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|Paynesville Press - June 9, 2004|
Schmidt, Nehowig qualify for state individually
Sophomore Tara Schmidt and ninth grader Kacy Nehowig qualified for state in track with runner-up finishes at the Section 5A track and field meet last week.|
Schmidt was second in the 200-meter run, and Nehowig was second in the 3,200-meter run at the section meet on Wednesday, June 2, at St. John's University.
They will compete in the Class A state meet at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12. Both are making their first appearance at the state track meet as individuals.
Schmidt ran the second fastest time in the 200-meter preliminaries and ran second again in the final, trailing only Delano senior Alex McCannel, the Class A runner-up in both the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes last year. McCannel also won the 100-meter dash at sections last week, with Schmidt fourth.
Sophomore Tara Schmidt sprints towards the finish line, trailing Alex McCannel of Delano. She also was fourth in the 100-meter dash at sections.
Schmidt said her goal was to place in the top five in sections. Last year, she placed eighth in the 200 and 11th in the 100. Even after she had the second fastest time in the 200 in the preliminaries last week, she still thought she hoped just to finish in the top five.
When she finished second, "I just about started crying," she said. "I was so happy."
"It's my favorite event," added Schmidt, who also competed in the long jump at sections. "I was really happy."
Nehowig followed her strategy perfectly in the 3,200-meter run. With Beth Tacl of St. Cloud Cathedral, the Class A runner-up in cross country last fall, favored in the race, Nehowig ran for second. She stayed right behind Maggie Zirbes of Glencoe-Silver Lake during the first seven laps.
Then, with 300 meters to go, Nehowig passed Zirbes. Nehowig said she was worried that Zirbes would outkick her at the end.
Despite seeing, while rounding the last turn, that she had a 10-meter cushion over Zirbes, Nehowig remained fearful that Zirbes would catch her until she reached the finish line. "When I crossed the finish line, then I could smile," said Nehowig.
Ninth grader Kacy Nehowig stayed right behind the second runner for the first seven laps of the 3,200-meter run before passing her with 300 meters to go to take second and advance to state.
Nehowig's time of 11:29.4, her personal best, beat the state standard time by four tenths of a second, meaning she would have qualified for state regardless of her section placing. (To qualify for state in track and field, participants either must finish first or second at sections or beat the state standard.)
Nehowig, who also said she was excited and happy to qualify for state, had thought she had a chance to reach state when she ran the 3,200 in 11:41 at Willmar in April. But, the two-time All State cross country runner, who was seventh in the 3,200 at sections last year, had not cracked 12 minutes in the event since April.
Junior Kendra Johnson just missed qualifying for state, taking third at sections in the 300-meter hurdles for the second straight year. Johnson hit the final hurdle and was beaten by a nose at the tape. Kaitlyn Jensen of Pierz was second in 47.36, and Johnson was third in 47.54. She missed the state standard by a half second.
Other section placers for the Bulldogs were ninth grader Tanis Beireis (seventh in the 1,600-meter run) and the 3,200-meter relay team (eighth grader Melanie Koerner, eighth grader Kaitlyn Frenchick, Nehowig, and Beireis), who also finished seventh.
As a team, the Dogs finished eighth out of 23 teams at sections. Five girls set personal bests at the section meet: Beireis in the 1,600-meter run, seventh grader Kally Felling in the 400-meter dash, Frenchick in the 1,600-meter run, Nehowig in the 3,200-meter run, and eighth grader Rheanne Zimmerman in the 3,200-meter run. "We advanced two girls to the state meet and had many personal bests," said coach Dave Randgaard. "We rose to the challenge of competing against top-notch competition. This was an outstanding section meet for the nine girls that qualified."
The state meet will be held at the National Sports Center in Blaine on Friday, June 11, starting at 3 p.m., and Saturday, June 12, starting at 10 a.m. Schmidt is scheduled to run in the 200-meter preliminaries on Friday at 5:35 p.m. Nehowig is scheduled to run in the 3,200-meter finals on Friday at 5:50 p.m.
On Saturday, if Schmidt finishes in the top nine in the preliminaries, she will run in the 200-meter finals, scheduled at 2:50 p.m.
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