Sections is the meet when track and field athletes have the chance to qualify for state. With 34 teams competing, the top two individuals, and first place relay teams advance automatically to the state meet. The meet was held at St. Michael-Albertvilleís track.
In the first event of the day, the 4 by 800-meter relay, Paynesvilleís team, which had run a time good enough to qualify for state at sub-sections (8:20.4), wasnít able to repeat the same feat at sectionówhere that same performance would be needed. Instead, the very talented St. Michael team charged ahead early and never looked back. The Bulldog team of Luke Trees, Jeff Voss, Josh Jones, and Dan Johnson struggled to an 8:50.2 and third place. Despite the disappointing finish, the team was pleased with its season which included winning conference and sub-sections and lowering the school record by 13 seconds.
Troy Wendlandt was the next Bulldog to hit the track. He ran his prelim of the 110-meter hurdles. However, due to a leg injury that has hampered him for the past couple of weeks, he didnít advance to the finals.
Eighth grader Eric Rausch got his first taste of section competition in the 400- meter dash. Though he didnít place, he has run outstanding this season.
Jeff Voss ran a good 300-meter hurdles race. Running a personal best time of 41.8, Voss placed fourth. Voss will be a runner to watch in the future as heís only a sophomore.
The only senior on the track team, Dan Johnson, competed well in the 800-meter run. Having the goal of qualifying for state all season, Johnson went into the race aware of the competition, but also confident of his ability. Last yearís runner-up in the state meet (Sam Rennenburg, Holdingford) in the 800 was in the race and was sure to control the tone of the race. Johnson ran solidly in second during the entire race until the last 100-meters. A St. Michael runner outkicked Johnson for second place and the automatic advancement to state. Crossing the finish line in third place, Johnson had run a 2:00.20óonly .16 seconds from the state qualifying standard of 2:00.04.
Near the end of the meet, two of Paynesvilleís freshmen ran in the 3200- meter run. Running well and placing high all season, Clayton Lang and Adam Utsch faced their toughest competition of the season. Both ran well and gained a lot of experience for future competitions.
By the time the final event rolled around, the day had turned warm and sunny. This event, the 4 by 400-meter relay resulted in the fourth event of the day in which Paynesville placed. In a race where two of the teams dipped under the state qualifying standard, Paynesville finished a very satisfying third. Rausch, Johnson, Voss, and Jones were the members of this relay team which won the conference and sub-section meets earlier this season.
Coach Kyle Nehowig was pleased with the outcome of the meet and was proud of his athletes for their perseverence. At the track banquet, held yesterday, the awards for the team were given out. These will be printed in next weekís Press.
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