Almost a year ago, Andover tied for 13th place at the state boys’ track and field meet, but most of the Huskies’ points came from one athlete.
This season the Huskies are showing they’re far from a one-man team. Andover’s victory in the Pony Classic in Stillwater, along with sending 11 athletes to the Hamline Elite Meet, means it has the depth and balance necessary to do well in True Team competition. Good thing, too, because the Huskies go to a section True Team meet in Elk River on May 8.
Head coach Mike Bobbe said Andover’s team goals haven’t really changed.
“We always go into a season with an eye on True Team state, finishing high in our conference and getting as many kids to the (Minnesota State High School League) state meet as possible,” he said. “But we did think we had some good kids this year.”
Andover won the Pony Classic, an invitational in which all events are in relay format, by more than 50 points. It was the third time in five years the Huskies have won the event.
“There were a lot of good teams there, and there were a lot of good teams that weren’t there,” Bobbe said. “But it’s an indication that you have a chance to do well in True Team.”
Senior Thomas Anderson scored 22 of Andover’s 25 points at the 2011 MSHSL Class AA meet. It’s safe to say he’s had a strong start in 2012 as he set a state shot put record of 65 feet, 8 inches in the Pony Classic on April 21. His throw of 61-2 3/4 on April 27 set a Hamline Elite Meet record.
Anderson’s goal is to throw the shot 70 feet before the end of the season, and Bobbe said the Andover coaches believe it’s a legitimate possibility.
“When he set the record (in Stillwater) it wasn’t a nice day,” Bobbe said. “We didn’t have good weather for the Elite Meet, either.
“He’s definitely thrown in the upper 60s in practice. We don’t measure every throw, but we have a good idea of what he’s doing.”
Anderson also finished second in the discus at the Hamline Elite Meet. DeShawn Crutch was third in the 300-meter hurdles and sixth in the 110 hurdles. Zach Roy placed in the triple jump and long jump.
“Overall, the biggest thing for me is we were able to have some kids compete at the site of the (MSHSL state) meet,” Bobbe said. “You can’t downplay that. Getting some experience there is very important.”
Two sophomores, Chris Larson and Austin Lorch, have helped the Huskies in sprints. Larson earned a spot in last week’s Elite Meet in the 100 meter dash. They help balance a Huskies’ lineup that faces a tough challenge at the True Team sectional next week at Elk River.
“Anoka is the No. 1 team to beat,” Bobbe said. “They’re always a solid team and Pete (Tremaine, Anoka’s coach) does a very good job with his guys. I see Champlin Park as a darkhorse; they’ve got some nice sprinters and jumpers. And you never know what you’re going to see from Osseo.”
Mike Shaughnessy is at firstname.lastname@example.org