BLAINE -- Championship Saturday was exactly that.
Crosby-Ironton's Parker Robinson captured his second straight state title in the high jump, Laura Pace of Pillager dominated the 100-meter hurdles and Josh Smith came from behind to win the 400 dash in the Class 1A state track and field meet Saturday at the National Sports Center.
Robinson, who will jump for Minnesota next year, won the high jump with a leap of 6-foot-6, edging Two Harbors' Roy Levitt. Robinson and Levitt failed to clear 6-7 but since Robinson cleared 6-6 on his first try and Levitt didn't, Robinson won the title.
"I had been jumping horribly this season," said Robinson. "I was nervous early on because I hadn't faced this kind of competition at all this year. But it was nice to have the challenge. Hitting the 6-6 jump with this kind of competition is really nice."
Early on, Robinson struggled to clear lower heights and needed his third attempt to clear 6-2. But after the early problems, the defending champion settled into a groove.
"I think his third jump at 6-2 and the one at 6-6 were his two best jumps," said C-I coach Roger Twigg. "I knew he would get it together and would be OK. He gathered himself together well on the third jump at 6-2. That was his competitive spirit coming through."
As the bar was raised, Robinson got better and better and put the pressure on everyone else.
"The main thing we felt Parker had to do was to clear right away and put the pressure on the rest of the field," said Twigg. "For him to repeat was huge. Being the defending champion, and a Minnesota recruit, he had all the pressure to win. Parker wanted to win this more than everybody else."
Meanwhile, Pace established herself as a force to reckon with in future state meets. Only a sophomore, Pace won the 100 hurdles as she flew to a time of 15.11. She also placed fourth in the triple jump and eighth in the 300 hurdles.
"Everything went as planned," Pace said of the 100 hurdles. "Now I get a couple of more years to show what I can do. Next year I want to get the state record. Pillager may be a small school but that doesn't mean we can't compete."
Smith was one athlete who didn't have any problems showing how he competed by not only winning the 400 but also by placing third in the 200 and helping the S-M 4x200 relay to fifth.
Smith had to come from behind to capture the 400 title, posting a time of 49.13 and beating second-place finisher Pat Leaf of Winona Cotter by 1/100th of a second.
"I got out and ran hard at the start," Smith said. "I got around the (third) curve and just gave it everything I had. Being on the inside lane helped and I was able to catch up to Leaf. We both gutted it out."
Smith's championship run was only the second time this season he ran less than 50 seconds in the 400. Smith picked the perfect time to do so since three other runners did the same.
-- C-I senior Parker Robinson won the Class 1A high jump with a 6-foot-6 leap.
-- Pillager sophomore Laura Pace won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.11.
-- Staples-Motley's Josh Smith won the 400-meter dash in 49.13.
"I didn't realize that many guys would drop the kind of time they did," said Smith. "It was a talented group and I just had to make sure that no one got too far out ahead of me."
Class 1A finals results
4x800 relay -- 1-Perham 8:00.55, 6-Staples-Motley (Chad Brever, Jake Belanger, Dan Freeman, Dan Huebsch) 8:20.97
1600 run -- 1-Chris Erichsen (Kingsland) 4:15.71, 5-Joe Radinovich (Crosby-Ironton) 4:24.97
400 dash -- 1-Josh Smith (S-M) 49.13
300 hurdles -- 1-Mike Linnemann (Melrose) 39.06, 5-Eric Asfeld (Wadena-Deer Creek) 40.38
200 dash -- 1-1-Alexander Robinson (DeLaSalle) 22.52, 3-Smith (S-M) 22.90
4x200 relay -- 1-Hermantown 1:28.93, 5-S-M (Dylan Huss, Josh Anderson, Derek Peterson, Smith) 1:31.13
3200 run -- 1-Chad Janiszeski (Canby/Minneota) 9:33.07, 6-Chad Brever (S-M) 9:50.04
Triple jump -- 1-Ted Rud (New York Mills) 44-9 1/4, 7-Ryan Taggart (C-I) 42-2 1/2
High jump -- 1-Parker Robinson (C-I) 6-6
Class 1A girls finals results
4x800 relay -- 1-Cedar Mountain 9:26.83, 3-Staples-Motley (Courtney Robinson, Britta Binek, Hannah Landecker, Steph Jares) 9:40.85
100 hurdles -- 1-Laura Pace (Pillager) 15.11
4x200 relay -- 1-St. Paul Academy 1:43.96, 6-S-M (Abby Palmer, Binek, Amy Freeman, Jacque Peterson) 1:48.32
1600 run -- 1-Nikki Swenson (Lac qui Parle Valley) 4:57.40, 9-Jamie Talberg (Pierz) 5:18.21, 10-Brittany Brenny (S-M) 5:20.43
300 hurdles --1-Abby Lien (St. Cloud Cathedral) 44.83, 8-Pace (Pillager) 47.73
800 run -- 1-Gabriele Anderson (Perham) 2:14.14, 5-Kim Beaman (Crosby-Ironton) 2:18.79, 6-Jares (S-M) 2:20.17
4x400 relay -- 1-St. Paul Academy 3:58.16, 6-S-M (Robinson, Jares, Peterson, Palmer) 4:06.46
Triple jump -- 1-Shanna Dawson (Fairmont) 36-3 1/4, 4-Pace (Pillager) 35-5 3/4, 6-Flecia Foster (Pequot Lakes) 34-10 3/4
Pole vault -- 1-Courtney Wagner (Byron) 10-9, 6-Kelsey Griffith (S-M) 10-0, 7-Binek (S-M) 10-0
TROY GUNDERSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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