Girls 4x200 relay
defends section title, also heads to state
by Jake Andersen
Michael Olowo’s section performance was a sign of just how far he’s come.
Rogers’ sophomore sprinter went from the bottom of the Section 5AA finals leaderboard in the 200- and 100-meter dashes last season to section 200-meter dash champion and 100-meter dash runner-up in a deep field this season.
“I give all glory to God because he’s helped me succeed this whole track season and I’m very happy with how all my hard work has paid off,” said Olowo, who advances to the state track and field meet in both events. “The moment was really special for me because last year I got seventh and eighth in my 200 and 100, and to turn it around this year, qualifying for state in both while being section champion in the 200, is amazing.”
Olowo held off Maple Grove’s Evan Hull and Park Center’s Dominic Feess for the top spot in the 200 on May 31 at Hamline University. Hull and Feess finished .07 and .08 seconds behind Olowo’s first-place time of 21.92 seconds.
In the 100, Olowo was .12 seconds behind section champion Evan Hull with a time of 10.86 seconds, but held on to the second spot by .02 seconds over Blaine’s Brian Obwogi. Olowo posted automatic state qualifying times in both events.
Olowo, who’s been dealing with a hamstring injury, said getting off to good starts was key.
“I felt like my starts in both my races went really well,” he said. “I had a nagging hamstring injury, but all the adrenaline built up and the nice weather really helped me perform well in the races.”
Olowo will be joined at state by junior Kyra Dalluge, who qualified in three events.
Dalluge was section runner-up in the 200- and 400-meter dashes, while becoming a two-time section champion in the 4x200-meter relay with teammates Carlie Heinecke, Alana Walters and Jenny Heilman.
“I am beyond excited to be advancing to state,” Dalluge said. “When I found out I had qualified in all three of my events, I realized that all of the time I put into the offseason and the effort exerted at practice was all done for one reason: state.”
Dalluge highlighted winning another section championship in the 4x200-meter relay, saying it was special to do considering they came in with a low seed time. They finished with a season-best time of 1:44.57, crushing their seed time of 1:47.90, and they’ll look to build on that performance at state, where they finished fourth last season.
In Dalluge’s individual events, she claimed the second spot with plenty of breathing room. She finished the 200 in 25.20 seconds, while finishing the 400 in 57.99 seconds.
“I felt as though my finishes in all three events were particularly strong, which was something I have been struggling with but have focused on fixing,” Dalluge said about what went well in her events.
Dalluge, along with her relay team, will look to keep things going in a positive direction at state, as will Olowo. Both athletes are setting the bar high.
“My goal is to win state in both of my events because if you don’t have that mindset that you’re the best, you’ve failed already,” Olowo said.
“As far as state goes, the goal is to place in all three events, which is definitely possible,” Dalluge said.
Other Rogers athletes to reach the section podium included Alana Walters eighth in long jump), Heinecke (sixth in 100 and 200), Anna Eich (seventh in 1600), Ethan Anderson (third in 1600), Ben McNaboe (seventh in 100) and Jacob Dirschel (sixth in 800).
The girls finished ninth with 45 points, while the boys finished 10th with 37 points.