Wescott hosts Packer Invite

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 26, 2003

On a clear and sunny Saturday afternoon, the Austin track team hosted the Packer Invitational at the newly renovated Wescott Field. While Mankato East came away with both boys' and girls' overall victories, Austin and Blooming Prairie had a number of impressive individual performances.

The Austin boys ended up second and the girls fifth, while BP finished seventh and sixth, respectively.

"We knew that East would be up there," said AHS boys' coach Tony Einertson, "but we competed well with them and with Mayo and got the second- and third-place finishes we needed to get second overall."

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For the boys, Evan Sorenson had another strong all-around performance for the Packers, winning the pole vault and placing second in both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles. With a properly-sized pole finally arriving this week, he edged teammate James Dammen for the top vault of the day.

"Evan could've gone for a higher vault," said Einertson, "but he felt that it was enough to win and that he should focus on all of his other events."

"I was going up against one of the top runners in the state (Craig Dahl)," Sorenson said of his runner-up finishes. "Plus I got some personal bests, so I'm happy with that."

Steve Salinas finished behind Sorenson in third place for Blooming Prairie.

Carl Bauer put in a good day in the distance events for the Packers, finishing second in both the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.

"We'd talked about taking it easy in the first half of the race," Bauer said, "and today I was able to run negative splits (lower time in second half) in both races."

"Carl was wonderful in both races," Einertson said. "You can just see the strength and smarts he keeps developing as a runner."

In the relays, the Austin 4×200 team of Mike Gravelle, Derek Hall, and Ray and Tony Bissen took second as well, taking three seconds off their previous best after working on handoffs all week in practice.

David Larson added another second-place finish to the Austin tally in the long jump.

Relays lead Packer girls

On the girls' side, Austin got excellent races from both the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams, who finished second and first, respectively.

"Like I'd predicted at the beginning of the year, sprints are our strength, and it was nice to see that we could beat East," said AHS girls' coach Nancy Jones

In winning the event, the 4×200 team of Staci Tucker, Emily Johnson, Jenna Turner and Theresa Hirsch shaved two seconds off their time.

Hirsch also captured the shot put, continuing her rapid improvement in that event.

"I just found out yesterday that I'd be seeded first," Hirsch said. "My throws just keep getting longer and longer each meet."

"Theresa's throwing three feet further this year than she did all of last year," Jones said.

Ingvalson cruises

Blooming Prairie's star hurdler Lisi Ingvalson also came through in fine fashion, winning both the 100- and 300-meter events.

"I felt a lot better today than I have all season," Ingvalson said. "We worked on endurance in practice yesterday and I think it gave me a more positive attitude going in."

Fellow Blossom Andrea Rumpza would have joined her as a dual champion were it not for Mankato East's Megan Lundgren. Rumpza finished second to Lundgren in both the 800 and 1,600, losing out to Lundgren in the latter by only two-hundredths of a second.

"It was a fantastic day for track in Austin," Einertson said. "It's the first big meet we've had here at the new track and we've been getting compliments across the board."

The Packer boys' squad hosts a Big Nine Conference quadrangular on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., while the girls team visits Rochester Mayo for its own four-team meet. Both teams run at Mankato East on Thursday.