June 7, 2023 at 3:55 p.m.
Streeters earn team title at Section 5A meet
Winning the section championship has long been a goal for the Sauk Centre Streeters boys track and field program, especially for a talent-filled senior class that helped guide the team to top-three section finishes in each of the past two seasons.
In 2023, this landmark accomplishment was finally achieved, as the Streeters piled up 96.5 points to eclipse state true team winner Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted by three points, taking first place in the Section 5A Championships May 31 at St. John’s University in Collegeville and sending six of their accomplished upperclassmen to the Class A Minnesota State High School League Track and Field State Meet in the process.
“It was a huge moment for all of us,” said Nathan Lahr, a member of Sauk Centre’s state-bound 4x400-meter relay. “We had to do a victory lap, of course. We were all just ecstatic. It has been a great season just leading up to that, and that has been the pinnacle so far.”
Sauk Centre and HLWW had split a pair of previous battles of the top of the leaderboard, but the Streeters’ depth shone strong in taking home first on a hot day at Clemens Stadium. Jeric Schloegl, Lahr and Ben Anderson all landed in the top six in the triple jump to earn the Streeters 14 points as Sauk Centre placed an athlete or relay on the podium in 15 of 18 possible events.
This balance was achieved not only through sheer talent and numbers, but with exhausting, yet fulfilling, effort.
“We all put in a lot of work,” said Corey McCoy, a senior thrower headed to state in the discus. “We were all getting on each other. If we saw someone holding back a little, we would push them. We always made practices fun. It wasn’t just hard work; it was fun work.”
Nobody has exemplified this drive and passion more than the team’s upperclassmen, who catapulted the program to new heights. Brandon Kampsen took home the top spot in the 1,600 at 4:30.37 and set a new 5A record in the 800, hustling to a 1:54.72 first-place finish.
“I didn’t think I was going to get that,” said Kampsen, the top-seeded Class A 800 runner heading into the state meet. “I was more just shooting for the win after that hot mile. When I got it, it kind of shocked me because I didn’t even expect to get that low. It was definitely exciting.”
Kampsen was also the final runner for an all-senior 4x400 relay – which included Reese Blondin, Derick Sorenson and Lahr – that has been accustomed to winning the event all spring. However, the section event was their toughest test yet by far, as it featured three other relays whose seed time put them under the state cut. The Streeters dropped underneath that time requirement at 3:28.74, taking fourth place. Despite this, the four runners were disappointed upon seeing their time flash up on the scoreboard, as they came up just short of setting a new program record.
“I felt confident that we were going because of our time,” Sorenson said. “I was actually disappointed we didn’t get the school record, because we were 0.1 seconds off. It was a mix of emotions because we’re going to state, but we were that close (to the record).”
While the track events have often stole the show for the Streeters, McCoy garnered section attention through an excellent end of his final high school season, culminating in a second-place 129-foot, 7-inch toss in the discus throw that extended his season. The hardworking senior has eclipsed 127 feet in four consecutive meets.
“It is a great experience,” McCoy said. “Every senior dreams of closing out at state. To actually be doing it is a dream come true.”
Others missed out on qualifying for state but still ended their springs with a lot to like. Owen Christians, Jacob Drevlow and Jeric Schloegl took fourth in the pole vault, 3,200 and 100, respectively, while the 4x100 grouping of Schloegl, Zander Kuhlmann, David Gilmore and Alex Helgeson missed the state cut by .4 of a second in recording a third-place performance.
“I think that recruiting is one of the strong suits,” Blondin said. “We have a tightly-knit track community and everybody is friends. It allows more people to come out for track and we get better numbers.”
After the Streeters received their trophy, the team immediately moved over to the track for a victory lap, a tradition that began at the West Central Conference Championships May 16. Additionally, the program stopped for ice cream at Oak Station Coffee & Cone in Freeport, a reward for what stands out as a historic day for Sauk Centre track and field.
“I think this is one of – if not the best – track team we’ve had in Sauk Centre,” Blondin said.
The Class A state meet kicks off with preliminaries at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael.
Team scores: 1. Sauk Centre 96.5, 2. Howard Lake-Waverly Winsted 93.33, 3. Cathedral 75.33, 4. Pierz 71, 5. Holdingford and Eden Valley-Watkins 47, 7. East Central 43, 8. Maple Lake 42, 9. St. John’s Prep 39, 10. Minnewaska Area 37.5, 11. Royalton 25, 12. Upsala/Swanville 23, 13. Rush City 16.33, 14. Hinckley-Finlayson 16, 15. Northwest Nighthawks 15, 16. St. Cloud Christian 6, 17. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 5, 18. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa 2, 19. Paynesville and Ogilvie 1.
Individual results: 100: 4. Schloegl 11.53 seconds and 6. Helgeson 11.71. 200: 6. Gilmore 24.26 and 9. Helgeson 24.41. 400: 4. Blondin 52.74, 7. Sorenson 54.33 and 10. Zander Olmschenk 55.53. 800: 1. Kampsen 1:54.82 and 15. Lahr 2:19.31. 1,600: 1. Kampsen 4:30.37 and 15. Jackson Kerfeld 5:13.31. 3,200: 4. Jacob Drevlow 10:34.94 and 11. Logan Wiehoff 11:17.45. 110 hurdles: 6. Aaron Kerfeld 16.28. 300 hurdles: 6. Aaron Kerfeld 43.21, 10. Spencer Marthaler 44.69 and 16. Anderson 48.68. 4x100: 3. Schloegl, Kuhlmann, Gilmore and Helgeson 44.64. 4x400: 4. Blondin, Sorenson, Lahr and Kampsen 3:28.68. 4x800: 4. Olmschenk, Wiehoff, Drevlow and Devin Crawford-Klinnert 8:43.96. High jump: 5. Andrew Drevlow 5 feet, 8 inches and 14. Jacob Robischon 5-6. Pole vault: 4. Christians 10-11. Long jump: 8. McCoy 19-9 1/4 and 15. Anderson 18-0 1/2. Triple jump: 3. Schloegl 41-0 1/4, 4. Lahr 40-7 3/4 and 6. Anderson 39-9 3/4. Shot put: 11. Carter Schuster 39-3 1/2. Discus: 2. McCoy 129-7 and 10. Schuster 112-0.