ST. PAUL — It was a record-setting state meet to cap a remarkable season for the Stillwater girls’ track and field team, which finished fourth in the Class AA team standings with 44 points on June 8-9 at Hamline University.
Rosemount edged Alexandria 71.75-70 for the team title while Edina followed in third place with 60 points.
“I think we had a fairly good meet,” Ponies coach Dawn Podolske said.
Asked if the fourth-place finish at MSHSL state was the best she would remember in her 35 seasons as head coach, Podolske couldn’t recall one that was better. The Ponies also placed third at True Team state.
“No, probably not ever,” Podolske said. “I never really look at the team standings at state, but this whole season has really been just an awesome season and the best I’ve had at Stillwater as far as wins and doing well at True Team state and our sections. We did so well. It’s just been one of those seasons that started strong and we just got better and better. It was just one of those seasons, really unforgettable. It was a lot of fun.”
Ana Weaver crushed a long-standing Stillwater school record while placing second in the 3,200 meters on Day 1 of the state meet. The sophomore crossed the line in 10:40.19, which was just two seconds behind Rosemount’s Lauren Peterson (10:38.03).
Weaver’s time bettered the previous school record of 10:51.64 set by Marta Wilson in 1978 — more than four decades ago.
Weaver followed with a fourth-place finish in the 1,600 meters with a time of 5:04.18. Peterson also won the 1,600 meters in a time of 4:52.69.
“Ana Weaver did a really great job,” Podolske said. “Both of those were PRs and the two-mile is No. 1 on the all-time list by about 12 seconds so she blew that one away. The improvement she’s made this entire year is just huge, starting with cross country and coming into this track season. She’s really been on a roll this last month.
“She kind of got boxed in during the 1,600. To be second at state in the two mile and fourth in the mile, it’s a pretty tough double.”
Alexis Pratt enjoyed a record-setting state meet in her third events, which included the 4x100 relay.
The sophomore joined Micaela Engebretsen, Heather Wiehe and Sara Scalia, a University of Minnesota basketball recruit who along with Pratt helped lead the Ponies to a runner-up finish at state in basketball this past winter, in finishing second in the 4x100 relay with a time of 48.91.
Only first-place North St. Paul ran faster, turning in a time of 48.24.
The Ponies set the school record when they were clocked at 48.54 in prelims.
Pratt also set two individual school records during prelims after running 12.05 in the 100 and 24.78 in the 200. She placed fourth in the finals of the 100 meters with a time of 12.38 and added a fifth-place finish in the 200 with a time of 25.28.
“She had a great meet, starting with 4x100 and the open 100 and 200,” Podolske said. “It was so fun to watch that 4x100 with Alex, Heather and the two seniors. It was a great way to end their careers at Stillwater. Sara on her leg made up a lot of places to get second. It was fun to watch.”
Senior Madeline Fretag, a Minnesota State University - Mankato recruit, placed fourth in the discus (129-5) and ninth in the shot put (38-8) to earn all-state honors in those events.
Fretag is the school record holder in the discus with a distance of 132-0.
“Madeline did a real nice job,” Podolske said. “She had a great season and it was just a great competition, and it was the same for the discus.”
Senior Corrie Hale placed 13th in two events for the Ponies, finishing at 16-5 in the long jump and clearing 10-6 in the pole vault. She ends her stellar career as the team’s record holder in both events, with a distance of 18-1 1/2 in the long jump and height of 11-9 in the pole vault.
Stillwater also featured two entries in the triple jump. Senior Belana Hillmann, a foreign exchange student from Germany, finished 10th with a best jump of 35-7 3/4. Freshman Nora Wilcek placed 16th with a best jump of 33- 1/2 in her first state meet.
“Belana was a huge asset for us,” Podolske said. “She’s a sweet girl and it was really nice having her. We knew it would be hard for both to make it to the finals, but it was still a really great experience, especially for the ninth-grader. It was all positive.”
Podolske is proud of the athletes and also the assistant coaches who helped get the Ponies up to speed and on track this season.
“It’s just a great group of kids and I think I work with some of the best, if not the best, coaches,” Podolske said. “They are willing to put in a ton of work and really support these kids. I’m just really happy with the coaches I get to work with.”
Team standings (Top 10)
1. Rosemount 71.75; 2. Alexandria 70; 3. Edina 60; 4. Stillwater 44; 5. Wayzata 43; 6. White Bear Lake 39; 7. North St. Paul 38; 8. Northfield/ARTech 31; 9. Minnetonka 30; 10. Roseville 28.
100 — 1. Shaliciah Jones (North St. Paul) 11.90; 4. Alexis Pratt (St) 12.38. Prelims: 2. Pratt, 12.05.
200 — 1. Shaliciah Jones (North St. Paul) 24.44; 5. Alexis Pratt (St) 25.28. Prelims: 3. Pratt, 24.78.
400 — 1. Claire Howell (Moorhead) 55.39.
800 — 1. Elizabeth Acheson (Northfield/ARTech) 2:12.18.
1,600 — 1. Lauren Peterson (Rosemount) 4:52.69; 4. Analee Weaver (St) 5:04.18.
3,200 — 1. Lauren Peterson (Rosemount) 10:38.03; 2. Analee Weaver (St) 10:40.19.
100 hurdles — 1. Evelyn Adams (Edina) 14.39.
300 hurdles — 1. Erika Townley (White Bear Lake) 43.08.
4x100 relay — 1. North St. Paul, 48.24; 2. Stillwater (Micaela Engebretsen, Alexis Pratt, Heather Wiehe and Sara Scalia) 48.91. Prelims: 2. Stillwater, 48.54.
4x200 relay — 1. Minnetonka, 1:42.08.
4x400 relay — 1. Rosemount, 3:51.89.
4x800 relay — 1. Minnetonka, 9:20.54.
Long jump — 1. Annie Wendt (Rochester Mayo) 18-8 1/2; 13. Corrine Hale (St) 16-5.
Triple jump — 1. Samantha Barrett (Prior Lake) 38-2 1/4; 10. Belana Hillmann (St) 35-7 3/4; 16. Nora Wilcek (St) 33- 1/2.
Shot put — 1. Mya Lesner (Alexandria) 43-1 1/2; 9. Madeline Fretag (St) 38-8.
Discus — 1. Michaela Hawkins (Roseville) 156-0; 4. Madeline Fretag (St) 129-5.
High jump — *1. Madison Schmidt (Blaine) 5-10.
Pole vault — 1. Char Morke (Cambridge-Isanti) 12-4; 13. Corrine Hale (St) 10-6.
* All-time state record