).
Twice as nice
Rosemount senior Payton Otterdahl won the discus throw, adding to Friday’s shot put title. Minnetonka senior Mia Barron broke state meet records each day. She got the long jump mark (19-1 ½) on Friday and tripled jumped 40-5 ½ on Saturday.
Barron’s efforts helped the Skippers repeat as team champions with 80 points.
Driven to inspire
Delano junior Marissa Bartels earned three first-place medals Saturday in the wheelchair division of the 100, 800 and shot put.
She started the day avenging runner-up status in the 100 last year and never looked back. The first “wheeler” in the Tigers program, Bartels hopes her performance will create more interest in track and field.
“There are people younger than me in Delano in wheelchairs, and I think doing this shows them they can do what they want,” Bartels said.
Hunter will be hunted
Cretin-Derham Hall sophomore Brieasha Hunter served her peers notice in the sprint events. Hunter won the 100 and 400 and took second to senior teammate Megan Linder in the 200. Not bad for a youngster who awoke to the sound of thunder Saturday morning and dreaded the thought of competing.
“I went outside and the raindrops were like, this big,” said Hunter, forming circles with her hands roughly the same diameter the medal around her neck. Hunter and Linder combined to score all 66 points for second-place Cretin-Derham Hall.
A little more than one lap of the girls’ 1,600 remained when Shakopee freshman Tess Misgen changed lanes and passed three competitors, daring them to join her for a final fast lap.
A year ago, Misgen was closing in on victory when Bemidji’s Jenna Truedson ran her down. This time, Misgen vowed to take the title.
“I was thinking about last year and how I got passed at the end,” Misgen said. “I wasn’t letting that happen this year. I just wanted it, and I knew I had to go hard that last 400.”