Repeat champions were the story of Friday’s Class 3A True Team track and field state meet at Stillwater High School.
The Wayzata boys’ team defended its title from a year ago while the Lakeville South girls’ team went one better by earning a third consecutive championship.
In True Team competition, each team is allowed three entries in individual events and one entry in each relay. Every entry scores points according to the order of finish, making depth paramount to success. By contrast, a handful of talented athletes can win the “team” trophy at the Minnesota State High School League state meet in June.
Lakeville South used star power and great depth to pull away from second-place Prior Lake in the meet’s latter stages.
Through 14 events, Prior Lake held a one-point lead. But the Cougars retook the lead after 15 events and never trailed again. The 200-meter dash put Lakeville South in control. All three runners placed in the top nine, led by victorious sophomore Haley Lubow.
Showing off its depth in the field events, the Cougars offset an individual Prior Lake victory in the discus throw by scoring eight more points overall.
The high jump provided the best of both worlds for Lakeville South. Junior Caraline Slattery won the event and Morgan Pieri and Jocie Johnson placed within the top eight. Using similar formulas on the track, Lakeville South dominated the 200 and bunched up its athletes well in the 300 hurdles.
Hurdlers Slattery (third), Shaina Burns (fourth) and Johnson (seventh) squeezed critical depth points out of the event.
The Cougars stayed ahead late thanks to the 3,200 crew of Andrea Brekken (fourth), Erin Kilbride (12th) and Patty Jo English (13th). The trio provided 55 points to only 29 for Prior Lake.
On the boys’ side, Wayzata did its damage on the track, excelling in middle-distance races and relays.
A first-place finish in the first event, the 4x800-meter relay, was an indication of what the Trojans had in store. They placed second in the 4x200 before winning again in the 4x100 and closing out the meet with a 4x400 victory.
Strong middle distance running fueled Wayzata. All three 800 runners — Aaron Breyer, Kevin Myers and Andrew Quirk — placed in the top 10. The 1,600 trio was even better. Connor Olson took third behind fellow elite competitors Eli Krahn of Stillwater and Joe Klecker of Hopkins. Jaret Carpenter placed fifth and an eighth-place finish from Ian Eklin rounded out a successful event.
Olson and Carpenter weren’t finished. Later in the evening, they helped cement the team victory with strong efforts in the 3,200. Olson won the event and Carpenter took third. The Trojans also received a big lift from fifth-place finisher Jack Prazich.
The 400 was an additional bright spot for Wayzata. Teammates Michael and James Smith took first and second while Tyler Didier grabbed 10th to provide a total of 71 points.