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Cardinal girls run away with home tri

Wensia Johnson (left) sprints to a win during the 100-meter dash in Alexandria on Tuesday. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Sartell-St. Stephen and Willmar were no match for the Alexandria girls’ track and field team on Tuesday at the annual Jefferson High School triangular.

The Cardinals took first place at the meet with a score of 72.20, well ahead of second place Sartell-St. Stephen with a score of 59.80. Willmar rounded out third place with a team score of 54.

Nine first place finishes led the Cardinals to the top spot at the meet. Wensia Johnson led the way with two first place finishes in the 100 meter dash in a time of 12.39 and the long jump with a distance of 16-10.50.

Other individual firsts were grabbed by Mady Urman in the 200 meter dash with a time of 27.00, Sara Wegner in the 400 meter dash with a time of 1:05.23, Bethany Hasz in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:20.78, JeAnna Miller in the high jump with a mark of 5-02 and Karly Betterman in the triple jump with a distance of 33-09.00.

Johnson’s two first place finishes were no surprise Tuesday given her status among the state’s best high school track and field athletes.

“She is a natural talent, she has a true gift,” head coach Meghan Orgeman-Crumb said. “I think we’ll begin to see that shine come conference, section and state.”

Last season, Johnson finished in second place at the Class AA state meet in the 100 meter dash in a time of 11.98 and second in the long jump with a distance of 17-11.25.

Johnson has had previous success in the 200 meter dash as well. In 2012 she finished as the state champion with a time of 24.65.

So how does she feel about her running this season?

“Slow,” Johnson said. “I have an injury so I am trying not to baby it, but I am (also) trying not to hurt it. I feel like I could push it a little harder but I am kind of scared to.”

Johnson said she pulled her quad earlier this year, which kept her out of competition for a brief period. She has raced in Alexandria’s previous three meets and neither she nor Alexandria’s coaches are very concerned about it moving forward.

Johnson hopes to make a return to the state meet this June and compete in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the long jump. Her goals for the competition are as high as ever.

“Oh yeah, to win it,” Johnson said. “That was my goal last year.”


The Cardinals hope to follow a finals appearance in 2013 for the 4x100 relay team with another this June.

The 2013 relay team consisted of now graduated Gabrielle Koel and Briquelle Bowden, current senior Urman and Johnson. This 4x100 team took sixth place in the state after running a finals time of 49.36.

The 2014 Cardinals feel they have a team that could be even faster once they begin the section and state competitions.

“Right now they have the fastest team in the state if we can stick the handoffs,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “So I am hoping for good things there.”

Betterman and Urman are senior leaders for the Cardinals who both have competed in the 4x100 relay this season. Orgeman-Crumb said Urman is running the fastest she has in four years on the Cardinals’ track and field team.

“She approaches practice with the utmost intensity every single day,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “She’s a great role model and an example for all the younger athletes, and her times consistently get better. She’s running faster than she ever has in her four years here.”

Besides running the sprint relays, Betterman competes in many other events for the Cardinals. This helps the team bring in extra points and improve its score in competitions.

“She has been bringing in major points for us this year in the hurdles, in the triple jump and in the relays,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “She’s another senior who does everything right.”


Alexandria’s Bethany and Megan Hasz have both been among the top distance runners in the state over the past few seasons.

After winning the 3,200-meter race at the Hamline Elite Meet, Megan has missed a few competitions as she is nursing a heel injury.

“Right at the base of her heel is sore, so we’re being smart,” Orgeman-Crumb said. “We want her healthy come conference, section and state, so she hasn’t run the last two weeks. Her pain is going away so hopefully we’ll have her strong.”


TEAM – 1. Alexandria, 72.20; 2. Sartell-St. Stephen, 59.80; 3. Willmar, 54

ALEXANDRIA INDIVIDUALS – 100 METER DASH – 1. Wensia Johnson, 12.39; 2. Tayler Kaufman, 13.24; 4. Tahlia Bowden, 13.44

200 METER DASH – 1. Mady Urman, 27.00; 4. Kelby Olson-Rodel, 28.72

400 METER DASH – 1. Sara Wegner, 1:05.23; 2. Julia Sieling, 1:06.10; 3. Morgan Melrose, 1:06.17

800 METER RUN – 1. Bethany Hasz, 2:20.78; 3. Kiyana Miller, 2:38.04

4x100 METER RELAY – 1. Alexandria High School C, 51.49

4x200 METER RELAY – 1. Alexandria High School A, 1:47.9

4x800 METER RELAY – 2. Alexandria High School A, 9:56.28

HIGH JUMP – 1. JeAnna Miller, 5-02.00

POLE VAULT – T3. Tayler Kaufman, 6-00.00

LONG JUMP – 1. Wensia Johnson, 16-10.50

TRIPLE JUMP – 1. Karly Betterman, 33-09.00; 2. JeAnna Miller, 33-01.00

SHOT PUT – 2. Cheyenne Hendrickson, 33-07.00

DISCUS – 3. Cheyenne Hendrickson, 112-05

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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