Milaca track athletes ‘gave it their best shot’

As Milaca’s track and field athletes prepared for the Section 5A Meet, co-head coaches Jeremy Mikla and Gwen Garber gave them some choices.

“We let them know earlier in the week they had three choices,” said Mikla. “Give in, give up or give it your best shot.”

The Wolves chose the third option and came up with what the coaches described as an “awesome” performance Wednesday, May 30, at St. John’s University in Collegeville.

Milaca advanced in four events to the Class A State Track and Field Meet Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.

The spotlight was on junior Kaija Crowe at the section meet. The junior won the high jump and the 200-meter dash, and ran the final leg on the first place 4×200-meter relay team and the second place 4×100 relay team.

The Wolves advanced to the state meet in all four events.

“Kaija had a great day,” said Mikla. “She is not afraid of losing and has a never-quit attitude.

“She’s a no-fear, risk-taker.”

Crowe won the 200 dash in 26.04 seconds, edging last year’s champion senior Claire Gapinski of Foley, whose time was 26.51. Crowe was second last year in 26.37.

She tied the Milaca school record and placed first in the high jump at 5-feet, 3-inches. Senior Alexis Good of Mora was second, also at 5-3, but Crowe made the height in fewer tries. Crowe was third in the high jump last year at 4-11 and lost a “jump off” for a state berth.

In the 4×200 relay, sophomore Sarah Forker and ninth-graders Allie Terpstra and Irina Danilyuk teamed with Crowe to place first in 1:47.98. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City was a distant second in 1:50.33.

Crowe, Forker, Terpstra and Danilyuk later placed second in the 4×100 with a school record time of 51.14. Annandale was first in 51.06, .08 seconds ahead of Milaca.

Forker placed third in the pole vault at 9-8. Senior Shelbie Walsh of Litchfield was first at 11-2 while senior Austyn Eng of Braham was second. Eng also went 8-6 but had fewer misses than Forker.

Terpstra set a school record with a time of 16.88 in preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles. But, she clipped a hurdle and fell in the finals and placed seventh in 20.03.

“That was unfortunate but Allie came back strong in the relays,” said Mikla.

Milaca finished fourth in the girls team standings with 48.5 points. Annandale paced the 28-team meet with 93 points while Litchfield was second at 71 and Foley was third with 56 points.

Foley won the boys title with 70 points, nipping Annandale, which had 68. Milaca scored just three points.

Milaca’s other competitors included:

-Senior Adam Shipman, who was seventh in the 800 run (2:07.0).

-Junior Julia Putz, who was ninth in the 1,600 run (5:42.38) and 12th in the 3,200 (12:37.87). She led the first 800 meters in the 1,600.

-Sophomore Cameron Sundberg, who was eighth in the 1,600 (4:46.87) and 10th in the 3,200 (10:47.32).

-Ninth-grader Tara Airhart, who was sixth in the pole vault (9-2). Junior Clair Coffee was 13th (8-8).

Crowe will compete in the high jump Friday at 3:30 p.m. and the preliminaries of the 200 dash at 5:54.

The prelims in the 4×200 relay Friday are at 4:12, with the 4×100 relay prelims at 4:37.

The high jump will be completed Friday.

On Saturday, the finals in the 4×200 are at 4:50, with the 4×100 finals at 5:27. The finals in the 200 dash are at 6:30.