by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River girls track completed their hat trick of 2012 championships Saturday, marking the third straight year they’ve won conference, true-team section and the regular MSHSL sectional.
The Elks edged Forest Lake 92 to 90 among 15 teams in Section 7AA at Princeton, by far their closest margin among 10 team titles the program has garnered the last four seasons — four straight in this meet, and three straight in the NWSC and section true-team.
The Elks had just one champion ,Jordyn Sohns in the 100 hurdles, but scored in 14 of 18 events and qualified for state in five events.
Earning state trips with silver medals were Kelly Edward in triple jump, Molli Detloff, second in discus, and two relay teams. Those quartets are Detloff, Alana Embury, Edwards, and Logan Daulton in the 4-by-100, and Rachel Ness, Anna Haugen, Samantha Hendricks, and Abby McDonald in the 4-by-800.
Coach Russ Gnan, who was named section coach of the year, was very impressed by his team.
“There aren’t many times when you feel like your team real hit it, but they hit it today,” said Gnan. “There were so many outstanding performers. Season bests all over the place. They should be proud, very proud. Everybody was chipping in.”
The Elks won section true-team decisively while at full strength, then had to pull together and dig in after losing their top scorer for three years, Dani Detloff, to a hamstring injury. Conference was a tight four-team race and 7AA much closer.
“I am so proud of the team for pulling this off, especially without Dani, in both conference and section,” said Alana Embury, senior co-captain. “We do not rely super hard on Dani or expect her to carry us but she is a huge part of the team. We really had a good day today.”
Forest Lake’s top performer was Jessica Dheane, who won the 300 hurdles and was second in the 100 hurdles. That was the lone first for the Rangers, who had three runners-up and one third-place.
Sohns, a junior, will make her first state trip after leading wire-to-wire in the 100 and winning in 15.38, beating Dhaene by .13. She’s is the first Elk girl hurdler to reach state since Sasha Gangl won the 100 at state in 2005.
Assessed Elk hurdles coach Brenda Holmgren: “Four girls were tied at the first hurdle, and then Jordyn accelerates so fast between one and two. You could see she got a step on them. At three through five she was absolutely excellent and by the fifth hurdle she had a good lead.”
“I am so happy, it feels amazing,” Sohns said. “Everything went right, except I hit the last hurdle.”
After opening a nice lead midway through, she was thinking: “Don’t screw it up. When I hit the last one they gained on me but my lead was big enough that it didn’t matter.”
Sohns took fourth in the 300 hurdles.
“The 300 felt good at the beginning, but coming around the corner they all went by me. I was like, I’m not going to finish last! So I kept going hard.”
Edwards, a senior who missed state by two inches in the long jump Wednesday, earned her first individual state trip by taking second in triple jump with a 35-3 on her final jump, moving up three places. That was two inches under the PR she set at conference.
“It was my last one,” she recounted, “and I knew I had to bring it if I wanted to go state, and i just left it all out there.That jump felt really good.”
Detloff, who got her discus silver medal Wednesday with a 130-4 that was 12 feet under her PR, broke her shot put PR twice on Saturday with 38-10 and a final 39-1/4 but placed third. She was 6 1/2 inches out of second and missed the qualifying standard by just 2 1/2.
Both events were dominated by defending state champion Maggie Ewen of St. Francis.
“I don’t mind competing against her. I think it makes me throw better,” said Detloff.
The Elk 4-by-800 team set a school record with 9:36.72, in placing second behind Grand Rapids. The 4-by-100 team was second behind Andover.
Elks placing third were Embury in pole vault, Ness in the 3200 (Wednesday) and the 4-by-200 and 4-by-400 relays. That mile relay group pulled out the state title with their six points as Forest Lake was not in the finals.
The state track meet will be held next Friday and Saturday, June 8-9, at Hamline.
The Elk girls’ section title was the third by ERHS this spring, following boys tennis and girls golf.
1. Elk River 92
2. Forest Lake 90
3. Grand Rapids 75
4. Andover 74.5
5. Duluth East 60
6. St. Francis 53
7. Chisago Lakes 48
8. Cambridge-Isanti 47.5
9. North Branch 42
10. Princeton 387
11. Zimmerman 31
12. Big Lake 22
13. Hermantown 15
14. Cloquet 9
15. Hibbing 5
100 hurdles — (1) Jordyn Sohns, Elk River, 15.38
300 hurdles — (1) Jessica Dhaene, Forest Lake, 45.40 … Elks: (6) Sohns 47.54
100 dash— (1) Lydie Smith, Duluth East, 12.55
200 dash — (1) Taylor Nivala, Andover, 25.59 … Elks: (6) Jenna Kivley 27.32
400 dash — (1) Madison Kunshier, North Branch, 59.65
800 run — (1) Megan Allen, Grand Rapids, 2:22.55 … Elks: (5) Samantha Hendricks 2:24.31 (8) Taylor Odegard 2:25.89
1600 run — (1) Abbgale Forsman, Chisago Lakes, 5:11.11
3200 run — (1) Noelle Olson, Big Lake, 11:10.53 … Elks: (3) Rachel Ness 11:20.25
4-by-100 relay — (1) Andover 49.07 … Elks: (2) Molli Detloff, Alana Embury, Kelly Edwards, Logan Daulton, 50.17
4-by-200 relay — (1) Duluth East 1:44.18 … Elks: (3) Embury, Kivley, Josie Brown, Logan Daulton, 1:46.32
4-by-400 relay — (1) Grand Rapids 4:03.55 … (3) Elks: Embury, Anna Haugen, Chelsey Petrich, Abby McDonald, 4:07.50
4-by-800 relay — (1) Grand Rapids 9:33.54 … Elks: (2) Rachel Ness, Haugen, Hendricks, McDonald, 9:36.72
High jump — (1) Molly Illikainen, Grand Rapids, 5-5
Long jump — (1) Karlie Hauer, Andover, 17-7 1/4 … Elks: (3) Edwards 17-1/4 (5) Daulton 16-6 1/2
Triple jump — (1) Jessica Justin, St. Francis, 35-4 1/4 … Elks: (2) Edwards 35-3
Pole vault — (1) Adelle Nelson, Cambridge-Isantii, 10-3 … Elks: (3) Embury 9-7, tie
Discus — (1) Maggie Ewen, St. Francis, 150-8 … Elks: (2) M.Detloff 130-4
Shot put — (1) Ewen 46-8 … Elks: (3) M. Detloff 39-1/2