ST. PAUL - With a steady rain falling Saturday morning, Minnesota State High School League officials decided to conduct pole vault and high jump indoors at Hamline University.
That gave the state an opportunity to see what Brainerd pole vaulter Samantha Smith could do in optimum conditions.
The senior didn't disappoint. She was the first vaulter to clear 10-9, a school record, before missing three times at 11-0. She finished with a bronze medal in the Class 2A state meet. Bryanna Sudman of Eden Prairie won at 11-3.
"It was a lot of fun to finish this well," Smith said. "It was unexpected, very much so."
Brainerd's Samantha Smith walked back to the starting line after a pole vault attempt. Smith finished third in Class 2A.
Her 10-9 height beat the previous school record of 10-8 that she set in 2007.
"I cleared 10-9 on my first attempt, then when it got to 11-0 it started getting harder, obviously, so then I started having some misses," Smith said.
"The competition here is outstanding, as always, so that always pushes you to do your best," she added.
Class 2A state meet
Highlights: Brainerd's Samantha Smith was third in the pole vault and the Warriors' 4x200 relay was third.
After pole vaulting her sophomore year Smith didn't compete in the event last year. She returned this spring, crediting assistant coach Steve Kimble for convincing her to take another crack at it.
"I'm glad Kimble got me back into it this year so I have to thank him," she said.
The Warrior boys' 4x200 relay was at its best outside at Klas Field, despite the wet conditions, also earning bronze medals. Colby Ring, Alex Rahn, Dan Lauer and T.J. Struss were clocked at 1:29.51. White Bear Lake won at 1:28.79.
Alex Rahn (left) handed off to Chris Swanson in the 4x200 relay final. The Brainerd relay team placed third.
Brainerd moved up four spots from the seventh seed.
"It was getting pretty cold," Rahn aid. "We weren't really expecting this type of weather. We got all our handoffs off. Some of the exchange zones we spread them out because (Friday), with the nice weather, we were running up on one another. We were 8/10ths out of first place (in the prelims)."
Five of the nine finalists in the 4x200 ran faster in the finals than in the prelims, despite the conditions.
"I came around the corner and I was a little scared I was going to wipe out," Rahn said. "It wasn't too slippery, but Sartell was saying their first guy was sitting in a puddle in the blocks, but it wasn't too bad running."
Brainerd's 4x100 relay of Colby Ring, Rahn, Chris Swanson and Struss finished ninth.
In the girls' meet, Brainerd's Kelsi Ring was sixth and Madison Smith eighth in the 100 hurdles. Kelsi Ring was 11th in the triple jump.
Emily Van Heel of Little Falls was eighth in the 400 dash and ninth in the 200.
Class 2A boys finals
4x200 relay: 1-White Bear Lake 1:28.79, 3-Brainerd (Colby Ring, Alex Rahn, Dan Lauer, T.J. Struss) 1:29.51
4x100 relay: 1-Andover 42.89, 9-Brainerd (Colby Ring, Rahn, Chris Swanson, Struss) 43.96
Class 2A girls finals
100 hurdles: 1-Colleena Coleman (Robbinsdale Cooper) 14.98, 6-Kelsi Ring (Brd) 15.65, 8-Madison Smith (Brd) 15.83
400 dash: 1-Erica Dombro (St. Paul Highland Park) 56.44, 8-Emily Van Heel (Little Falls) 58.26
200 dash: 1-Paige Kuplic (Prior Lake) 25.45, 9-Van Heel 27.40
Pole vault: 1-Bryanna Sudman (Eden Prairie) 11-3, 3-Sam Smith (Brd) 10-9
Triple jump: 1-Michelle Maciej (Elk River) 37-4.75, 11-Kelsi Ring 34-11.25
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com and at 855-5861.
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