Boys track: Rosemount sixth at Class 2A State
After several successful years at the year-ending state track and field championships, the Rosemount boys track and field team knows what it takes to compete for a state team title.
The meet is largely considered an individual meet, designed to decide the best track and field athletes in the state. Often the team title is overlooked in this format as the individual finishes provide the highlights. Yet, the state championship meet does award team points. Irish coach Jay Hatleli isn't shy about Rosemount's desire to win the state team title as well as individual titles.
"There are just a small handful of teams that have a chance," Hatleli said. "It's not necessarily the purpose of this meet, but as long as we have a chance like we have in past years, we're going to try. At the end of the day though, it's an individual meet. Anybody that gets here is pretty good. It's fun to see guys compete at a high level."
The Irish placed sixth as a team with 31 points. Eden Prairie won the team title with 56 points.
Hatleli believes he had the athletes to compete for the title, yet a key injury hampered the team's chances. Goaner Deng, one of Rosemount's top 400-meter runners, suffered an injury and couldn't finish the meet.
With such a small margin of points to be passed around and with so many high-level athletes at the meet, losing any athlete is tough to overcome.
Deng was injured running the 4x200 relay, which just missed making the finals. He was set to compete in the individual 400 race, as well as take part in the 4x400 relay.
"I think we would have been in the mix, but it's hard to say," Hatleli said about the team title. "It's such an elite meet, to have a chance, you have to have a bunch of elite guys. It hurts to lose a key guy like that."
The active participants certainly provided their share of Irish state meet highlights.
"We had a few injuries that knocked us out of a few things," Hatleli said. "But they really turned a negative from a team standpoint into a positive. I was happy the guys didn't let it affect them and they went out and had a great meet."
Zach Vraa finished his standout Rosemount career with a state individual title.
Vraa won the 110 high hurdles with a time of 14.52 seconds. He added a seventh-place finish in the 300 hurdles and filled in to run the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay, which placed second.
"He closed it out the way you expect an athlete of his caliber to do it," Hatleli said.
Andrew Hausmann, Chris Mergens and Chandler Dye joined Vraa in the 4x400. The four combined to cross the line in 3 minutes, 20.72 seconds, just behind the winning Eden Prairie team.
Hausmann, Vraa, Deng and Clayton Notch teamed up in the 4x200, finishing 10th. John Evenocheck ran in the preliminaries of the 4x400.
"Chris Mergens put together two outstanding legs of the 4x400," Hatleli said. "Johnny Evenocheck was thrown into after the injury and ran well to get us into the finals and even have a chance the second day."
Hausmann placed eighth individually in the triple jump, leaping 43 feet, 8.5 inches.
"He sacrificed his individual results to help in the relay and ran a couple of great legs in the 4x400," Hatleli said.
Brandt Berghuis finished seventh in the shot put with a distance of 54 feet, 1.5 inches. His throw of 150 feet in the discus placed him ninth.
"It's a tough field with a lot of good guys," Hatleli said. "It's one thing to have a good throw during the regular season and another to do it in the state meet when it counts. It seems like it's harder to do when it really counts and he was able to get on the medal stand."
Dye also ran individually in the 800 and placed 13th.
Shane McCallum crossed the line in the 1,600 and finished 14th. Brandon Wolf was 17th in the high jump.