BLAINE -- The showdown was set with the National Sports Center serving as the OK Corral.
Pillager's Laura Pace, the defending 100-meter state champion, was scheduled to line up against Triton's Alex Andrews in the finals at Saturday's Class 1A track and field meet.
Pace and Andrews, who placed third at last year's state meet, posted identical qualifying times of 15.06 in Friday's prelims.
Andrews entered the meet with the top seed time at 15.32 while Pace was behind by a thin line at 15.34. The Pillager junior was excited about facing the toughest challenge of her career in the finals.
"It will be a really good final race," Pace said. "That's how it should be, the top two runners going up against each other for the title. I'm just going to concentrate on what I have to do.
"I know I'll have to push hard, especially with the kind of competition that will be next to me."
Photo by John Pedersen
Defending state champion Laura Pace (center) of Pillager cleared the final hurdle of the preliminary Class 1A girls' 100-meter hurdles Friday. Pace's time of 15.06 tied for fastest with Alex Andrews of Triton and qualified her for the final.
Pace cruised to win her heat in the 100 hurdles but fell short of placing in the top nine in her other event of the day, the 300 hurdles. She said her steps were off and that she went over three or four hurdles with the wrong leg.
Along with the 100 hurdles, Pace went after two state titles Saturday as she also competed in the triple jump, one of her strongest events. She doesn't anticipate any problems when it comes to focusing on each event.
"It is difficult to go between two events," said Pace, "but I know when to focus myself. I know when to get out of hurdles focus and into triple jump focus."
Wadena-Deer Creek's Eric Asfeld also turned in a couple of top performances as he qualified for the finals in the 110 and 300 hurdles. Asfeld blazed to the top time in the 300 hurdles at 39.59 and turned in the second-best time in the 110s at 15.08, just 2/100ths of a second behind Fairmont's Matt Reeve.
Photo by John Pedersen
Wadena-Deer Creek's Eric Asfeld cleared the final hurdle in Friday's 300-meter hurdles race at the National Sports Center in Blaine. Asfeld had the fastest time in the qualifying race at 39.59 seconds and advanced to Saturday's final.
"In the 110s I hit one hurdle, then it seemed like I hit them all," Asfeld said. "But I just had to run through the hurdles. It was a fast race but it wasn't a clean race on my part.
"In the 300s I always try to catch the guy next to me before the first hurdle and I was right on. The guy in lane five came up on me so I had to take off. My steps were right on."
Pequot Lakes' Teddy Lundgren posted a sixth-place finish in the long jump with a distance of 20-11 3/4 and Crosby-Ironton's Ryan Taggart finished seventh at 20-6 1/4, with each winning a medal. S-M's Beau Pilgrim placed seventh in the pole vault at 13-0, also earning a medal.
C-I's Caitlin Robinson and Staples-Motley's Jacque Peterson both tied for eighth place with two other athletes in the high jump at 5-2 to earn medals. Pillager's Peter Fredman placed ninth in the shot put with a toss of 48-4 1/4. Kim Beaman of C-I raced to a ninth-place finish in the 800 run with a time of 2:20.32 and was scheduled to run in Saturday's finals.
Photo by John Pedersen
Crosby-Ironton's Ryan Taggart prepared to land his jump of 20-6 1/4 at the state meet Friday. Taggart's jump was good for seventh place.
Class 1A boys' preliminary results
110 hurdles -- 1-Matt Reeve (Fairmont) 15.06, 2-Eric Asfeld (Wadena-Deer Creek) 15.08
400 dash -- 1-Jesse Posusta (Glencoe-Silver Lake) 49.28, 14-Cody Gravdahl (Pequot Lakes) 52.70
300 hurdles -- 1-Asfeld (W-DC) 39.59
800 run -- 1-David Krueger (Perham) 1:58.31, Bill Monse (Aitkin) DQ
200 dash -- 1-Posusta (G-SL) 22.44, 16-Asfeld (W-DC) 24.18
Shot put -- 1-Creighton Schroyer (Pipestone) 56-5 1/4, 9-Peter Fredman (Pillager) 48-5 1/4
Long jump -- 1-Ted Rud (New York Mills) 21-10, 6-Teddy Lundgren (PL) 20-11 3/4, 7-Ryan Taggart (Crosby-Ironton) 20-6 1/4
Pole vault -- 1-David Gierut (Mankato Loyola) 14-3, 7-Beau Pilgrim (S-M) 13-0
Class 1A girls' preliminary results
100 hurdles -- 1-Laura Pace (Pillager) 15.06, 11-Kaitlyn Jensen (Pierz) 16.12
300 hurdles -- 1-Nikki Schultz (Cedar Mountain) 45.24, 11-Pace (Pillager) 47.77
800 run -- 1-Lexi Jo Heitkamp (Luverne) 2:17.99, 9-Kim Beaman (Crosby-Ironton) 2:20.32, 10-Courtney Robinson (Staples-Motley) 2:20.34
3200 run -- 1-Bria Wetch (Holy Family) 10:51.28, 11-Brittany Brenny (S-M) 11:35.24
Discus -- 1-Lean Kern (St. James) 136-03, 14-Teresa Parker (Pequot Lakes) 100-07
High jump -- 1-Brianna Polus (Caledonia) 5-9, tie-8-Jacque Peterson (S-M) 5-2, tie-8-Caitlin Robinson (C-I) 5-2, tie-17-Parker (PL) 4-10
Next meet -- Class 1A finals at the National Sports Center, Blaine, Saturday.
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5865.
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