Track and Field: Doumbia caps off a stellar senior season at Class AA State Meet, boys tie for 21st as a team
Doumbia places 4th in the 200, 8th in the 100 and 9th in the 400 while the 4x400m relay team takes 8th.
ST. MICHAEL - Before his junior year began, Christian Doumbia wasn’t on the Alexandria boys track and field team. But come the spring of 2021, Doumbia began his tenure on the team and ended his journey on Saturday at the 2022 MSHSL Class AA State Track and Field Meet by finishing in the top nine of three track events.
“Honestly, it felt crazy,” Doumbia said about competing at the state track meet. "Last year, I was just starting track and didn’t know what I was doing.”
The most running Doumbia said he had done before joining the track team was in basketball practices during his freshman and sophomore years.
Doumbia finished ninth in the 400m dash (51.03), eighth in the 100m dash (11.40) and fourth in the 200m dash (22.30).
“Being able to finish it by coming out to this is crazy,” Doumbia said. “This honestly is probably the way I wanted it to end.”
Doumbia’s main motivation for joining the track and field team was to find something fun to do outside.
“I joined mostly because of warm weather and I wanted to be outside,” Doumbia said. “I thought track was the thing I could do so I thought, ‘Let’s give it a try.’”
Doumbia spoke fondly of his years as a Cardinal and spoke enthusiastically about it.
‘I don't think I would’ve wanted to run on any other team,” Doumbia said. “The support I’ve had has been astronomically good.”
Doumbia is now focused on finding where he’ll go to college to compete. He said he has a couple of schools on his radar.
“I’m proud of Christian for so many reasons,” Alexandria boys head coach Mike Empting said. “He wasn't out for the team as a freshman. His sophomore year, he didn't have track because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He then came out as a junior really, as a first time track athlete and had an okay season; he was injured a lot throughout the season but stuck with it. He came out this year with a great attitude and he wanted to be successful.”
Empting said that Doumbia has been successful and has “worked so hard and come so far.”
Meghan Orgeman, the head coach of the Alexandria girls track and field team who worked with Doumbia on the 400m dash, had similar things to say.
“That kid has so much heart and he’s laser-focused on what he wants,” Orgeman said. “I got to coach him in the 400 and early on, he asked me about race model and how do we strategically race the 400. With how much heart he has, the best answer for that kid was, 'You race it like Christian Doumbia races it.”'
Doumbia won Central Lakes Conference titles this year in the 200 and 400 and he won both those events at the Section 8AA Meet as well.
“He gets out there and he competes and we talk about him being like a freight train,” Orgeman said. “Freight trains are really hard to slow down because they get so much speed going and he is such a speed demon.”
Doumbia was just one of a handful of Cardinals who made the finals at the state track and field meet.
Senior Myles Sansted ran in the 1600m and placed 13th while also running in the 4x400m relay with senior Gavin Ashmore, sophomore Owen Draper and junior Riley Wagner. The Cardinals finished eighth in the 4x400m finals with a time of 3:33.17.
These finals finishes, along with senior Will Heydt’s third place finish in the triple jump (44-10.25) and senior Joey Lanoux’s ninth place finish in the shot put on Thursday, gave Alexandria 20 meet points.
The Cardinals tied for 21st at the state meet along with Rock Ridge.
The 2022 season was a successful one for the boys teams as they won a conference title and the Section 8AA title. The girls did the same and won their 11th straight section title.
In the eyes of the Alexandria coaches, the Class AA state meet was a culmination of the work the Cardinals have put in all season despite the weather being rocky to begin the spring.
“What's great about this team is the culture,” Orgeman. “They don't get hooked on things that aren't going well. They focus on what they can control. And they focus on what is going well. We found other ways to train and navigate the weather. This team doesn't make excuses. They don't get caught up in what's not going right. They just keep control of their own variables and that's why they compete well at the end of the year.”
Now the program’s goal is focused on maintaining that culture.
“Because of how impactful our seniors are every year, the culture is so firmly set that it's easy,” Orgeman said. “Kids enter into the program and the seniors take over that culture and teach it while the freshmen, sophomores and juniors watch them. Then when those seniors leave, another group of seniors comes over, trying to be those seniors before them. This is a really special group of seniors and I get emotional just thinking about not having them with us next season. They were such great role models and mentors and leaders, and they really pulled everybody else to excellence.”