Boys track: Otterdahl doubles up at state, Irish take third
Rain or shine, Payton Otterdahl was prepared to put on a show at the Class 2A state track meet.
Otterdahl, who will continue his track and field career at North Dakota State University, set a new school record in the shot put in near-perfect conditions on Friday, and then captured the discus crown despite rainy weather on Saturday.
“It felt to me like the perfect end to all my hard work — the perfect way to end my high school sports career,” Otterdahl said. “I didn’t really expect we would place third out of everybody as a team. It was a pleasant surprise to bring home hardware to keep in the school.”
It’s not the first hardware Otterdahl has helped bring back to RHS. He was a lineman for the Irish football team that made it to the state tournament the last two years, and was a two-time state qualifier for the Irish wrestling team.
“During each season I focus on that sport, but then I shift gears pretty quick after the season ends,” Otterdahl said. “I think the weekend after state wrestling I was already in the weight room getting ready for track.”
Otterdahl’s year-round work in the weight room, as well as some fine-tuning of his throwing technique, helped him move up after placing second in the shot put and third in the discus at last spring’s state meet.
All that work paid off Friday when he uncorked a shot put throw of 61 feet, ½ inch. The heave broke his own school record and outdistanced runner-up Frank Ragnow of Chanhassen, an Arkansas football recruit, by 3 ½ feet.
“I sealed the deal with that. From there I wanted to improve, but I was happy with the results,” he said. “The release felt great and it came off my hand at a good angle. I knew that one was going to be well over the 60-foot mark.”
Otterdahl was even more dominant in the rainy conditions Saturday, turning in five of the top six throws in the discus competition. His first spin of 173-6 stood and won the event by over 2 ½ feet.
“I didn’t think about the weather as much. I figured it was just as bad for everyone else. Every day, whether it was raining or snowing, we practiced outside so I was used to it,” Otterdahl said. “I think it played to my advantage because it hurt the competition more than it would hurt me.”
Otterdahl’s discus victory was one of several performances on Day 2 of the meet that helped the Irish rally and come within a point of runner-up Wayzata. At the same time, Grant Jackson was finishing third in the 200 in 22.03 (he ran a school-record 21.82 in prelims) and Gavin Rudoll was placing sixth in the long jump with a leap of 21-5 ¼.
It was the third trip to the podium for Jackson, who was also fifth in the 100 finals with a time of 11.07 seconds and teamed up with Rudoll, Tray Ashby-Phan and Jordon Herbranson for fifth in the 4x100.
Rosemount’s 4x400 foursome of Treigh French, Aaron Elizondo, Sam Ivanecky and Josiah Mann closed out the meet with a fifth-place time of 3:24.90, leaving the Irish one point behind Wayzata with 56 points in the battle for second. Hopkins won the state team title with 70 points.
“On paper, we were not supposed to be a factor to be top five in the meet, but the meet isn’t contested on paper and our guys responded in the heat on Day 1 and in the rain on Day 2,” Rosemount coach Jay Hatleli said. “The top three teams are on the podium and we were happy to be one of those teams.”
The Irish were also fifth in the 4x800, an event where they were seeded 13th. Despite running in the slow heat, Ivanecky, Elizondo, Luke Anderson and Sam Karlson combined for a season-best time of 8:02.75.
Alex Berhe added a season-best time of 9:34.31 to finish 11th in his first state appearance in the 3,200 and Zach Zweber placed 13th in the triple jump.
Rosemount excelled at the state meet with a roster that featured several multi-sport athletes. Along with Otterdahl, Jackson was also a standout football player and wrestler for the Irish. Rudoll played football and basketball and Elizondo competed for both the swimming and cross country teams.
Ivanecky and Berhe were two of the top runners for the Irish’s state-qualyfing cross country team.
“Our team is built on multi-sport athletes,” Hatleli said. “The guys we competed with this weekend show good athletes can perform in a variety of activities if they develop themselves as athletes.”