Solid Tiger track showing at 7AA Finals

Senior Katie Bialka is pictured placing third in the 100-meter hurdles at the May 31 Section 7AA finals. Bialka went on to place second in the 300 hurdles in 48.2 seconds to reach State in that event.  Bruce Strand / Elk River StarNews

Senior Katie Bialka is pictured placing third in the 100-meter hurdles at the May 31 Section 7AA finals. Bialka went on to place second in the 300 hurdles in 48.2 seconds to reach State in that event. Photos by Bruce Strand / Elk River StarNews

Long storm delays turned the May 31 Section 7AA track & field finals into a patience-testing battle, but both Princeton squads turned in good performances. The season will continue for three Tiger girls events as they advanced to this weekend’s Class AA State Meet.

At Wednesday’s prelims where some finals were also held, Taylor Laabs was the first Tiger to secure a State berth when she placed second in the long jump at 16-07.5. Laabs then led off the 4×100 relay on Saturday, running with Anna Oakes, Katie Bialka and Hope Humphrey, to break that foursome’s team record with a first-place time of 49.97 seconds on Saturday.

Bialka next turned her sprint skills on in the 300-meter hurdles where she earned a State berth with a second-place time of 47.2. She also placed third in the 100 hurdles at 16.0, followed closely by Larkin Walter taking seventh at 17.1 and Megan Gourley going eighth at 17.2 in another key event for the Tiger girls.

At the June 6 opening day of State held at the Hamline University facility, Laabs will open with the long jump at 9 a.m. The 4×100 relay will fight for a spot in Saturday’s finals at 10:54 a.m., and Bialka will follow in the 300 hurdles prelims at 11:34 a.m.

Hope Humphrey took the baton from Katie Bialka and headed for a win down the home stretch of the girls 4x100 relay. Joining those two on the State-entrant relay are Taylor Laabs and Anna Oakes after the foursome set a Tiger team record of 49.97 seconds at sections.

Hope Humphrey took the baton from Katie Bialka and headed for a win down the home stretch of the girls 4×100 relay. Joining those two on the State-entrant relay are Taylor Laabs and Anna Oakes after the foursome set a Tiger team record of 49.97 seconds at sections.

“I am extremely proud of our team as all our athletes competed very well and put their best performances down at the section meet,” commented Tiger Coach Tom Ostroot. “Any time an athlete makes the finals is a great accomplishment at this meet, and we had many of those.”

More medalists for the Tiger girls at sections were: Laabs– 3rd in the triple jump (35-09); Oakes– 5th in the 200 (27.3) and 6th in the 400 (1:00.4); Humphrey– 7th in the 100 (13.4); Jesse Peterson– 7th in the shot put (33-03); 4×800 relay of Ashley Urman, Emily Kruschek, Breanna Schultz and Lydia Arens– 6th (10:21.4).

Senior Billy McClay finished one foot from making State in the boys triple jump when he placed third at 41-08.5, tying a school record held by both Mike Casey (1983) and Tanner Palmborg (2014). McClay added a third-place leap of 20-08 in the long jump– a half-inch from State.

McClay also led off the Tiger boys 4×200 relay with Tate Walquist, Luke Warren and Palmborg which broke the 2005 team record by finishing in third place at 1:32.21. Palmborg marked a 23.3 time in the 200 dash to place fourth at Saturday’s finals, and he was sixth in the triple jump at 40-09.

More top-20 placings for the Tiger boys at sections: Palmborg– 10th in the 100 (11.6); Walquist– 9th in the pole vault (11-01); Bailey Carlberg– 13th in pole vault (10-07); Cole Warren– 20th in the shot put (40-01).

Senior Billy McClay tied a Tiger boys’ triple jump team record of 41-08.5, good for third-place at sections. He also led off the 4x200 relay which broke a team record at the Section 7AA finals and placed third in the long jump.

Senior Billy McClay tied a Tiger boys’ triple jump team record of 41-08.5, good for third-place at sections. He also led off the 4×200 relay which broke a team record at the Section 7AA finals and placed third in the long jump.

Additional top-20 placings for the Tiger girls in 7AA: Monicka Baxter– 19th in shot put (30-0); Miranda Janssen– 19th in discus (82-10) & 20th in shot put (29-10); Molly Savage– 17th in triple jump (30-07); Reilee Schepper– 20th in long jump (14-03); Salese Tongen– 12th in pole vault (7-01); Becky Case– 11th in high jump (4-08); Urman– 11th in high jump (4-08); Samantha Swedzinski– 13th in 3200 (12:27) & 15th in 1600 (5:47); Lydia Arens– 19th in 1600 (5:49).

Section 7AA Track & Field  FINAL: Girls) Forest Lake 121, North Branch 81, St. Francis 77, Elk River 73, Andover 63.5, Princeton 55, Duluth East 46, Cloquet 43, Chisago Lakes 40, Grand Rapids 38, Cambridge-Isanti 27, Big Lake 15, Zimmerman 12.5, Hibbing 10, Hermantown 10.  Boys) Andover 90.5, St. Francis 68.5, North Branch 67, Forest Lake 58.5, Elk River 53.5, Cambridge-Isanti 48.5, Cloquet 48, Duluth Denfeld 40, Chisago Lakes 37, Hermantown 36, Grand Rapids 31.5, Zimmerman 29, Duluth East 29, Princeton 26, Big Lake 24, Hibbing 15.

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