Two R-P/H tracksters qualify for state meet

TCR/CRAIG JOHNSON Junior Triton Meldahl finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles and will be advancing to the state meet.

TCR/CRAIG JOHNSON Sophomore Luke O’Hare, left, grabbed two second-place finishes in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs at the section meet to advance to the MSHSL State Meet this weekend at Hamline University.
By : 
Scott Bestul
One distance star and one standout hurdler will represent the green and gold at the MSHSL State Track & Field Meet this weekend. Sophomore Luke O’Hare grabbed a pair of second-place finishes in the 1600- and 3200-meter runs at the Section 1A meet last week to advance. Junior speedster Triton Meldahl finished second in the 110-meter high hurdles and will join O’Hare at the Hamline University track. 
While no R-P/H girls advanced, the team enjoyed several standout performances and broke two school records in the process. 
Boys’ results 
O’Hare got things started right for the R-P/H boys, placing second in the 3200-meter in one of the few finals held on Tuesday evening. O’Hare, who ran a personal-best (9:55.20), was in the hunt for the gold medal throughout the race and was only narrowly beaten by Stewartville senior Alexander Lawrence (9:54.93).
 O’Hare was right back in the title hunt in Thursday’s 1600-meter race, where he ran another personal best (4:35.20) to place second and advance to state. The last time R-P/H had an entrant at the state meet in both the 1600- and 3200-meters was in 2014, when Austin O’Hare–Luke’s brother–pulled off that double. 
R-P/H has not sent a 110-meter hurdler to the state meet since Brian Hatlevig made the trip in 1992, but Meldahl had something to say about that long drought. In Thursday’s 110-meter trials, Meldahl clocked a 16.10 and was seeded fourth for the Thursday final. But the speedster ran 15.73 in the finals to place second, only .31 behind PEM senior Jacob Munsch. Meldahl was one of only two juniors in that final, so next spring should be promising for him. In the 300-meter hurdles, Meldahl placed fourth, his time of 42.23 only a half-second behind Triton senior Dylan Maas’ winning time (41.73). 
In other boy’s action, freshman phenom Brady Gile placed eighth in the 100-meter dash final, running 11.72. Gile fared even better in the 200-meter dash, where he clocked a 23.90 to place sixth. In the 800-meters, junior Ricky Buchanan placed seventh, covering the two-lap race in 2:05.13. Freshman distance standout Tyler Rislov turned in a fine 10:32.68 to place 11th in the 3200-meters Tuesday evening, then came back Thursday to clock a 4:53.76 in the 1600-meters, good for seventh place.  
The R-P/H boys qualified only one relay for the section meet. The 4 X 200 squad of Nick Schmitz, Alex Van Gundy, Wyatt Walters, and Riley Koop teamed up to run a 1:38.30 in the prelims Thursday. That time was good enough for 10th in the 13-team field, but only eight teams advanced to the final. 
R-P/H brought a talented field events squad to the Section Meet, but they had all they could handle against some fine athletes. Five high jumpers qualified for the state meet by meeting the 6’-03” standard in the finals, while R-P/H’s Alex Van Gundy (5’-07”) tied for 10th, and John Luhmann (5’-07”) was right behind him in 12th. Luhmann came back to place 16th in the pole vault with a vault of 10’-03”. Trojans’ long jumpers were right in the thick of that event; Meldahl placing fourth (21’-00.5”), Van Gundy seventh (19’-07.5”) and Gile landing in 12th (18’-09.75”). In the triple jump, Gile leapt 42’-00” to place third, and Meldahl landed in eighth (40’-11”). 
Ben Weiser was the lone R-P/H entrant in the throwing events. The talented sophomore placed 10th in the shot put (45’-00”), where he was one of only three 10th-graders to make the 16-man final. Weiser was ninth in the discus with a toss of 125’-06”. The R-P/H boys tied for fifth in the team standings with 67 points. Pine Island took the team title (125), followed by Stewartville (86), PEM (83), and Lewiston-Altura (79). 
Girls’ results 
While the R-P/H girls didn’t qualify anyone for state, they had plenty to celebrate. Eighth grade standout Brielle Rasmussen broke the middle school record in the 200-meter dash for the second time this season; her time of 26.91 in the Thursday final was good for sixth place. Rasmussen also owns the middle school record (13.28) in the 100-meters, so the future looks bright for this young speedster. 
Rasmussen was also part of the 4 X 200 relay team that broke a 12-year old school record at the section meet. Senior Kjersta Hinz finished a fine track career by running the lead-off in that race, followed by Rasmussen, junior Jenny Albrecht, and sophomore Allison Papenfuss; the quartet placed fourth in the finals and clocked 1:48.53. That time eclipsed an R-P/H record that had stood since 2006.  
In other Trojans action, Papenfuss ran 27.35 to place ninth in the 200-meter prelims, just missing the finals by .22 seconds. The 4 X 100 relay squad of Hinz, Kaitlyn Bieberdorf, Alyvia Eide and Papenfuss clocked a 53.46 to place 10th in the 12-team prelims. Hinz leapt 4’-08” to place 10th in the high jump, while Emma Geiwitz was 11th in the long jump (14’-02”) and Bieberdorf placed 12th (13’-10”). Geiwitz came back to place third in the triple jump; her leap of 34’-02” was only four inches shy of a trip of a trip to state. 
R-P/H throwers Kaleah Davis and Jenny Albrecht held their own in a talented field of shot-putters; Davis placed fourth in the final (34’-11”) and Albrecht was 10th (32’-06”). Davis came back to take eighth in the discus, with a toss of 100’-03”. 
The R-P/H girls placed 13th in a 26-team field, scoring 26 points. Stewartville claimed the team title (88 points), while Rochester Lourdes (77), GMLOK (71), LFCM (67), and Lake City (66) rounded out the top five. 
The MSHSL State Track & Field meet will be held Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, at Hamline University. On Friday, Meldahl will run the prelims of the 110-meter hurdles at 3:40 p.m., and   O’Hare will run the 3200-meter final at 6:40.
On Saturday, Meldahl will run the 110 hurdles final at 4:26 p.m., while O’Hare will square off in the 1600-meter final at 5:28. For more information on the meet, visit the MSHSL website.