June 14, 2023 at 6:16 p.m.

Kampsen repeats record runs

Kampsen repeats record runs
Kampsen repeats record runs

By Evan Michealson- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Sauk Centre boys track and field succeeds at state

After winning the Class A cross-country state championship, Sauk Centre High School senior Brandon Kampsen turned his attention to the next stage of his unfinished athletic business: winning the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the Class A Minnesota State High School League State Track and Field Championships.

Kampsen managed to accomplish just that on a historic day of running, capturing a pair of first-place medals at the state meet June 8-9 at St. Michael-Albertville High School in St. Michael. 

“My legs are feeling like fried chicken; that last 100 (meters) of the 800 was just brutal,” Kampsen said at the conclusion of the Class A finals schedule. “But, I’m very proud to represent Sauk Centre today by bringing home two state championships.”

While being the surefire favorite throughout the entirety of the cross-country season and in the 800, Kampsen was not the immediate nod to win the 1,600; after all, he possessed the fifth-lowest seeding time in the event entering the state championships. However, after staying within striking distance for the first three quarters of the race, Kampsen sped ahead in the final lap of the mile-long competition to win first place, shattering Rob Miller’s 31-year-old Sauk Centre program record with a 4-minute, 18.5-second outing. 

“I just made sure that I was up there, but not leading,” he said. “I like to take them the last 200-400 meters, because I have that 800-meter kick in me compared to that two-mile. It didn’t feel easy, but I’m glad how I played it out and raced it.”

And just over an hour later, Kampsen returned to the track with eyes on capturing the top spot in the 800, an event he finished second in at the 2022 meet and in the preliminary race 24 hours earlier. Boasting his unmatched mix of stamina and acceleration, the determined Kampsen was never threatened, seizing a gold medal with a 1:53.56 mark. 

“I learned I needed to go out fast,” Kampsen said. “There were a lot of 400 runners and a lot of people who didn’t have a previous event. I knew if I left it up to the final 200 meters, I was a goner. I made sure to go out plenty fast today.”

While Kampsen alone stood atop the podium to receive both medals from Sauk Centre superintendent Don Peschel, concluding his decorated career with a pair of championships was accomplished with the help of so many others along the way. There is the loving support of parents Curt and Christine, the coaching of Jim Metcalf and the friendships formed with his cross-country and track and field teammates. 

Through these important figures in his life, Kampsen found what made him successful, and stresses the importance of doing so in the time you have.

“Find your niche and stick with it,” Kampsen said. “You don’t have to focus on just one event; you can be a one- or three-sport athlete. Put all of your effort into it, though. High school sports only happen once, and you don’t want to leave any open questions, like ‘What if?’”

Certainly, fellow Sauk Centre senior Corey McCoy did not leave any what-ifs in a thrilling ending to his high school athletic career. In just his second season as a track and field participant, the gifted thrower posted an incredulous 133-foot, 10-inch toss in the discus throw, setting a new personal record to take 12th place.

“It was a really fulfilling experience,” McCoy said. “When I joined last year, I didn’t have that high of hopes. But, to see myself one year later at the state meet performing at my best, you couldn’t ask for more.”

McCoy’s day started uneventfully. His first throw ventured to the 103-05 mark, a far cry from the 129-7 he put up at the Section 5A Championships May 31, and he committed a foul on his second attempt. All of this was forgotten quickly, however, after the senior’s third and final throw.

“I was like, ‘Last throw possibly of my career, I really don’t have much to lose here,’” McCoy said. “I just made sure I was going as fast as I can under control and at the end, pulled as hard as I could.”

The high-flying discus exceeded any distance the high schooler had ever achieved before, not only reaching a PR on his final throw, but topping throwing coach Chuck Leen’s personal best in the process. This outcome was something McCoy himself never expected but was a possibility in the eyes of one mentor who saw potential in him during his junior year. 

“Metcalf found out I wasn’t going to be in a spring sport the next year and he was like, ‘Corey, you should come throw for us,’” McCoy recalled. “My first year, I was making advancements every meet and this year, I came in with high hopes and I made it to state.”

Also competing at state was the 4x400 relay team of Reese Blondin, Derick Sorenson, Nathan Lahr and Zander Olmschenk, who compiled a 16th-place result out of 18 teams in preliminaries at 3:36.02. It was a productive, emotional career closer for seniors Blondin, Sorenson and Lahr and signaled continued growth for Olmschenk, a junior.

In the end, there will be a ton of goodbyes amongst the Streeters as the spring season draws to a close. However, there will also be a lot of positives to look back on for the program and the Sauk Centre community as a whole.

“They’ve been such a supportive and welcoming community for myself and the whole track team, in all events, too,” Kampsen said. “We had a great 2023 class of athletics and academics.”


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