Farmington/Rosemount track: trio of champions

Irish’s Buchman, Tigers’ Peterson and Fenske win gold

Farmington’s Lauren Peterson reaches the finish of the Class AA girls 1,600 just before Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Lauren Peterson and Anna Fenske have been friends and training partners for a while now, so it’s not surprising they have similar race strategies.

But the way the Farmington High School runners won the distance races at last weekend’s state Class AA girls meet bordered on eerie. On Friday, Peterson pushed ahead of Minneapolis Washburn’s Emily Covert just before the finish to win the 3,200 meters, her first state individual championship. The next day Fenske’s kick was enough to overtake Emily Kompelien of Edina in the final few meters, allowing her to win the 1,600 and add that first-place medal to the one Fenske earned at the state Class AA cross country meet last fall.

The winning margin in each race? Thirty-two hundredths of a second.

Fenske was third in the 3,200 meters and Peterson took fourth in the 1,600 in the state meet at Hamline University. The two supplied 38 of Farmington’s 48 points as the Tigers earned their highest-ever finish at state.

“It’s a friendly competition,” Peterson said of the dynamic between herself and Fenske. “Just to be so close to each other and push each other, it’s great. It’s awesome to have someone there all the time.”

Peterson, Covert and Fenske were almost stride for stride entering the final lap of Friday’s 3,200. Fenske dropped back slightly while Peterson outran Covert by about four-tenths of a second in the final lap to win. Peterson’s winning time of 10 minutes, 31.5 seconds was a personal record by almost seven seconds. Fenske’s third-place time was 10:36.81.

Anna Fenske (right) of Farmington won the Class AA girls 3,200 meters to go with her state championship in cross country last fall. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

As for the close three-way duel, “I was all right with that, because I was focusing on staying calm, and I didn’t want (Covert) to get too far ahead,” said Peterson, who was second in the state cross country meet last fall. “I was out there enjoying myself and wanted to see what I could do. I was focusing on staying relaxed and trusting in my kick toward the end, and it all worked out.”

After the race, Peterson said she and Fenske “just told each other we were really proud of each other. Anna said she felt a little rough, but we just gave each other encouragement and said, ‘Don’t let that ruin your race tomorrow.’ ”

Fenske didn’t let it ruin her 1,600 on Saturday. Covert went out quickly and held a lead of more than three seconds halfway through the race.
Fenske, behind by almost seven seconds after 800 meters, ran her final lap in 1:07 to pass a fading Covert and edge Kompelien. She ran 4:55.20 in warm and windy weather.

“I didn’t think (Covert) was going to go out that fast, but I knew somebody else probably would,” Fenske said. On the final lap, “I didn’t know for sure what would happen. I didn’t know if I would need to kick that hard or if it would be more spread out.”

Peterson ran 5:03.96 to place fourth in the 1,600, one spot behind Covert.

Farmington, which knocked off South Suburban Conference champion Lakeville South to win the Section 1AA team championship, put some heat on state Class AA champion St. Michael-Albertville in the team competition. STMA got 36 points from sprinting and jumping standout Anna Keefer, who won three events, and finished with 54 points, six ahead of Farmington. North St. Paul, led by an elite sprinting group that won two relays, was third with 43 points.

The Tigers had five athletes qualify for state in seven events. They were 7-for-7 in terms of scoring team points. Senior Emma Record made the finals in the 100 dash, placing sixth in 12.27 seconds.

Myiah Scott, a sophomore, finished ninth in the 100 hurdles in 15.06. Amanda Davenport was fifth in the triple jump with 37 feet, 7.75 inches, more than six inches farther than her winning jump in the Section 1AA meet.

Farmington’s Regan Sevenich, Michael Cardinal, Caden Speikers and Aaron Kruse ran the boys 4×800 relay at the state meet, finishing 13th in 8:14.96.

Rosemount

Shae Buchman of Rosemount set a personal record in the 100-meter hurdles, which also was enough to earn a state Class AA championship. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Shae Buchman’s victory in the 110 hurdles and second place in the long jump propelled Rosemount into the top 10 in the Class AA girls track and field team standings.

“I don’t think too highly of myself, like ‘I’ve got this,’ ” said Buchman, a junior, after winning the hurdles final Saturday. “There are a lot of talented girls here. I just wanted to focus on my race and get myself prepared to do what I can do.

“But I wanted this so bad. It means so much to me and I’m just really thankful.”

Buchman is the second Rosemount athlete in five years to win the 100 hurdles at the state meet. Rachel Schow, now competing for the University of Minnesota, won the event in 2013 (Schow also won the 300 hurdles that year).

Wind affected the hurdlers in Friday’s Class AA preliminaries and Saturday’s finals at Hamline University. On Friday the wind slowed the hurdlers somewhat, although Buchman still had the fastest qualifying time of 14.81 seconds. On Saturday a tailwind pushed Buchman to a state championship in a personal-record 14.08.
“I feel really good about this race,” she said. “It felt really clean, really fast for me. The competition, the lanes right next to me, had some really fast kids. It was really fun for me.”

Buchman went 18 feet, 0.5 inches in the long jump on Friday, matching her personal record. Defending champion Anna Keefer of St. Michael-Albertville won the event with 18-10.5. Keefer won three events at the state meet, including two sprints.

“I wasn’t expecting to take second,” Buchman admitted. “I was seeded fifth. I placed much higher than my seed, so I’m happy about that. I also jumped the same as my seed distance, which is my PR.”

Buchman’s finishes earned 22 of Rosemount’s 26 points as the Section 3AA champion Irish took ninth in the Class AA team standings. Sophomore Alexys Berger earned a state medal in the pole vault, clearing 10-6 to take sixth place.

Rosemount’s boys scored 16 points in the state meet and tied for 18th place. Senior Trevor Otterdahl earned 11 points with two top-nine finishes in throwing events.

Otterdahl, who will compete in track and field at North Dakota State (joining his brother Peyton, a former Rosemount thrower), was third in the discus with 172-4. The top two throwers, Jake Kubiatowicz of North St. Paul (194-6) and Kaleb Siekmeier of Mahtomedi (187-7) broke the previous Class AA meet record, and Kubiatowicz’s throw was the longest ever recorded at a Class AA or A state meet.

Otterdahl added a seventh place in shot put with 53-9.5, an event won by Lakeville South’s Eric Rousemiller with 60-10.75.

Rosemount sophomore Luke Labatte finished sixth in the 3,200 in 9:30.26. Also earning a state medal was ninth-grader Jonathan Mann, who finished ninth in the 110 hurdles in 15.35.