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Boys track: Otterdahl, Jackson reach 2A podium

Payton Otterdahl had a personal best throw to win the shot put.

Payton Otterdahl reached the podium twice at last week's Class 2A state track meet, but he's already got higher goals in mind for next year.

The junior was happy with the personal-best throw of 56 feet, 1 3/4 inches that earned him second in the shot put. He was not as pleased with his third-place distance of 158-2 in the discus, as he had thrown five feet longer previously and cleared 160 feet several times during warm-ups. Anthony Tuler of Forest Lake won the event with a spin of 160-3.

"Any time you come to the state meet and get on the podium, let alone the top three, you had a good meet," Rosemount coach Jay Hatleli said. "Payton was pleased with his personal best in the shot put. He was disappointed in himself for not having his top throw in the discus. Even though the coaches are aware that conditions play a part in discus distances, Payton wanted more of himself. We respect an athlete that has high expectations for themselves."

Hatleli said he expects Otterdahl, with another year of training, to put up even longer throws next spring.

""Payton has a high ceiling in the throwing events. I am sure his goal is to win both throwing events next year, but to be honest, he could really be the dominant thrower in the state with a year of weight training and overall athletic development," Hatleli said. "Our director of throwing operations Tim Conboy feels 60 feet in the shot and 180 feet in the discus are within reach with some strength gains and improvements in technique. Conboy would only smile about how far Payton is capable of throwing next year. My guess is he believes much further than I just mentioned."

Another Irish state entrant who will return with big goals next season is Grant Jackson. The junior ran the fifth-fastest 200 in school history earlier this year and capped off the season with a seventh-place time of 22.37 in Saturday's finals.

"Grant Jackson improved considerably as the season went along to gain all-state recognition. He combined his speed from the football field and tenacity of wrestling to really make huge gains on the track this year,"?Hatleli said. "He will challenge for the school record next season in the 200 and perhaps another event as well."

The Irish will also return three of the four legs of their 4x800 that placed 13th in Saturday's state finals. Luke Anderson, Aaron Elizondo, Sam Ivanecky and Kwame Owusu combined on a time of 8:11.73.

Owusu, the lone senior, capped off his career with a 2:01 split.

"This foursome had a great accomplishment by qualifying for the meet. On the right day, we felt this could be our seventh different group to break 8 minutes," Hatleli said. "Next year we will need this event to score big at the state meet to give our team a chance to be on the awards stand."

The Irish finished 18th out of 63 scoring teams in Class 2A with 21 points.