Track season ends in frustration at State

Chris Hegg

The Cook County Viking Track team learned a lot and had a great time this season. Front: Kara Ramey. L-R, seated: Lars Scannell, Roman Schnobrich, Joey Chmelik, Audrey Summers, Brittany Lilienthal-Wanttie, Emma Nalezny, Ava McMillan, Shelby Ahrendt, Cheyenne Sorlie. L-R, row 3: Katrina Axtell, Ben Seaton, Lino Rauzi, Rachel Todd, Maggie McMillan, Mara MacDonell, Collin Berglund, Rose Ingebrigtsen, Amber Todd. L-R, row 4: Michelle Weitz, Molly Rider, Anna Shield (Two Harbors), Ailee Larson, Grace Nelson, Coach Chris Hegg. L-R, back: Kieran Scannell, Peter Warren, Justin Goldstein, Daniel Ahrendt, Darrin Waha, Cy Fortunato, Sebastian Schnobrich, Bjorn Johnson. Photo by Lynn Swanson The Cook County Viking Track team learned a lot and had a great time this season. Front: Kara Ramey. L-R, seated: Lars Scannell, Roman Schnobrich, Joey Chmelik, Audrey Summers, Brittany Lilienthal-Wanttie, Emma Nalezny, Ava McMillan, Shelby Ahrendt, Cheyenne Sorlie. L-R, row 3: Katrina Axtell, Ben Seaton, Lino Rauzi, Rachel Todd, Maggie McMillan, Mara MacDonell, Collin Berglund, Rose Ingebrigtsen, Amber Todd. L-R, row 4: Michelle Weitz, Molly Rider, Anna Shield (Two Harbors), Ailee Larson, Grace Nelson, Coach Chris Hegg. L-R, back: Kieran Scannell, Peter Warren, Justin Goldstein, Daniel Ahrendt, Darrin Waha, Cy Fortunato, Sebastian Schnobrich, Bjorn Johnson. Photo by Lynn Swanson CCHS’s two qualifiers for the 2010 Minnesota High School League Track meet, junior Ailee Larson in the ½ mile, and freshman Kieran Scannell in the 2-mile, had high expectations for the State meet after their qualifying races at the Section 7A finals. Although neither of them had been to the state track meet before (no one from Cook County had been to state in track in almost 20 years), both of them had gone to State in cross country last fall, and both came into the State track meet with the 10th best times of the 16 to 18 qualifiers in their respective events.

The wheels came off early for Kieran. He had run his winning race at Sections with a slight cold. Therace made it worse, resulting in missed practices all week before state. During the warm-ups at state, it was clear he was getting better, but nowhere near fully recovered.

Therace started at a pretty manageable pace, with the pack of 18 all together at the first mile at a time of 5:00. Kieran hung gamely on the back. The leaders picked up the pace and strung the pack out for the second mile. Kieran immediately fell off the back of the pack. Running alone, he slowed down a little for the next three laps. Finally, on the final lap, he saw someone he could catch. He picked up the pace and easily made the catch, finishing in 10:26. He was pretty philosophical after the race. With three more years of running ahead of him in high school, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make his mark at State. He just had to figure out how to stay healthy at the end of the season.

Ailee, on the other hand, had a great build-up to State. She looked strong in practice and warm-ups, and had a great draw for the preliminary race at State. There were two preliminary races of eight girls each. Ailee was in the second, slightly faster, prelim.

She started in lane 2, right next to her frequent opponent, Kate Shelrud of Esko, who had run in State the prior two years. Her strategy was simple, stay with Kate. The pace was quick but manageable, as the lead pack of six completed the first lap in 69 seconds. Ailee was tucked into that group, near the back. As they approached the final turn before the finish, Ailee started to move to the outside to unleash her sprint. Then disaster struck. Her feet got tangled up with another girl’s feet, and down she went. With less than 200 meters to go, that was it. Her State meet was over. When we went to console her, she put on a good face, but I’m sure it was devastating. All that work and success this season out the window with her first fall of the year. Bummer! When I looked over the results, it was especially frustrating. All five girls in that lead pack qualified for the finals the next day. In the finals, Kate pulled a big upset and won. If, if, if…

Well, we had a great season and learned a lot. With motivation, hard work, and confidence combined with the experience at State, next year should be even better.


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