ST. PAUL — Two Iron Range athletes will be coming home with state championships after the Class A State Track & Field Meet as Ava Hill retained her 800 meter run girls’ title and Ely’s Luke Olson took home the 800 meter boys’ title.
In the girls’ 800, Hill took off right from the get go and held a lead she would never give up. After the first 400 meters, the Giants junior put some distance between herself and the pack and cruised to victory, winning with a time of 2:13.33, over four seconds faster than her nearest competitor Grace Drietz of Canby/Minneota (2:17.36).
The win gives Hill her third 800 meter title in as many years and she’ll look to make it a four-pete in 2020.
In the boys’ 800 meter run, Ely’s Luke Olson claimed his first state title after clocking in a time of 1:55.48. Olson entered the state meet seeded first, had the fasted time through the preliminary round and led the finals throughout, giving the Timberwolves a state champion in their junior standout.
The Mesabi East girl’s 4x200 meter relay team finished as state runners-up for the second year in a row. The quartet of Hill, Hannah Hannuksela, Kiarra Moehlenbrock and Kora Forsline stopped the clock with a time of 1:44.73. Making it close down the home stretch, they weren’t able to the catch eventual champions from Grand Meadow/LeRoy-Ostrander/Kingsland/Southland, who finished first with a time of 1:44.47.
Virginia eighth grader Cameron Stocke finished up his first state meet with a third place finish in the 1600 meter run. Stocke finished the race with a time of 4:25.54. Stocke also competed in the 800 meter run finals and finished in ninth place with a time of 2:01.07.
Mountain Iron-Buhl’s Jericho Peterson had a strong day in the sprints, taking home fourth in the 200 meter dash and sixth in the 100 meter dash.
In the 200, Peterson managed to edge out a couple spots in the final few meters and finished with his best performance at state with a time of 22.65. In the 100 meter dash, Peterson took sixth with his time of 11.31.
Taking fourth in the boys’ 300 meter hurdles was Mesabi East sophomore Gavin Skelton. Skelton entered the event with the seventh best time but was able to improve upon his seed and cross the finish line at 40.26.
Eveleth-Gilbert junior Natalie Fultz was also in on the 300 meter hurdle action and came home in fifth place after taking fourth a year ago. The Golden Bear junior advanced to Saturday’s finals on Friday and finished with a time of 45.47.
Earning a fourth place finish wasthe Mesabi East girls’ 4x400 meter relay team. After finishing in second last year, the Giants quartet of Moehlenbrock, Lydia Skelton, Forsline and Hill put up a time of 4:02.46 to finish the season as fourth best in the state.
In the high jump, E-G sophomore Josh Creer-Oberstar brought home some hardware after finishing in seventh place. He scratched out at six feet, three inches and his best jump was marked at six feet, two inches.
In the long jump, Mesabi East senior Tyler Baribeau finished in 15th place with a best jump of 18 feet, 11.50 inches, moving up from his initial seed of 17th.
In the relays, the Mesabi East boys 4x400 meter relay team took home 7th place in their final event of the day with Carson Becicka, Cole Meyer, Baribeau and Skelton stopping the clock at 3:32.66. The team entered the day with the ninth best time, improving upon their seed.
The Mesabi East girls’ 4x800 meter relay team finished in 11th out of 17 teams as the team of Forsline, Aaliyah Sahr, Skelton and Bella Thomas crossed the finish line with a time of 9:59.41.
On the boys’ side of the same event, the Ely 4x800 meter relay team finished in 16th place and clocked in with a time of 8:44.99. The team consisted of Jasper Johnston, Dylan Fenske, James Schwinghamer and Emmett Faltesek.
As a team, the Mesabi East girls finished in 8th place overall with 28 points, the highest of any of the local contingents.