Alexandria girls enter the state track meet vying for multiple titles

The Alexandria girls’ track and field team has some top-level talent that is ready to be on display at the state meet that runs this Friday and Saturday at Hamline University.

Head coach Meghan Orgeman-Crumb said the goal for this group as a team is to finish higher than it did a year ago. Alexandria finished 12th in 2013. This year, the Cardinals feature a 4×100 relay team of Karly Betterman, Tayler Kaufman, Mady Urman and Wensia Johnson with the third fastest seed time in the state. They also have individuals who are well known for being some of the best at their events in Minnesota.

“This year I hope to finish much closer to the top,” Orgeman-Crumb said of the team point standings. “It always feels good to square up against much larger schools and show the talent that our girls have worked hard to showcase at the state meet.”

Alexandria’s Wensia Johnson (middle) and Mady Urman (second from right) race toward the finish line in the 100-meter dash at the section meet. Johnson and Urman finished first and second at the 8AA meet and will both be running at state this weekend. (Contributed photo by Doug Hasz)

Many of the individuals Alexandria has are no strangers to the limelight of big events. Johnson is well established as one of the top sprinters in Minnesota after winning the 200-meter dash state title as an eighth grader in 2012. She also has two runner-up finishes in the 100-meter dash and one second-place finish in the long jump over the past two seasons.

Johnson told Blaze Fugina of the Echo Press at Alexandria’s home meet on May 13 that she had been dealing with a quad injury earlier this season. She wasn’t happy with her times in the sprint races up to that point, but she is coming off section titles in the 100 and 200 in times of 12.14 and 25.21, respectively.

Johnson might have to go faster than that to win a state title in both events this weekend. There’s no doubt that she’s capable and that none of the talented sprinters at the AA level are taking her lightly after the last couple seasons.

The Hasz sisters are two of the favorites to win both the distance events in St. Paul. The Alexandria sophomores have parlayed their great season in cross country from this past fall into the best track seasons of their careers to this point.

Sophomores Bethany (left) and Megan Hasz run through the finish line during the 1,600-meter run at the 8AA meet. (Contributed photo by Doug Hasz)

Bethany enters the state meet with the fastest seed time of 4:56.10 in the 1,600 run, while Megan is second in 4:56.17. Shaelyn Sorenson (4:56.52) of Tartan and Jenna Truedson (4:58.30) of Bemidji are also right there in the running to capture a title.

The top three seed times in the 3,200-meter run read the same. Bethany enters with the fastest time of 10:33.26. Megan is right behind in 10:35.77, while Sorensen is also near the top after a section time of 10:35.85.

“At the state meet, it always comes down to who is ready to step up that day,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “We’ve seen remarkable things happen each year at state, and I hope that the girls have some of their own remarkable moments.”

The second-year Cardinals head coach said all these girls have trained hard throughout the season to run their best at season’s end. Personal or season bests at the state meet are the expectation if all goes according to plan.

Where that will place them among the state leaders is different for every athlete. With so much top-level talent, it should make for an exciting couple of days for Alexandria athletes at Hamline University.

“The focus is different for every athlete,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “A goal that they all share is to run or jump a personal best. How they end up placing is tied to many different variables, including the level of completion in each event. I would love for all of our athletes to make it into finals and of course for a few of our athletes to walk away as state champions.”

Megan and Bethany Hasz will kick off the state meet on Friday when they join the rest of the 3,200-meter field for that finals race at 9 a.m. Fugina will be covering that race and all of Saturday’s finals, so check the Echo Press website throughout the weekend.