Packers are aiming big at state track and field meet

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Austin state track and field qualifiers include, from left, sprinter Carolyn Hackel, pole vaulter Abby Snater, hurdler Omot Okello and long jumper Jake Hagen-Erickson. -- Rocky Hulne/

The Austin state track and field qualifiers include, from left, sprinter Carolyn Hackel, pole vaulter Abby Snater, hurdler Omot Okello and long jumper Jake Hagen-Erickson. — Rocky Hulne/

The Packer track and field team will be well represented at the Class ‘AA’ state track and field meet at Hamline University in St. Paul Friday and Saturday.

Austin senior pole vaulter Abby Snater and sophomore sprinter Carolyn Hackel already hold AHS school records and they’re hoping to come up with big performances at state. Senior hurdler Omot Okello and senior long jumper Jake Hagen-Erickson are hoping to end their track careers on a strong note.

Snater made it to state in the pole vault as a sophomore, but an injury kept her from completing any vaults. She has vaulted as high as 11-feet, 6-inches in her career and she hit her season’s best mark of 11-3 at the Section 1AA meet on Saturday.

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“I feel a lot better than two years ago,” Snater said. “I have no pulled muscles and I’m not injured. I’m good to go. Being able to have a week of practice will be really nice.”

Snater, who is planning on vaulting at Minnesota State University next year, is seeded third in the pole vault, but Rochester Century freshman Arianna Jacobs is seeded No. 1 at 11-9.

“I’m hoping to either reach (11-6) or go above that. I think it’s a definite possibility,” Snater said. “More than anything, going against good pole vaulters would be a motivation and not discouragement. It’ll just push me to go further.”

This will be the third state meet for Okello, but he’s coming in much healthier than he did last season. Okello will be running in the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles, where he is seeded 11th after failing to reach the finals in the 110s last season.

“I think this is my last race,” said Okello, who plans on attending Riverland Community College in the fall. “I’m not nervous. I just want to make a final. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I don’t care if I’m, second third or fourth. I just want to get there.”

Hagen-Erickson wasn’t even on the track team as a sophomore, but after joining the team as a junior he pushed himself all the way to the state meet this season.

“I was just looking to improve this year,” Hagen-Erickson said. “I set a goal for myself last year that I wanted to get a shot at state. I knew if I went over twenty one feet, I would be close.”

Hagen-Erickson is seeded 17th and he’s mostly looking to enjoy the experience as he hasn’t been to the state track meet before.

“I’m probably more relaxed than all of the rest of the competitors up there,” he said. “My goal was to get there and I’m just going to jump the best I can and see what I can do.”

Hackel currently holds the AHS school record in the 100-meter dash of 12.45 seconds, but she hasn’t matched that time yet this season. Last year she was one place from making it to the finals in the 100-meter dash and she finished 12th in the 200-meter dash preliminaries.

“I feel like I’m ready for the state tournament and I’ve seen these girls twice now at state and at the Hamline Elite meet,” Hackel said. “I think I’m ready for them.”

This year, Hackel is seeded 11th in the 200-meter dash and 21st in the 100-meter dash. She ran her best times at the Hamline meet and is hoping to run well there again on Friday.

“There’s a lot of places I could make excuses, but I’m just going to go out and do my best,” Hackel said. “I shake in the blocks a little bit sometimes and I’m scared of false starting, but at the section meet for the 200 I was ready to go.”

The Class ‘AA’ prelims will take place Friday at 9 a.m. and the finals will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. Hagen-Erickson and Snater will both compete Saturday at 9 a.m.


110-meter hurdles: Austin senior Omot Okello is seeded 20th out of 20 runners with a time of 15.88 seconds. Ben Ojika of Irondale as the fastest qualifying time at 14.49 seconds.

300-meter hurdles: Okello is seeded 11th out of 16 runners with a time of 40.20 seconds. CJ Janu of Spring Lake Park has the fastest qualifying time at 39.02 seconds.

Long jump: Austin senior Jake Hagen-Erickson is seeded 17th out of 25 jumpers with a distance of 21 feet, 1.25 inches. Paul Akintade of St. Paul Highland Park has the furthest qualifying jump at 23-5.5.

100-meter dash: Austin sophomore Carolyn Hackel is seeded 21st out of 21 runners with a time of 12.78 seconds. Wensia Johnson of Alexandria has the fastest qualifying time at 12.03 seconds.

200-meter dash: Hackel is seeded 11th out of 17 runners with a time of 26.05 seconds. Claire Oberle of Holy Family has the fastest qualifying time at 24.77 seconds.

Pole vault: Austin senior Abby Snater is seeded third out of 16 vaulters with a height of 11 feet, 3 inches. Arianna Jacobs of Rochester Century has the highest qualifying vault at 11-9.