Dynamic duos pace boys track team

With two of their best athletes competing at the Hamline Elite Meet Friday, the Magic still found themselves near the top of the scoreboard at their home invite, thanks in large part to two other standouts.

While Sam Johnson and Matt Grathwohl represented the Magic well at Hamline, Jake Olson and Andrew Mergen helped lead the way back home as Monticello finished in second place at the seven-team Monticello Invite. The Magic, who scored 142 points, finished just a point and a half behind first-place Osseo. Alexandria finished third with 126 points.

“We were going in there with full intentions of trying to win the meet,” said Wik, despite missing two of their top performers. “We came up just a sliver short.”

Wik, and his athletes, were still quite pleased with the end result.

Andrew Mergen and Jake Olson helped lead Monticello to a second place finish at their home invite. (Photos by Clay Sawatzke)

Andrew Mergen and Jake Olson helped lead Monticello to a second place finish at their home invite. (Photos by Clay Sawatzke)

“I was very happy with it,” said Olson

“It was really cool that we were that close behind Osseo,” added Mergen.

“Very happy,” confirmed Wik. “We had a good week.”

Mergen and his teammates set the tone early at the home meet.

The sophomore runner joined Levi Bican, Derek Secord and Alex Hoglund to team up for and win the 4×800, finishing in a time of 8:44.3.

It was the beginning of a trend for the Magic, who would compete well in relays all afternoon.

Monticello added a fourth place finish in the 4×200, a second place finish in the 4×400 and another victory, this one in the 4×100.

Sprinters Nate Hoglund, Olson, Lowell Laudert and Ryder Beckman completed the event in a time of 45.88, good for the first place finish.

“That was really awesome,” said Olson. “I felt that it was the best handoffs we’ve ever had.”

Wik was happy to see the relays, which are such a big part of any meet, pay off for the Magic.

“You’re committing four athletes to one event, so you definitely want to maximize your points there,” he said.

Besides being on the winning relay teams, Mergen and Olson both turned in impressive individual performances.

Mergen won the 800-meter event, finishing in a time of 2:03.62, while Olson won the shot put (45-07.5) and took second in the discus (144-03.25).

Monticello’s final individual victory came in the triple jump, where the Magic actually swept the top two spots. Andrew Mell finished second with a jump of 39-10.5, while Ahmed Mire set a personal record and won the event with a whopping distance of 42-02.5.

 

Sam Johnson and Matt Grathwohl represented the Magic well at the Hamline Elite Meet Friday.

Sam Johnson and Matt Grathwohl represented the Magic well at the Hamline Elite Meet Friday.

Hamline Elite Meet

At the Hamline meet, Johnson and Grathwohl both represented Monticello well. Johnson, competing in the 400-meter dash, took fourth with a time of 49.14, while Grathwohl (15.51) finished eighth in the 110 meter hurdles.

The experience was valuable to both runners.

“It’s basically like a state meet,” said Johnson. “There is a bunch of really good competition, and the atmosphere is great.”

For Grathwohl, who was getting his first experience on a stage of that size, it was a big moment.

“It’s kind of scary,” he admitted. “But at the same time, it’s super exciting. Hopefully it will help a lot.”

 

Looking ahead

Monticello’s next scheduled meet is today, at 4 p.m., at St. Michael-Albertville, weather permitting. Following that, they have their True Team meet next Thursday. The way they performed this past week, they have a lot of confidence that they can do some special things over the course of the next few weeks.

“I think [this week was] a good stepping stone, to see what we are actually capable of,” said Olson. “A conference title, a True Team title … anything is within reach right now.”

 

Contact Clay Sawatzke at clay.sawatzke@ecm-inc.com

 
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