The Mayer Lutheran track and field team sent 15 athletes down to Mankato Saturday for the Section 2A Track and Field Championships, and while the season came to an end for the Crusaders, they put together a strong showing that included four personal records (PRs).
“I’m pretty proud of our team,” said Anika Jilek. “I’m pretty proud of what we did. I feel like everyone tried their best and did well today.”
Jilek was one of the Crusaders that set a personal record, taking fifth in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 51.89 seconds. Jilek was also a part of the 4x100 relay team (with Sophia Morshen, Carly Tuttle and Julia Carns) and competed in the long jump.
“I PR’d in my 300 hurdles, so I would say that was pretty good, I’m proud of that,” she said. “Long jump - not to great but in the 4x100 we did better than I expected.”
Jilek’s PR in the hurdles at the section championships comes at one of the few large meets this season, as most competitions were limited to three or four teams.
“It was less competition and harder to tell where you matched up with others, it’s harder that way,” Jilek said.
Blake Aurich also reveled at the chance to compete with more athletes, setting personal records in both the pole vault and the triple jump.
“I feel good about the vaulting - a good day and good opponents,” he said.
Aurich leapt 38 feet, 3 inches in the triple jump to take sixth, then cleared 11-1 in the pole vault for fourth. The sophomore set his personal record a couple times Saturday, coming a long way from the start of this season.
“I improved a lot going from 7-6 to 8, all the way up to 11,” he said. “It was a lot of improvement this year. That was my main goal - personal work.”
Aurich put in a lot of hard work this year and got a boost from a good coach.
“The first thing is my grandpa - he coaches college pole vault too, so he helps me out a lot,” Aurich said. “I really like pole vault and I try to commit to it to try to do my best - lots of practice and commitment of my time to pole vaulting. It’s one of my favorite sports.”
Dylan Nelson also had a standout performance competing in the 100 and 200 meter races.
“[I did] better than I expected because there is a lot of good competition here, so it was kind of hard to keep myself in higher places,” Nelson said.
In his first year participating in varsity track and field, Nelson was fractions of a second away from qualifying in both the 100 and 200 with third-place finishes.
“I think I’m pretty fast overall,” Nelson said of his first-year success. “Getting into track, maybe I was getting my track speed a little better, so as the year went on, I got progressively faster.”
And while the season ended for the Crusaders that day, it was a nice celebration after an up and down year. The section championships looked pretty close to what life looked like before the COVID pandemic, and 15 Crusaders got to show off their skills and hard work in front of a large crowd.
“It’s pretty awesome because were finally starting to get back to normal,” Nelson said. “[And sending 15 athletes to the championships] says we’ve got a pretty good program and good coaches. We work really hard in practice and want to get better. Definitely next year we’re going to try to get some state qualifiers.”
GIRLS 400 METER DASH
1:08.49 Olivia Shimanski 13
GIRLS 100 METER HURDLES
19.04 Brooke Sauter 13
GIRLS 300 METER HURDLES
51.89 Annika Jilek 5
56.31 Carly Tuttle 14
GIRLS 4X100 METER RELAY
55.08 Anika Jilek, Sophia Morshen, Carly Tuttle, Julia Carns 7
GIRLS LONG JUMP
14-6.5 Annika Jilek 11
14-3 Sophia Morschen 13
88-11 Lydia Parrish 14
GIRLS SHOT PUT
29-6.5 Lydia Parrish 16
BOYS 100 METER DASH
11.75 Dylan Nelson 3
12.52 Justice Shimanski 12
BOYS 200 METER DASH
24.22 Dylan Nelson 3
BOYS 800 METER RUN
2:11.79 Sam Olsen 9
BOYS 1600 METER RUN
5:04.12 Zachary Nelson 10
BOYS 4X100 METER RELAY
48.09 Justus Shimanski, JT Taylor, Blake Aurich, Dylan Nelson 6
BOYS TRIPLE JUMP
38-3 Blake Aurich 6
BOYS POLE VAULT
11-1 Blake Aurich 4