Austin track has strong showing

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 3, 2002

NORTHFIELD — The Austin High School boys’ and girls’ track and field teams did not win the Section 1AA championship by any means, but the Packers had plenty of reasons to hold their heads high after the final round of the state-qualifying meet Saturday at Carleton College in Northfield.

Austin advanced three boys' individuals to this week's state meet while improving in total team points when compared to last season. The Packer boys placed sixth overall with 45 points -- a far cry from last year’s 30-point performance in which no competitors qualified for state. The girls' contingent nearly tripled its team total, placing 10th out of 17 with 29.5 points. In 2001, AHS finished with just 11 points.

"We're having a good day," Austin boys' coach Tony Einertson said with one event remaining at Saturday's Section finals. "The only time I get to go to state is when we have someone qualify."

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Coach Einertson's daughter's birthday is annually the same weekend as the state meet, so this season Einertson will have a viable excuse. No Packer tracksters -- boys or girls -- advanced to state last year.

James Dammen, Evan Sorenson and Bryan Larson will represent Austin at the state meet at the National Sports Center in Blaine as a result of last week's finals.

Dammen, a junior, placed second in the pole vault competition, clearing 12-feet 6-inches after qualifying at 13-6. The opening height will be set at 12-6 for Friday's 10 a.m. pole vault event. Dammen will be the second of 16 vaulters to make their runs.

"He should have a pretty good showing," said Sorenson, a fellow pole vaulter. "He's maybe ranked second going into state."

Just a sophomore, Sorenson will have an inside track on the 110-meter high hurdles, which will be the fourth race run Friday. Class AA events begin at 10 a.m. Friday, starting with the girls' and boys' 3,200-meter run and the girls' 100-meter hurdles. Sorenson will run in Lane 1 in the first heat. The top two individuals from each heat and the five next best times advance to Saturday's finals, which for the 110-highs will be approximately 11:12 a.m.

Larson, a senior, will have an extra day to prepare for the high jump competition, which begins and ends Saturday. Larson, who cleared 6-3 to finish second at Sections, will jump ninth after the event begins at noon Saturday.

Sorenson ran a personal-best 15.46 to place second at Sections, while Larson tied his career record at 6-3. He also finished third in the 200, clocking in at 22.82.

Adding to Austin's strong showing was Carl Bauer's personal-record effort (4:42.74) in the 1,600, in which he finished seventh Saturday. He also placed 11th in the 3,200 on Thursday.

The 4×200-relay team of Briceson Bryan, Ray Bissen, Dan Goettsch and Larson placed fourth, while Todd Krupicka placed fifth in the discus with a personal-best of 152-feet. The 4×100 team (Bissen, Mike Gravelle, Bryan, Derek Hall) placed sixth.

Girls making strikes

Austin girls' coach Lisa Glynn isn't in a hurry to move her team into the limelight with the likes of Lakeville, but she wouldn't mind it being sooner than later. Saturday showed a step in the right direction as the Packer girls put up a good fight for points throughout the Section finals.

The 4×400 foursome of Sarah Huffer, Kari Loger, Jenny Tucker and Theresa Hirsch ended the meet with a statement, posting the team's season-best relay time of 4:08.55, finishing fifth. The 4×200 team of Loger, Hirsch, Staci and Jenny Tucker missed out on state by two seconds, taking second to Rosemount despite a season-best 1:47.57. The 4×100 team of Megan Seibel, Loger, Lia Middlebrook and Huffer was fourth with a season-best 51.8.

Loger also took sixth individually in the 100, while Hirsch was seventh in the 200 and Jenny Tucker was seventh in the 400. Katie Munk was 10th in the 3,200 and 13th in the 1,600. Molly Thatcher placed 16th in the two-mile. Seibel finished 14th in the triple jump and Emily Johnson was 23rd.