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Track and Field: Alexandria boys team's confidence grows as outdoor season begins

Alexandria boys track and team earns second at first home meet

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Alexandria's Gavin Ashmore running in a race in a meet on April 11, 2022. Ashmore earned first in the 300m hurdles and third in the 100m hurdles at the meet.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

After being delayed multiple times, the Alexandria track and field program finally had the chance to host its first meet of the year on Monday and jumpstart its outdoor season.

“It was supposed to happen Thursday (April 7), but it didn’t. It was supposed to happen Saturday, but it didn’t, but we did get it in,” Alexandria head coach Mike Empting said. “If we didn't get this one, and we don't get Thursday, we're looking at about three weeks without a competition. That’s pretty monotonous for the kids. They want to be able to get out against other opponents. So I think it was pretty important that we got this in.”

The Alexandria boys finished in second place (96.5 points) at the quad, behind Brainerd (102.5 points). This is Alexandria’s second runner-up finish in as many competitions as it also finished runner-up to Brainerd at the CLC Indoor Championships on April 2.

With just three other teams in the meet, Thief River Falls, Brainerd and Rocori, all events had multiple competitors from each school.

This is something that Empting says he and the program are grateful to be able to have happen.

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“Meets like this are really great early in the outdoor season, where we get everybody in, unlimited entry, everybody gets a chance to be out there and participate in multiple events and get their feet wet,” Empting said. “I think the more opportunities that we get for our kids to compete, especially our young kids to compete at a high school level varsity level track meet, the better. It’s great competition. There are three other awesome schools [that came] that always bring good competition and good numbers.”

The Cardinals had three top finishes on Monday.

Joel Brault, Thomas Klecker, Riley Wagner and Owen Draper took home first in the 4x800-meter Relay (9:06.1). Gavin Ashmore took first in the 300M hurdles (43.73), while Venald Becker took first place in the 200 dash (23.89). In the triple jump, Will Heydt took first (45-02.50).

Alexandria had several runner-up finishes, two of which came from Christian Doumbia. Doumbia took second in the 100-meter dash (11.46) and as a part of the 4x200 relay team along with Becker, Evan Kludt and Walker Hennen (1:35.04). Otto Anderson took second in the 100-meter hurdles (17.64), while Myles Sansted took second in the 1600-meter run (4:52.36). Teagan Pfeffer finished second in the long jump (19-10.50)

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Alexandria's Otto Anderson running in a hurdles event in a meet on April 11, 2022. Anderson took second in the 100m hurdles and third in the 300m hurdles.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Rounding out the runner-up finishes for the Cardinals, Dylan Frusciante tied for second in the high jump (5-06.00) while Joseph Lanoux finished second in the discus throw (113-00).

The Cardinals had three third-place finishes, which include Ashmore finishing third in the 100-meter hurdles (17.69) and Throck Lehmann finishing third in the 1600 run (4:57.45). Wagner finished third in the 400 dash (55.52), while Anderson finished third in the 300 hurdles (46.38).

Matthew Johnson finished third in the 200 dash (25.08) and Homelvig in the discus throw (107-03).

With more experience from these early-season meets, potentially comes more confidence. That continued growth down the stretch for the Cardinals will continue to be important at meets such as the True Team Section Meet on May 10.

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“I think the more opportunities that they can get out there and get on the track and get in the ring and take their chances at their competition, the more confidence it builds,” Empting said.

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Alexandria's Samson Hagstrom running in the 300m hurdles. He placed fourth in the event on April 11, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

In this early part of the season, teams mix up their lineups to see what sticks and balance the load throughout the team.

“We'll mix it up more as we go along,” Empting said. “Right now, we're still kind of just trying to get our kids comfortable with the events that they're comfortable with. Early on, when we were indoors, they just maybe did one or two events. Out here, they're doing two or three. They’re doing the 100, 200 and a field event or the 100, 200-meter relay and field event or a distance event and a long sprint event, or something like that. [We’re] not really mixing it up too much on them yet, but just kind of expanding them and building a little meet endurance.”

Alexandria is set to have a meet on Thursday at Brainerd, although the expected weather conditions may postpone that meet.

ALEXANDRIA QUAD - TEAM RESULTS - Brainerd, 102.5; Alexandria, 96.5; Rocori, 54; Thief River Falls, 17

ALEXANDRIA TOP FIVE FINISHES - 4x800M Relay - Joel Brault, Thomas Klecker, Riley Wagner, Owen Draper, 9:06.1 - 1st; 100M Hurdles - Otto Anderson, 17.64 - 2nd; Gavin Ashmore, 17.69 - 3rd; Dylan Frusciante, 18.77- 5th; 100M Dash - Christian Doumbia, 11.46 - 2nd; Teagen Pfeffer, 11.99 - 4th; 4x200M Relay - Venald Becker, Evan Kludt, Walker Hennen, Christian Doumbia, 1:35.04 - 2nd; 1600M Run - Myles Sansted, 4:52.36 - 2nd; Throck Lehmann, 4:57.45 - 3rd; Harrison Greathouse, 5:00.91 - 4th; 4x100M Relay - Macklen Heydt, Dane Olson, Fiyin Taiwo, Drew Gundberg, 50.02 - 4th; 400M Dash - Riley Wagner, 55.52 - 3rd; 300M Hurdles - Gavin Ashmore, 43.73 - 1st; Otto Anderson, 46.38 - 3rd; Daniel Jackson, 48.76 - 4th; Samson Hagstrom, 50.23 - 5th; 200M Dash - Venald Becker, 23.89 - 1st; Matthew Johnson, 25.08 -3rd; Elliott Kent, 25.31 - 4th; 3200M Run - Payton Gessford, 11:13.42 - 4th; 4x400M Relay - Taven Ebnet, Evan Kludt, Elliott Kent, Jordan Nicholson, 3:59.63 - 4th; Harrison Greathouse, Nicholas Meyers, Hunter Mohr, Khelden Ritter, 3:59.83 - 5th; High Jump - Dylan Frusciante, 5-06.00 - T2nd; Otto Anderson, J5-06.00 - 4th; Fequiere Becker, 5-04.00 - 5th; Pole Vault - Erik Schabel, 10-06.00 - 4th; Long Jump - Teagan Pfeffer, 19-10.50 - 2nd; Christian Doumbia, 18-05.50 - 4th; Walker Hennen, 17-10.00 - 5th; Triple Jump - Will Heydt, 45-02.50 - 1st; Elliott Kent, 36-00.00 - 5th; Discus Throw - Joseph Lanoux, 113-00, 2nd; Zander Homelvig, 107-03 - 3rd; Ethan Hoppe - 102-70 - 5th; Shot Put - Joseph Lanoux, 41-10.00 - 4th; Zander Homelvig, 41-00.00 - 5th

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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