Class A state qualifiers ready for action

MARSHALL – Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd’s Alaysia Freetly and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s Jada Carr have the area’s best chance to contend for state titles when the MSHSL Class A Track and Field State Championships begin today at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Freetly, a 1,600-meter runner, owns the second-best time at 5-minutes, 12.90 seconds. She will challenge Redwood Valley’s Kayla Huhnerkoch, who is seeded first at 5:09.35.

She placed fifth in 2013 and 14th in 2012 at the state meet. Huhnerkoch, a junior, was the 2011 state champion and 2012 state runner-up, but failed to qualify for the finals in 2013 due to an injury.

Carr, a long and triple jumper, has the second-best leap in the long jump at 17-feet, 1-inches. She will challenge Central Minnesota Christian’s Danielle Wubben, who is seeded first at 17-4 in the long jump.

Carr’s previous state finals experience has been in the triple jump, where she placed fourth in 2012 and fifth in 2013. She is seeded 13th in the triple jump this season (35-1). Wubben was the 2012 Class A state champion in the long jump after placing seventh in that event in 2011.

Jacinta Roggenbuck, a Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd senior, qualified for the state meet in three different events – the 100, 200 and 400 dashes. She is seeded sixth in the 200 (26.38 seconds), 10th in the 400 (1:00.10) and 20th in the 100 (13.10 seconds).

Roggenbuck placed fourth in the 400 in 2013. A five-time state qualifier, she was a member of Eagles’ state-placing 400 relay team in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd’s Kaitlin Connor is seeded 17th (33-3) in the triple jump. Teammate Rachel Jensen is seeded seventh in the discus (111-4).

Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI’s Morgan Merritt, a senior, has the seventh seed in 300 hurdles (47.43 seconds) and the 21st seed in the 100 hurdles (16.34 seconds). Murray County Central’s Paris Thomas is seeded 22nd in the 100 hurdles (16.41 seconds).

Morgan Citterman, a Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI senior, is seeded 14th in the shot put (34-9). CML’s 3,200 relay team of Leah Jessen, Natalie Dinius, Kalli Jelen and Emily Gillingham is seeded 13th (10:03.36).

A pair of Tracy-Milroy-Balaton high jumpers – freshman Kendra Ludeman and junior Sammie Gervais – made the state cut with heights of 5-1 and 4-11, respectively. Ludeman is seeded in a tie for 11th, while Gervais has the 19th seed.

“I’m excited to advance to state,” Ludeman said. “I’m hoping I’m not as nervous as last year. I know what it’s all about now.”

With the cold, wet spring conditions, many field-event competitors have not reached the heights they had hoped for, but for many of them, including Ludeman, they’re hoping to peak during the state meet.

“I think I could have done better sometimes, but I’m happy overall with my season,” Ludeman said. “It was cold most of the year, which makes it more difficult to jump, but I’m hoping that I can PR at state.”

Ludeman cleared 5-3 to advance to the state meet last year as an eighth-grader, but is two inches shy of her personal record this year.

“It was a good experience up there last year and I’m hoping the weather is nice and everything goes how I want it to this year,” Ludeman said. “My biggest goal is to PR, which would be awesome because I’d probably medal then. I think it’ll be fun.”

Class A Boys

Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI senior Nathan Pavek reached the state meet in three different events – the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the high jump. He is seeded seventh in 300 hurdles (40.51 seconds), 16th in the 110 hurdles (15.74 seconds) and tied for 17th in the high jump (5-11).

For Pavek, a first-time state qualifier in track and field, he seeks to make a lasting impression in his only chance at the state meet.

“A few people have told me that the state meet gives you a huge rush of adrenaline,” Pavek said. “I am excited to be there.”

Pavek said becoming a better athlete this season has taken a lot of dedication.

“I’ve gone to practice, worked hard and listened to my coaches,” Pavek said.

Among Pavek’s rivals in the 110 hurdles is Murray County Central senior Tyler Scotting, who is seeded 21st (15.89 seconds). Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson Boyd senior Joey Lee, who will oppose Pavek in the high jump, is also part of a three-way, 17th-seed tie. Lee also has the 14th seed in the triple jump (42-1).

Wyatt Johansen, a Canby/Minneota/Lincoln HI senior, is the 16th seed in the 3,200 run (10:27.94). Along with Nathan Cooper, McKinley Johansen and Travis Dinius, Johansen is also a member of CML’s 3,200 relay team, which is seeded 10th (8:21.52).

Two more state qualifiers from southwest Minnesota are Wabasso senior T.J. Fulton and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton senior Matt LaVoy. Fulton is the 18th seed in the 100 dash (11.44 seconds), while LaVoy is the 16th seed in the 1,600 run (4:40.78).