Girls track and field: Knights end Monticello’s reign

For five years, Monticello reigned over the Mississippi 8 conference.
But on Tuesday a rainy day and a worthy opponent ended that streak.
St. Michael-Albertville (174 points) jumped out to a 30-point lead over Monticello  at the Mississippi 8 conference meet, with the shot put scheduled to be finished Wednesday, due to unplayable conditions by the end of Tuesday’s meet.
While you certainly never prepare for a five-year streak to come to an end, Coach Kim Nygaard said they weren’t completely taken aback.
“We honestly figured it was going to be us and St. Michael,” said Nygaard. “We were just kind of hoping for the best.”
The Magic got their best performances of the year at a few events, but came up short in a few too many.
The Knights grabbed the lead fairly early in the meet, aided by a strong performance in the 100-meter dash, and were able to hold Monticello off with some key wins down the stretch.

A Magic hurdler looks to stay in front of her Big Lake opponent early in the 300-meter race. (Photo by Clay Sawatzke)
A Magic hurdler looks to stay in front of her Big Lake opponent early in the 300-meter race. (Photo by Clay Sawatzke)stretch.

“[The girls] were disappointed,” said Nygaard, early Wednesday morning. “But they weren’t shocked.”
Even though the Magic may have had an idea that the odds were stacked against them for the first time in half a decade at the conference meet, they didn’t go down without a fight.
Several athletes turned in impressive performances at the rain soaked track.
The most impressive likely belonged to Karlie Kitzman.
Kitzman, just a freshman, entered the triple jump with the fifth best seed in the conference.
Facing wet and chilly conditions, competitors around Kitzman were continually coming up short of their seed distances.
As Kitzman approached her last jump, she needed to match her career best effort to move into the top three.
She did more.
“She pulled a Sadie Fedor,” said Nygaard.
Kitzman, like Fedor last year, jumped nearly a full foot farther than she ever had before.
The freshman soared 33 feet, 8 inches, or six full inches past the second place finisher, earning an individual conference championship.
Amber Seidenkranz was also among those who showed up ready to perform on the big stage of the conference meet.
The junior dropped ten seconds off her mile time, catapulting all the way up to a second-place finish with a time of 5:11.47.
“It was a stunning mile,” said Nygaard.
Seidenkranz also turned in a third place finish in the two mile, earning All-Conference honors with a time of 11:28.72.
In the long jump, both Grace Sawatzke and Emily Dockendorf jumped past their seed distances on their way to second and third place finishes respectively, as well as All-Conference honors for each.
Sawatzke’s 16’2.75” marked one of her best jumps of the year, while Dockendorf’s 15’7” was eight inches past her seed distance.
Sawatzke also earned All-Conference with a 400-meter dash time of 1:02.61, which was good for third place.
Samantha Petterson finished second in the 100-meter hurdles to earn All-Conference honors.
Anna Macki continued the string of strong individual Magic performances. The senior overcame tough conditions in the pole vault area to match her seed height and earn All-Conference honors by clearing 8 feet, 6 inches and finishing in third place.
Krista Steele earned individual All-Conference, finishing second in the 800-meter run.
Two relay teams also received All-Conference honors.
The 4×800 team, made up of Steele, Alex Revenig, Mariah Betzler and Anna Fasan continued its dominant year. The team, which lacks a single senior, earned a conference championship, as its time of 10:15.14 was ten seconds better than Big Lake’s second place effort.
The 4×200 team also earned All-Conference, finishing second with a time of 1:51.17. Kate Johnson, Kelly Lemke, Grace Sawatzke and Kenzie Cruzen ran on that team.
While the end of the streak may sting a little, it certainly didn’t match the pride that Nygaard felt watching her girls compete hard in less than stellar conditions.
The Magic coach said multiple coaches commented on how her girls stayed so energetic and so upbeat amidst the ugly weather.
“I’m just proud that they did their thing,” said Nygaard. “They didn’t let the weather affect their performance, or their attitude.”

Contact Clay Sawatzke at [email protected]