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Girls track: Irish cruise to eighth

Rosemount's Shade Pratt anchors the 4x800-meter relay at last weekend's Class 2A State Meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. The Irish finished eighth in the team standings.

All season long, the Rosemount girls track and field team has given coach Sara Hatleli reason to proudly announce the past week's accomplishments.

Often Hatleli was able to discuss team finishes much better than the Irish have had in recent years. It was a recurring trend in which Rosemount would place among the top teams at each meet and, inevitably, improve on what the team had done the previous week.

Last week at the Class 2A state championships, the individuals had their turn to take over the spotlight.

The individuals performed well enough that Rosemount still placed eighth as a team with 33 points. Hopkins won the team title with 81 points.

"Every athlete involved had a great season," Hatleli said. "They did all that we asked of them at practice. They worked hard and did all the workouts and were really prepared physically and mentally. That is a big thing. I think they are tough kids. It wasn't the most ideal weather Friday or Saturday, but it didn't even faze them.

"They decided they were going to do their best, rain or shine, and that's what they did."

Rosemount advanced two relay teams to the state meet, competing last week in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays. Each of the relay teams broke school records, cutting significant time from the section meet a week earlier.

The 4x800 relay composed of Sara Feeser, Tori Grund, Laura Dennis and Shade Pratt finished fifth overall with a time of 9 minutes, 21.24 seconds. The quartet broke a school record that had stood for 25 years.

Dennis, Thana Hussein, Grund and Pratt teamed up in the 4x400 to also place fifth. Their time of 3:59.60 broke the school record which had been set two years earlier.

"Every kid in both relays was very prepared physically and mentally," Hatleli said. "They absolutely performed to the best of their ability."

Katie Murgic tied her own school record in winning the pole vault competition. Murgic cleared 12 feet -- seven inches higher than the next closest competitor -- to match her height from the section meet. The school record was the highest mark in the state this season.

And Murgic was competing in a different environment. Due to the inclement weather, the pole vault competition was moved inside at last week's state meet held at Hamline University.

"I do believe any change in venue can be challenging," Hatleli said. "She had competed once indoors at the True Team meet and had at least one other meet indoors. I think it helped that last year (at state) was indoors, so she knew going in what to expect. She was prepared going in that it probably wasn't going to be very good weather."

Murgic added a 15th-place finish in the 100-meter dash. The appearance in the race might have been a blessing in disguise.

"Quite honestly, I don't think she expected to make it to state in the 100," Hatleli said. "I think it was kind of a bonus for her. I think it was probably good to take a little of the nerves off to compete in a different event the day before the pole vault. I would say it was a good event to participate in for her. You get an event in, get the nerves out and then focus and think about the pole vault."

Combined with running in each of the relay events, Pratt also competed in the individual 400.

She crossed the line in 56.23 seconds, placing fourth.

"I don't think anyone would argue that she had one of the most difficult days of any athlete out there," Hatleli said. "With what she competed in, the 4x8 and two 400s, it's challenging and quite a lot to ask an athlete to do. She gave us a fantastic leg in the 4x800 and I think she gave everything she had left in the 4x400. And in the open 400, maybe she just wasn't fresh. She could have been a state champion. She gave her all and is a very unselfish athlete."

Alyssa Temte placed fifth in the triple jump, clearing 36 feet, 2.5 inches.

"She was in the first flight and on paper that means you're not expected to make it to the finals," Hatleli said. "But she competed, plain and simple. She had a decent jump to make the finals. And then she improved and had a couple jumps that were just a half-inch off her best of the season. It wasn't the best of weather conditions, cold and windy. There were a lot of athletes that didn't jump their best."