Led by the all-around effort of Joe Fahnbulleh, a victory and second-place finish by hurdler George Jackson and a victory and second-place finish in the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter runs by Eli Hoeft, Hopkins won the Class 3A Boys’ True Team State championship, ending Wayzata’s streak of six consecutive.
The Royals finished with 1,243 points while Wayzata ended with 1,180. Mounds View was third with 1,093.5.
“Everyone on this team worked for this and everyone wanted this,” said Fahnbulleh, whose meet included a victory in the 100 meters, a runner-up finish in the triple jump and a 13th-place in the high jump.
Known primarily as a sprinter, Fahnbulleh said he was willing to do any event he was asked to do. Triple jump? No problem. High jump? Why not?
“We all do this for each other,” he said. “The coach said ‘Hey, you’re competing in the high jump and the triple jump.’ I said ‘Yes sir.’ I’ll do anything to help this team win.”
Rosemount girls win
A foursome of Rosemount girls track athletes stood in a circle before the final event in the Class 3A Girls’ State True Team meet.
They was were bouncing and smiling nervously and it wasn’t because the temperatures at Stillwater High School were steadily dropping. The Irish were on the brink of a state championship, holding a 22-point lead as the 4x400 relay started. Their excitement was palpable.
“This is so big for the team, especially for us seniors,” Kaylee Walter said.
“We’re nervous, but we’re confident,” Olivia Furnstahl said. “Our 4x4 team is pretty good.”
Good enough to ensure an Irish victory. The Irish finished third in the 4x400, completing their team victory with a total score of 1,137.5 points. Wayzata finished second (1,123.5), Stillwater third (1,004).
Rosemount had suffered significant losses to graduation. At the start of the season, the Irish didn’t know how good they were. “We never thought this would be possible, not at the start,” Walter said.
The arrival of junior Lauren Peterson, one of the state’s top distance runners who transferred from Farmington, helped solidify the Irish. Peterson won the 1,600 in 4:58.98 and the 3,200 in 10:54.82 and anchored the 4x400 team.
“I would say this is the biggest meet of the year for us, so to pull out a team championship is pretty cool,” she said. “It’s special.”
Among individual highlights:
• Rosemount senior Max Otterdahl won the shot put (62-5 ½) and discus (180-2).
• White Bear Lake’s Erika Townley swept the hurdles, winning the 100 (14.58) and 300 (44.54).
* Mounds View’s Julia Fixsen won the high jump (5-6) and pole vault (13-6). She was fourth in the 100 hurdles.
• Stillwater’s Alexis Pratt had three first-place finishes, winning the 100 (12.44), 200 (25.39) and running on the Ponies’ 4x100 relay (49.21).