ST. PAUL — With entries in 8 of 12 events on the track, there were opportunities to celebrate and lament for the Stillwater boys at the Class AA track and field state meet on June 7-8 at Hamline University.
The Ponies scored in five events to place tied for 18th in the team standings with 17 points. With victories in the last two events conducted, Hopkins overtook Rosemount 78-76 for the team title while Wayzata followed in third with 68 points. Mounds View (59) and Roseville (30) followed in fourth and fifth.
“Like any sports event, you’ve got some good things happen and some not so good things happen,” Ponies coach Scott Christensen said. “We had plenty of both this weekend.”
The highlights include a strong state debut for freshman Thomas Rosengren, who placed fourth in the 400 meters with a time of 49.36. He also contributed a ninth-place finish in the 4x400 relay (3:27.27) with a lineup that also included Matthew Miller, Thomas Meyer and Addison Stansbury.
“It was a good thing,” Christensen said. “It’s a good state, to finish ninth in the 4x400 is just fine with me.”
Rosengren advanced to the finals with the eighth-fastest qualifying time of 50.11, but easily surpassed that in the finals.
“His performance did not surprise me,” Christensen said. “He’s been trending in that direction. He gets the absolute more out of his ability when he needs to.”
Rosengren excelled the second half of the season, including True Team state where he competed in four events for the Ponies.
“He’s been a junior high runner for us and a good one,” Christensen said. “He placed in junior high conference, but who would have thought he’d be fourth in the state? Even six weeks away he wasn’t on our mile relay. He was a 54-second 400-meter runner around the Pony Classic (on April 18). He’s one of the reasons our team has gotten so good since the Pony Classic.”
He said the athletic ability is matched by savvy that extend well beyond his years.
“I need to see his birth certificate, because he acts like he’s about 23,” Christensen said. “He doesn’t act or look like a ninth-grader and his coolness under pressure and this ability to go after it event after event after event is not that of a ninth-grader. It’s highly unusual.”
The Ponies were entered in all four relays and notched their best showing in the 4x100 with Sawyer Seidel, Miller, Ian Doggett and Ty Hawkins placing sixth in a time of 43.15.
Seidel is another budding standout for the Ponies, who just missed qualifying for state in the 100 meters and is also strong in the long jump and high jump.
“An eighth-grader coming out of the blocks in the 4x100, that’s not normal for a Class AA school,” Christensen said.
Hawkins, a junior, finished seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 22.67.
“That was his best time of the year and that’s a second faster than last year,” Christensen said.
Running in the first of two finals races in the 4x800 relay, Braden Hilde, Aiden Kilibarda, Ethan Vargas and Dylan Olson combined to finish 12th in a time of 8:09.71, nearly 19 seconds behind the winning team from Wayzata (7:50.59), which ran in the second heat.
“We had a chance to get a lot of experience for our young runners, which was probably the most important thing we gained from it,” Christensen said. “We also gave our seniors a chance to run in the state meet, which they missed last year due to injuries or not being good enough or whatever.”
Stillwater was in a good position to qualify for the finals in the 4x200 relay, but was disqualified following a botched exchange before the final leg.
“There’s no one to blame, they just clipped heels,” Christensen said.
Stansbury added a seventh-place finish for the Ponies in the 1,600 meters, finishing in a time of 4:19.90. Eli Hoeft of Hopkins won the race in a time of 4:12.67.
Olson and Stansbury were the only Stillwater runners with prior state experience in track. Olson helped the Ponies to a third-place finish in the 4x800 a year ago and Stansbury ran on the team’s third-place 4x800 relay in 2017.
Stillwater senior Shamus Boe also qualified for state in 110 high hurdles. He ranked 21st after the prelims with a time of 15.92 and did not advance to the finals.
Christensen was pleased with the way this season evolved after a slow start due to Mother Nature and the team’s overall performance level.
“Prior to the Pony Classic it was a caterpillar and after the Pony Classic we metamorphosed into a butterfly,” Christensen said. “We came back from about as far as we’ve ever come. To get seventh at True Team state, third in the section and all these events into state is quite an accomplishment for this team.”
Team standings (Top 10)
1. Hopkins 78; 2. Rosemount 76; 3. Wayzata 68; 4. Mounds View 59; 5. Roseville 30; 6. Alexandria 29; 7. Cambridge-Isanti 27; 8. Prior Lake 26; 9. Rochester Century 25; 10. Eden Prairie 24; T18. Stillwater 17.
100 — 1. Drew Olson (Alexandria) 10.71.
200 — 1. Joe Fahnbulleh (Hopkins) 21.21; 7. Ty Hawkins (St) 22.67. Prelims: 6. Hawkins, 22.15.
400 — 1. Julian Wright (DeLaSalle) 48.39; 4. Thomas Rosengren (St) 49.36. Prelims: 8. Rosengren, 50.11.
800 — 1. AJ Green (Eastview) 1:49.93.
1,600 — 1. Eli Hoeft (Hopkins) 4:12.67; 7. Addison Stansbury (St) 4:19.90.
3,200 — 1. Isaac Basten (Buffalo) 9:09.96.
110 hurdles — 1. Josh Sampson (Mounds View) 14.23. Prelims: 21. Shamus Boe (St) 15.92.
300 hurdles — 1. Josh Sampson (Mounds View) 38.11.
4x100 relay — 1. Alexandria, 41.92; 6. Stillwater (Sawyer Seidel, Matthew Miller, Ian Doggett and Ty Hawkins) 43.15. Prelims: 7. Stillwater, 43.13.
4x200 relay — *1. Hopkins, 1:25.58. Prelims: Stillwater (Sawyer Seidel, Matthew Miller, Thomas Rosengren and Ty Hawkins) DQ.
4x400 relay — 1. Hopkins, 3:19.37; 9. Stillwater (Matthew Miller, Thomas Meyer, Addison Stansbury and Thomas Rosengren) 3:27.27. Prelims: 7. Stillwater, 3:25.11.
4x800 relay — 1. Wayzata, 7:50.59; 12. Stillwater (Braden Hilde, Aiden Kilibarda, Ethan Vargas and Dylan Olson) 8:09.71.
Long jump — 1. Dante White (Wayzata) 22-5.
Triple jump — 1. Ian Fosdick (Mahtomedi) 48-1.
Shot put — 1. Maxwell Otterdahl (Rosemount) 64-4.
Discus — 1. Maxwell Otterdahl (Rosemount) 191-4.
High jump — 1. Noah Cvetnic (Chaska) 6-8.
Pole vault — 1. Alec Wittman (East Ridge) 15-0.
* All-time state record