TRACK AND PREPARATION GROUND: Hard work pays off for Drietz in state championship pair | News, Sports, Jobs
ST. MICHAEL – When the starter pistol sounded to signify the start of the 1,600-meter race at the Class A competition on Friday at St. Michael-Albertville High School, Grace Drietz of Canby / Minneota had a plan: Find the leader and stay with it.
Drietz stuck to that game plan, narrowly edging Morgan Gehl of Heron Lake-Okabena / Fulda by 0.26 seconds (5: 00.45 for Drietz, 5: 00.71 for Gehl) to win his first state championship. .
The junior wasn’t done there, however. Almost an hour later, Drietz competed in the 800 meters and found himself in another close battle on the stretch, this time with Gehl and Katrina Sortland of Zumbrota-Mazeppa. Once again, Drietz managed to make a late move and pass the two runners and took first place with a time of 2: 17.36 for his second state championship of the day. Sortland was second with a time of 2: 17.87, followed by Gehl third with a time of 2: 20.29.
“In the end, I just thought, ‘I’m so close now, I just have to keep going” “ said Drietz. “And when I passed those two girls, I was super excited.”
Canby / Minneota coach Sara Hemish said Drietz did a great job executing his approach in every race.
“Grace is a very dedicated and intelligent runner”, Hemish said. “After the sections we wanted her to stay with Morgan because in the 1600 sections Morgan won, so we told her the leader to follow them and stay there and make your move when you’re ready and she l beautifully executed. “
Drietz said it was a great feeling to end the season not only in state competition against some of the top athletes, but also to win a pair of medals as a result.
“It was pretty awesome” said Drietz. “I worked hard for it and it was a good feeling, especially after not having had a track last year.”
Drietz added that she has truly taken her to the next level this season and is delighted to see her hard work pay off.
“I always want to work as hard as possible and I really pushed myself this year” said Drietz. “Although the competitions were a lot smaller during the season, it was cool to see my times pick up.”
Drietz went on to compete in her third event of the day, the 4 × 400 meter relay with teammates RyAnn Hansen, Claire Stoks and Braelyn Merritt. As they narrowly missed the podium with an 11th place time of 4: 15.33, Drietz said they had gained a lot of experience and were ready to come back next season. Hansen was a junior while Stoks was in eighth grade and Merritt was in first grade this year.
“We were quite disappointed [about missing the podium], but we knew we would all be back ”, said Drietz. “This year we had to figure out who would be in the relay, so now that we have a squad we’re excited to be working hard and hopefully getting back to the state.”
Drietz wasn’t the only Canby / Minneota contender to win a medal in the state competition. Junior AJ Josephson ran the 400 and 200 meters while junior Aidyn Bruns competed in the high jump.
In the 400, Josephson was second with a time of 50.03 seconds. Kyler Bade of Plainview-Elgin-Millville took first place with a time of 49.63 seconds. In the 200, Josephson finished 15th with a time of 23.40 seconds. Ethan Lebrija of Morris Area / Chokio-Alberta took first place with a time of 22.30 seconds.
“With the 400, my goal was to run a 49 [seconds] this is what I ran in the sections but I didn’t manage to get that, but I still finished in the Top 3 ”, Josephson said.
Heading into next year, Josephson said he looks forward to spending his senior season with his teammates and hopes to make another trip to the state meeting.
“Overall it has been a fun season and I am looking forward to next year, especially since it will be my last year. Josephson said. “Hopefully I can get back into the 400s and 200s and also bring a relay team to declare and break some of the records in Canby / Minneota.”
Bruns made his way to the podium with a ninth place of 5’2 ″. Nyalaam Jok from Annandale took the first place with a height of 6 ′.
“Throughout the season, I set myself the goal of climbing in height and once I reached 5’2” which is the qualifying height for the state, I wanted to try to get to 5’4“, but I was able to jump regularly at 5’2” and consistency was what I was looking for, ”Bruns said.
Hemish said she is proud of how her athletes have competed this season and can’t wait to see what they can accomplish as a group next year.
“All of our athletes did very well; we didn’t have a season last year so I was very proud of them and they all pretty much all performed as we expected in terms of time and height ”, Hemish said. “Success breeds success and we had a lot of athletes who were close to coming out this year, so hopefully this year shows what can be done to get there and do well if you work hard.”