Joe Fahnbulleh

Joe Fahnbulleh (right) of the Hopkins High boys track team holds off teammate Jaylen Champion to win the 400-meter dash Saturday, April 20, at Edina’s Kuhlman Field. (SUN STAFF PHOTO by John Sherman)

Super Joe runs a super race for Hopkins

By John Sherman

It seems as if nothing is going to stop Hopkins High senior Joe Fahnbulleh from winning All-American recognition this season.

Even when he steps outside his comfort zone, Super Joe is destined to win, as he proved during Hopkins’ 86.5 to 58.5 victory in a dual meet Saturday, April 20, at Edina.

Fahnbulleh lined up for the start of the 400-meter dash and took the lead from the start. Even though he is more comfortable in the 100 and the 200-meter events, the 400 looked easy for him.

Teammates Sam Leervig and Jaylen Champion were on his heels at the end, but catching Fahnbulleh from behind is virtually impossible.

“I know I will be running the 400 in college at Florida next season,” Fahnbulleh said. “Coach Mike Holloway trains runners to be athletes, and he has two of his guys running 45 seconds in the 400.”

How was Saturday’s race for Fahnbulleh?

“I felt strong and I had a challenge from my best friends, Jaylen and Sam,” he said. “We want to do what we did today all year.”

Wayzata is favored to win the state Class AA title this year, with most of its championship team returning from last year. However, Hopkins also has a veteran team with vast depth and resources.

The Royals showed up strong in almost every area during the dual meet Saturday at Edina.

Wyatt Lubarski won the high jump with a best of 5-10 and moved closer to 50 seconds in the 400, as well, while Ashton Brown took the 100-meter dash in 11.60 seconds, James Klecker won the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 41.80 and Niko Schmanski finished first in the 3,200 in 10:24.

Fahnbulleh cruised to victory in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.45.

Yakob Ekoue had a big day in the throws, taking the shot put with a best of 49 feet, 9 inches and the discus with a best of 138-9.

George Jackson’s long jump of 21 feet, 6 and 3/4 inches was the best of the day, and so was Champion’s 39-1 and 1/2 triple jump.

Edina had its share of success in the dual meet, mainly in the distance and hurdles events.

Willem Gokemeijer, one of the Hornets’ senior leaders, won the 800 in 2:03.59. And the Hornets also took first place in the 1,600 with Lucas Selman running 4:41. Matt Nissen of Edina won the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.84.

It will be interesting to see how Hopkins matches up with Wayzata in the big meets later this spring. Both teams have a great chance to qualify for the State True Team Meet, which Wayzata won last season.

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