Poor weather hasn't dampened Kaari Jensen's optimism for postseason success.
The Pierz junior is registering times and distances similar to her performances in last year's track and field season.
She won all four of her events April 29 at the Citie Lites/GLSports/Lakes State Bank meet at Pequot. Jensen won the 100-meter hurdles in 17.15, the 300 hurdles in 49.17, the 200 dash in 27.5 and the long jump in 15-feet-5.
"For only the second meet of the season that's pretty impressive," said Pierz coach Craig Johnshoy. "With all the cancellations, doing that well at this point in the season is nice to see. She wants to get back to the state tournament. She's looking to make it in both the 300 hurdles and the long jump."
As a freshman Jensen advanced to state in the 300. Last year she made it in the long jump and finished eighth.
Jensen said the section features quality competition so returning to state won't be easy. She battled a few of those opponents in Tuesday's Section 7-1A True Team meet at Pillager
The five-year varsity athlete won the 200 dash in 27.28 and 300 hurdles in 49.78. She finished second in the 100 hurdles and placed fourth in the long jump.
"At the beginning of the season I had a couple little nagging leg injuries and my times were a little slower than I thought they would be," Jensen said. "Now my legs are feeling better and I'm getting to where I want to be.
"We have had a lot of practices shortened, canceled or held inside. It's been hard to get outside on a good surface, but it's getting better. It's scary to think that the (Central Minnesota) Conference meet is next week. It feels like the season just started."
Sport: Track and field
Position: Sprints, hurdles, long jump
Key stat: Won four events at Pequot Lakes and two in the Section 7-1A meet
The weather hasn't slowed Jensen down any. She still acts in school plays, is a member of the National Honor Society, plays baritone in the band and was a member of the tennis and basketball teams.
What may separate Jensen from many other prep athletes is her mental toughness. Staying positive has also helped.
"About 90 percent of her long jump and hurdles is mental," said Johnshoy. "She has that mental ability to see what she needs to do before she does it. If an athlete can do that and visualize what they need to do it makes them a better track athlete."
Other notable performances:
Golf: Cydney Hasselberg, Staples-Motley, carded 83 to win the Presection Invite.
Melissa Welshons, Aitkin, shot 45 to win a Great River Conference meet at Moose Lake and 48 to win at Sandstone.
Softball: Kayla Youngbauer, Wadena-Deer Creek, went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, three stolen bases and two runs against Upsala.
Jamie Ackerman, Pine River-Backus, was 3-4 with three RBIs against Red Lake and 2-4 with a double and triple against Pequot Lakes.
Alicia Johnson, Verndale, was 6-for-7 with seven RBIs in two games against Sebeka. She was 3-4 with two doubles and four RBIs against Pillager.
Danielle Nelson, Pierz, went 5-5 with a double and four runs and added a single in Game Two against Holdingford and was 2-3 against Howard Lake-Waverly.
Marisa Gessell, Little Falls, struck out five and went 2-for-3 with a triple, two runs and two RBIs against Fergus Falls.
Nicole Bart, Verndale, struck out 12 in a shutout victory over Pillager.
Track and field: Amy Fredman, Pillager, won the shot put and discus at the Pillager Invite.
Katlin Krause, Pillager, won the 200-meter dash and pole vault at the Pillager Invite.
Nicole Kozlowski, Staples-Motley, won the shot put and discus at the Citie Lites/GLSports/Lakes State Bank meet.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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