Henry reaches podium by placing eighth in 200 dash at state meet
Nevis head coach Jen McNamee expected Zach Henry to bring home a medal from the state Class A boys track and field meet.
Despite entering Friday's preliminaries of the state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul as the No. 16 seed in both the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, McNamee was confident Henry would make the finals in at least one event.
The Nevis senior sprinter fulfilled that goal by placing eighth in the 200 dash in 22.78 to earn 2 points and a medal in his final high school race.
Henry qualified for state by winning the Section 8A title in both races, clocking an 11.48 in the 100 dash and a 23.66 in the 200 dash. Those efforts gave Henry two of the lowest seed times entering the state meet.
"Zach came in with a lower time as we were one of the only section championships to have a major head wind," said McNamee. "(I thought) Zach had as good a chance as anyone to bring home a medal."
Henry guaranteed himself a state medal during Friday's preliminaries by placing ninth in the 200 with a 23.03. The top-nine runners advanced to Saturday's finals. Henry was third in his heat as Pequot Lakes' Reid Pierzinski had the fastest time of 22.19 out of the 16 state qualifiers. Henry edged out St. Croix Lutheran's Asahi Kuroki's 23.04 for the final spot in the finals.
During Saturday's finals, Henry moved up a spot, dropping his time to a 22.78 to finish eighth. Pierzinski won the state title in 22.33 while Mora's Cal Wright (22.41), Plainview-Elgin's Derrick Cannon (22.42), Providence Academy's Max Peckenschneid (22.50), Pipestone Area's Carter Nesvold (22.59), Glencoe-Silver Lake's Kyle Christensen (22.73) and St. Croix Lutheran's Garrett Maag (22.74) followed. Duluth Marshall's Jack Burt finished ninth in 22.91.
Henry didn't advance to the finals in the 100. During Friday's preliminaries, Henry clocked an 11.56 to finish fifth in his heat and 15th overall out of 20 state qualifiers. Wright had the fastest time of 11.16 while Maag claimed the final spot in the finals by placing ninth in 11.33. In Saturday's finals, Jordan's Marlon Wiley won the state title in 11.11. The final state medal went to Dover-Eyota's Payton Schott, who finished ninth in 11.59.
In addition to winning the 200 dash, Pierzinski won the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles and placed seventh in the triple jump to score 39 points and give Pequot Lakes the boys team title. Staples-Motley finished fifth with 28 points, Perham was ninth with 26 points and Wadena-Deer Creek took 10th with 25 points. Other area teams scoring points at the state meet included East Grand Forks (9), Clearbrook-Gonvick (8), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (5), Northome-Kelliher/Blackduck (1), Ada-Borup/Norman County (1) and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley(1).
Panthers miss finals
All five members of the Park Rapids girls track and field team who qualified for the state meet were looking to advance to the finals in all four events.
The Panthers fell short of accomplishing those goals.
Senior Jaiden McCollum qualified for state as the Section 8A champion in the shot put and the runner-up in the discus. McCollum joined junior Julia Johnson, freshman Hannah Morgan and eighth grader Holly Johnson in the 4 x 200 relay, which advanced to state as the section runner-up. The Johnson sisters and Morgan joined freshman Kendra Scholz in the 4 x 100 relay, which also qualified for state as the section runner-up.
Park Rapids didn't advance to the finals in any of those four events.
McCollum entered Friday's preliminaries of the discus as the No. 16 seed out of 17 state qualifiers with a runner-up throw of 106 feet, 8 inches at the section meet. McCollum, who was making her state debut in that event, fouled on her first throw and had a throw of 95-7 on her second attempt before recording a throw of 101-10 in her third attempt. That throw resulted in 14th place as McCollum missed advancing to the finals for three more attempts. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton's Grace Steichen, who won the Section 8A title with a throw of 108 feet, finished 15th with a throw of 100-6. Lac qui Parle Valley's Julie Overton won the state title with a throw of 130-8 while Wadena-Deer Creek's Ellie Miron earned the final state medal by placing ninth at 116-4.
McCollum was looking to cap off her senior season by earning another state medal in the shot put. McCollum, who holds the school record at 41-9, finished fourth in 2016 with a throw of 40-0.25 and sixth last season with a throw of 39-11 to earn all-state honors. The Park Rapids senior entered state as the No. 15 seed after winning the section title with a toss of 38-0.75.
During Saturday's preliminaries, McCollum opened with throws of 34-2.25 and 34-2 before recording a distance of 35-8.50 on her third attempt. That ended up giving McCollum 15th place out of 18 throwers. Pierz's Beth-el Algarin won the state title with a distance of 44-1.25 while St. Clair's Megan Mettler finished ninth at 38-11.
Both Park Rapids relays failed to advance to Saturday's finals by placing 14th in both races during Friday's preliminaries.
The 4 x 100 relay team entered state as the No. 15 seed after placing second at the section meet in 52.27. Scholz, Holly Johnson, Julia Johnson and Morgan dropped that time to 51.80 to finish eighth in their heat and 14th overall out of 16 qualifiers during preliminaries. Rockford had the fastest preliminary time of 50.10 while Rochester Lourdes claimed the final spot in the finals with a 51.12. Frazee, the Section 8A champion, advanced to the finals with a 51.10 and ended up placing seventh in 51.34. Breck won the state title in 50.18 while Rochester Lourdes claimed the final state medal in 51.54.
In the 4 x 200 relay, the Panthers entered state as the No. 14 seed out of 17 qualifiers after clocking a 1:49.88 to finish second at the section meet. Holly Johnson, Morgan, Julia Johnson and McCollum finished seventh in their heat and 14th overall in 1:48.54. Grand Meadow had the fastest time of 1:45.12 while Stewartville claimed the final spot in the finals with a 1:46.60. Frazee also qualified for the finals by placing fith in 1:46.39. Grand Meadow won the state title in 1:45.23, Pequot Lakes was third in 1:45.61, Frazee finished sixth in 1:46.33 and Rockford took ninth in 1:47.90.
This marked McCollum's fourth state trip in the 4 x 200 relay. The Panthers finished 13th in 1:48.90 in 2015, 10th in 1:48.13 in 2016 and 14th in 1:50.45 last season. Morgan also was a member of last year's 4 x 200 relay team.
Blake won the state team title with 46 points while Pequot Lakes was third with 38.75 points and Perham finished 13th with 21 points. Other local schools who scored points at the state meet included Crookston (15), Frazee (10), Pelican Rapids (7), Crosby-Ironton (6), Warroad (6), Pillager (4), Wadena-Deer Creek (3) and Roseau (3).