Every Saint who participated at the Class A State Track Meet held in St. Paul last weekend, medaled.
A girls team of two Saints, seniors Aryn Eckstrom and Emily Hurley claim fourth place finishes. Emily won fourth place in the discus and Aryn won fourth place in the 3200 meter run.
Combined these two Saints led St. James to a 24th place team finish. A total of 79 teams pointed in the Class A Girls Meet.
According to Saints Head Coach Scott Allen this team of two Saints produced the highest team finish since the girls finished 12th in 2007.
Aryn’s fourth place finish came with another personal capstone moment at State.
In claiming fourth in the 3200 meter, her time of 11:17.40 set a new school record. Coach Allen said it broke the old record by 11 seconds. The record was set in 2011 and held by Cheyanne Bowers. That Aryn really raised her performance up several notches in the State Championship race is evident when considering her time at the Section Finals a week earlier was 11:32.63.
In the Section Aryn beat USC runner Emily Mantor by three tenths of a second. At State Aryn beat USC’s Mantor by two tenths of a second.
Aryn was a little more than a second out of a third place finish.
Coach Allen said, “The competition makes you run better. Aryn had trained at pace for an 11:20 time.”
Aryn came up short in the 1600 meter finals. Allen explained, “In the 1600, Aryn was boxed in and had trouble keeping a good pace. Once she got out she made up a lot of ground, but it was too late and she didn't medal.”
Her 13th place time of 5:22.95 was more than five seconds slower than her school recording setting time from earlier this season. She was less than three seconds out of medaling in a second event.
Though there were times this spring when she was personally not happy with her performance, Emily Hurley has had a great spring throwing the discus.
Her fourth place finish at State might fall into the same category. Her final toss of 116’9” was a solid fourth place finish.
The Head Coach said, “Emily was consistent with her throws all over 110 feet, and that was good for 4th place. She has worked hard this year and it definately paid off.”
The Saints Blake Collier won the state boys wheelchair shot put event. Coach Allen said, “Although the only participant in the wheel chair division, Blake did throw his best throw of the year and enjoyed the experience. The crowd cheered for him on each throw.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Saints senior distance runner Johnathan Surber topped off his outstanding career by garnering two medals at State.
In the 3200 meter run Johnathan ran an all time personal best of 9:55.02. He ran a personal best at the Section finals a week earlier with a time of 9:59. In his long running career as a Saint, these were the only two times he cracked the ten minute barrier in the 3200.
Just about nothing pleases Coach Allen more than an athlete peaking at the end of the season.
Coach Allen said Johnathan’s finish, “Was good enough for ninth and a medal.”
Coach Allen needs some research help from the community on Surber’s time, “We would like to have verification of the school record for the boys 3200. It is not in the red hallway or in any documentation that we have at school.” If anyone out there knows what the school record is, please contact the Plaindealer and Coach Allen.
The boys 4x800 meter relay team of Surber, Zuriel Chacon, Luke Tonsager and Noah Pinke finished ninth with a time of 8:19.78. The senior got his second medal in the relay event and three underclassmen will be back next year.
Allen said, “The 4x800 ran about a second slower than at Sections and we were in the slower heat, but did well enough to crack the medal stand for 9th place.”
Summing up the State Meet and the season, Coach Allen said, “I’m very happy with our performances at state.
“All the athletes that performed at state are kids that worked hard not only in practice, but also on their own.
“Every one of them lifted weights regularly and many ran in the off season. It's not rocket science to see why these athletes did this well. I just wish all Saint athletes would do this regardless of their sport.
“In my 20 years of coaching at St James, I have seen many athletes improve in the off season by lifting and running and they would have not had as much success without it. My advice to all athletes, GET IN THE WEIGHT ROOM!!!”
The weight room is open 8-10 am and 5-7 pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.