One of the marquee events in this weekend’s Class 2A state track and field meet could be the boys 110-meter high hurdles.
Brainerd’s Jackson Walters, one of the state’s top hurdlers all spring, hopes to get another shot at defending champion Rilwan (Rj) Alowonle of Park of Cottage Grove. Alowonle won the title at 14.46 seconds in 2011 with Walters fifth at 14.98.
Alowonle is the top seed, having run a blazing 13.95 to win a section championship. Walters’ Section 8-2A time was 14.99, which makes him the 13th seed.
“With the exception of the guy leading the pack, the times are pretty close,” Warrior boys head coach Rod Reuer said. “When you look at Jackson’s best time of the season (14.57), if he runs that Saturday it will put him in the mix.
“I don’t think we had a very fast track surface at Detroit Lakes (for the section). All the sprint times were a couple 10ths slower. Based on his best performance of the season, I think he’s going to be in the mix, but obviously it’s a tight field. Second to 13th is a matter of about 3/10ths of a second.”
If Alowonle breaks 14 seconds Saturday he will set the Minnesota all-time record. The current Minnesota mark is 14.06. The national record is 13.10.
“(Alowonle’s) definitely the favorite,” Reuer said. “After that, from second on down, it’s wide open.
“Jackson’s coming back with previous state experience. He had a great state meet last year. He rose from a low seed to finish fifth. He’s very confident. But he’s got to be clean over the hurdles. If he does that, you never know what might happen.”
Walters will be joined at state by six teammates: The 4x200 relay of Grant Reuer, Logan Davis, Nick Oldham and Walters; Jake Kassulker in shot put; Josh Murrey in pole vault and Allison Kosobud in the girls 800 run.
Murrey is tied for the seventh seed (13-5). He finished 12th at state last year.
“He’s been 13-8, which would move him up a couple spots and put him in the middle,” Reuer said. “It’s his second year at state. Hopefully, he’s gotten through the state meet jitters.
“Our goal is to get 14 feet and see where that places us. If you look at the top four to nine, there’s a bunch of 13-11s. Three guys over 15 are way out there. Josh’s goal is to break 14, which should get you a place at the state meet. It would be a good way to cap off his career, setting a school record and placing at state.”
Kassulker’s section throw of 51 feet has him seeded ninth.
“He’s 13 feet behind the leader (Thomas Anderson of Andover), who’s over 68,” Reuer said. “We’re hoping to see him place in the top nine, get an all-state finish out of him, and get the best throw of his career, which would cap off a solid career for him.”
The 4x200 has the 14th seed with a time of 1:31.25.
“We’re kind of at the tail end, but that’s typical going into the state meet,” Reuer said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us there. My hope is we can run well enough Friday to make the finals Saturday. They’re nearly three seconds behind the leader.
“The times this year are just incredible. There are three teams at 1:28, five at 1:29. Those times are way out there.
“That’s what happened in the 4x100 last year. When we got there we were seeded 13th out of 15, but put together a great state meet, and the next thing you know you’re in the finals, and then you’re in the hunt.”
In the girls meet, Kosobud is seeded 12th at 2:16.59.
“It’s going to be an interesting race,” Warrior girls head coach Dan Clabo said. “There are a lot of tight times there.
“I think she can be top eight for sure. She runs a smart race. She’s not going to chase anybody. She just runs her race. I think she will do just fine.
Two Flyers qualify
Luke Pennington of Little Falls and teammate Rachelle LeBlanc will also compete.
Pennington is the 18th seed in the 300 hurdles and is 25th in the 110s. LeBlanc is the 20th seed in girls pole vault.
Boys Class 2A Seedings
110 hurdles: 13-Jackson Walters (Brd) 14.99, 25-Luke Pennington (LF) 15.82
300 hurdles: 18-Pennington 40.50
4x200 relay: 14-Brainerd (Grant Reuer, Logan Davis, Nick Oldham, Jackson Walters) 1:31.25
Shot put: 9-Jake Kassulker (Brd) 51-0,
Pole vault: 7-(tie) Josh Murrey (Brd) 13-5
Girls Class 2A Seedings
800 run: 12-Allison Kosobud (Brd) 2:16.59
Pole vault: 20-Rachelle LeBlanc (LF) 9-10
Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark.