Points add up to Milaca section crown

Every point matters.

Milaca’s girls track and field team could attest to that after winning the Section 5A championship Wednesday, May 29, at St. John’s University in Collegeville.

The Wolves, behind four first places, two second places, one fourth place, one sixth place and a very important eighth place, won the title with 66 points. Litchfield placed second with 65 points.

It was Milaca’s first section track and field title.

“I’m still elated,” said co-head coach Jeremy Mikla days after the meet. “I’m very proud of the team unity the girls, and the boys, showed this season. Knowing this was a first for Milaca track and field makes the feeling even more special.”

Milaca and Litchfield battled back and forth throughout the meet.

“The girls knew it was going to come down to the last couple of events and that they had to do their best and then hope for the best,” said Gwen Garber, Milaca’s other co-head coach. “Assistant coach Spencer Sommerlot was keeping very close tabs on the day’s points and knew exactly where we were sitting.

“Neither Milaca or Litchfield had a team in the final running event, the 4×400 relay, so we were waiting for just one set of results at the end – the triple jump. Litchfield had a jumper in the event and we knew if she came in first we would lose by one point. She came in second which put us in first place by one point. The girls and boys waited for the official results to be post. I don’t know about the other coaches and our kids, but I was holding my breath until they actually announced the scores!”

Here’s how the girls accumulated their winning total:

•100-meter dash. Senior Kaija Crowe placed first in 12.68 seconds. 10 points.

•200-meter dash. Crowe was first with a time of 26.04. 10 points.

•High jump. Crowe won the event at 5-feet, 3-inches. 10 points.

•4×200-meter relay. Crowe, junior Sarah Forker and sophomores Allie Terpstra and Irina Danilyuk breezed to first place in 1:46.53. 10 points.

•Long jump. Terpstra placed second at 16-feet, 5.75 inches. 8 points.

•100-meter hurdles. Terpstra placed second in 16.06. 8 points.

•Pole vault. Forker placed fourth at 9-feet, 2-inches while sophomore Tara Airhart placed sixth at 8-8. 9 points.

•Shot put. Senior Kylie Muehring placed eighth with a distance of 30-feet, 10 inches. 1 point.

Total: 66 wonderful points.

Terpstra set a school record in the long jump, breaking the mark of 16-feet, 4-inches by Jodi Judd in 1979.

“Kaija was dominating,” said Mikla. “She took control the minute she stepped on the track for the preliminaries. It will be great to watch her at the state meet.”

Mikla cited Muehring’s point in the shot put as being crucial.

“Kylie has improved so much,” said Mikla. “I can’t think of a better way for her to go out than to give us the point we needed to carry the team to victory.”

The Class A State Meet is Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Friday’s schedule has:

-Terpstra competing in the prelims of the 100 hurdles at 3:30 p.m.

-Crowe competing in the 100 meter prelims at 3:50.

-Terpstra competing in the finals of the long jump, starting at 3:30.

-Crowe competing in the finals of the high jump, starting at 3:30.

-Crowe competing in the 200 dash prelims at 5:54 p.m.

-The 4×200 relay competing in the prelims at 4:12.

Saturday’s schedule:

The 100 hurdles finals are at 4:17, the 100 dash finals are at 4:33, the 4×200 relay finals are at 4:50 and the 200 dash finals are at 6:30.

“I felt very good about my performance at the section meet,” said Crowe, who ended the day with four gold medals. “I’m looking forward to the state meet. All the training we’ve done leads up to this. Now, we just have to go after it.”

“I like our girls’ chances at state,” said Mikla. “All they can do is give it their best shot.”

Milaca’s boys team scored four points.

Junior Cam Sundberg placed seventh in the 1,600 run in 4:52.95 and the 4×100 relay team of juniors Mike Warren and Jeson Erickson and sophomores Josiah Forker and Levi Hunt placed seventh in 46.15.

Foley won the boys title with 101 points, followed by Maple Lake with 75 points.