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Cambridge-Isanti senior Jacob Ziebarth flew to a state title.
Ziebarth won the high jump at the Class 2A State Championships held at St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday, June 19. And he won handily, clearing 6-7 to beat his nearest competitor by 2 full inches.
“I was super joyful on the podium,” Ziebarth said. “I was just happy for myself, but also for my coaches and for everyone around me.
“I was hoping to PR (personal record), which was 6-8. But I’ll take 6-7 and a state title any day.”
Ziebarth’s best of 6-8 made him the favorite entering the competition, and that created some tension during the meet.
“There was a lot of waiting, so I just tried to stay calm,” he said. “And there was pressure, knowing I had the highest qualifying height. But every time I got to my starting mark, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and went at it.”
Meanwhile fellow senior Ethan Hintermeister nearly joined Ziebarth at those lofty heights.
Hintermeister took second in the state in the pole vault, clearing 14-3 to trail only Wayzata’s Jack Helmich, who cleared 14-6.
“I was hoping to get over 15 feet, but I just couldn’t quite get over 14-6,” Hintermeister said. “That part was a little disappointing, but you can’t get them every time. And I finished second at state, which is great.”
While the senior was hoping to step to the top of the awards podium after finishing seventh as a sophomore in 2019, he was grateful for the opportunity this season.
“It was super-fun to be at the state meet, because it was a great environment,” Hintermeister said. “After not having last season, I was excited about this season. Last year was tough, not having any pole vaulting or track. So this was great.”
Also representing Cambridge-Isanti at the meet was the 4x200 relay of senior Alex Thompson, junior Samuel Mechah, junior Andre Hall and senior Gaven Ziebarth. The relay placed 14th with a 1:32.61 clocking that was nearly a full second faster than its qualifying time.
The Bluejackets placed 13th in the team standings with 22 points.
North Branch’s Toussaint finishes 8th
North Branch senior Harrison Toussaint placed eighth in the 110 high hurdles in the Class 2A meet Saturday with a time of 15.23. And to say that he was happy to stand on the awards podium would be an understatement.
“I’m happy with any [finish] – I was just happy to be here,” he said with a wide smile.
Toussaint placed third in the first heat, then had to sweat out the second heat – which included the higher-seeded hurdlers – to learn his final place.
“My race didn’t go as well as I wanted it to,” he said. “My strategy was really focus on getting leg down [quickly] and keeping on my toes. I changed a lot of start, because I wanted to get out fast.”
While pleased with his finish, the senior said his run at the state meet was “bittersweet.”
“I love the track and field program at North Branch,” Toussaint said. “My coaches are great, my teammates are great – shout out to the other hurdlers!
“I’m glad to be here – it was a great experience to be at state. Medaling was a bonus. I was just glad I got the opportunity.”
Rush City’s Anderson takes 5th in hurdles
Rush City sophomore Nolan Anderson had a simple goal for his appearance in the 110 high hurdles in the Class A meet, which was held Friday, June 18, at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
“I was seeded seventh and finished fifth, so I’m happy with that,” he said.
Anderson, running in the second heat, took fifth with a time of 15.82.
“The start felt off,” Anderson said. “I came out of the blocks well, but over the first hurdle I didn’t get low enough to the hurdle so I ‘jumped’ over it. Then I clipped the second hurdle, but I stayed low and it went better after that.”
Rush City coach Mike Vaughan, while pleased with the result, admitted that it was hard to watch because limited space forced coaches to view events from the stands.
“In a normal meet, I’m right there with [my athletes],” he said. “This was more hands-off, which may be good for the athletes, but it’s really stressful for me as a coach.”
Anderson said the experience will help him grow and improve as a hurdler.
“In warmups it was interesting to talk to the guys,” he said. “We talked about how nervous we all were. My heat was against juniors and seniors, so if I can make it back, I hope to use this experience.
“I learned to not let things get into your head – to just concentrate on running your race.”