Saints tracksters set several conference records

St. Francis’ first time through the Mississippi 8 Conference track and field championships yielded some impressive results with the girls team runner-up to St. Michael-Albertville  by11.5 points and the boys third with the same number of points as the girls (86) behind winner STMA and Monticello, May 22.

With a relatively young conference, the chances to etch names to the record book became a reality.

St. Francis' Jack Fenalson clears the hurdle during  the 110-meter hurdles at the Mega Meet, Sauk Rapids-Rice. Photo by Bill Jones
St. Francis’ Jack Fenalson clears the hurdle during the 110-meter hurdles at the Mega Meet, Sauk Rapids-Rice. Photo by Bill Jones

St. Francis coach Andy Forbort thought at least a couple records would fall after looking at the seed times.

“Records are made to be broken but we were happy for (the record-setters),” he said.

The Fighting Saints 4×200 meter relay girls team of Cassidy Day, Justyne Schake, Taylor Karasch and Jessica Justin won the conference title in a meet record time of one minute, 46.59 seconds, lower the record from 1:46.68 set in 2010 by Monticello.

Schake was added to the relay team after an impressive 200-meter dash in the Saints home meet. Justin has battled through an injury since the state meet last June. “She wanted to run and we took a chance with her at anchor, it paid off,” Forbort said.

The Saints 4×800 relay team of Madison Berwald, Megan Larson, Elise Johnson and Rebecca O’Hotto placed second.

Junior jumper Bailey Demar won the triple jump in a meet record distance of 38 feet, eight-and-one-half inches, beating the previous record of 37-0 1/2 set in 2009 by Katie Loberg of Princeton. Demar was runner-up in the long jump, clearing 16-9.

A third record to fall for the Saints came in the discus where freshman Amanda Anderson reached 137-11 to beat the previous mark set in 2007 by Sarah Reasoner by Cambridge-Isanti of 123-02. Anderson won by nearly 24 feet. She placed seventh in the shot put while sophomore teammate Natalie St. Marie was runner-up going 36-2, two inches behind STMA’s Lena Wilson for the title.

Forbort said Demar and Anderson are fierce competitors. “We are fortunate to have such high caliber athletes who are also top-notch students and teammates,” he said. “They both work hard and do whatever is asked of them.”

On the boys’ side, ninth-grader Genuine Matthews tied a conference 100 dash record of 11.10 set by Buffalo’s Kaleb Stevens in 2010. Matthews also beat the 200 dash record but placed second in 22.40. The previous mark of 22.51 was set by STMA’s Cory Kessler in 2007.

Forbort noted how more mature Matthews is, while developing physically.

“Last year he raced too much for us but this year forced us to limit his races due to the weather and then we learned a little last year about him burning out,” Forbort said. “He still gets quite nervous and anxious for his races which I like to see. He is another outstanding athlete but even better student and person.”

Junior Jonathon Santiago won the 300 hurdles in a meet record time of 38.68. He broke the previous record of 38.97 set by Buffalo’s Jerome Begin set in 2011. Santiago also set a school record in the 110 hurdles (14.78) but placed second in only his fourth competitive race of the season after dealing with injuries early on.

Santiago also led off the record-setting Saints 4×200 relay team with Kolton Oie, Ron Olson and Matthews that posted a record time of 1:29.76. The team beat the previous mark of 1:32.63 set by Buffalo in 2007.

Forbort said he had no idea about the 4×200 team when the season started. “Last year we used (Santiago) in the 4×400 and two pieces from that team returned but have been injured, Anthony Cole and Olsen, so we started looking to the 4×100 and 4×200 for (Santiago’s) third race,” he said.

Olson has turned out personal-bests all season and Oie decided on track after three seasons of baseball to provide another solid component to the team.

“The group is hungry to work and get better,” Forbort said.

The 4×400 relay team of Anthony Cole, Tyler Palum, Jacob Snelling and Grant Olsen was second in 3:30.68.

Junior Tyler Pallum was third in the 400 dash in 52.0.

Jason Olson is at
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