By Melissa Marohl, Sports Writer
At the beginning of the 2012 track and field season, Mayer Lutheran head coach Tim Bierbaum said his goal was to first draw the teams together as a unit and then to finish at the top of the conference.
While the teams’ fifth place finishes in the conference might not be the "top" he expected, both the Crusaders boys’ and girls’ teams consistently finished in the top five at every meet this season and proved their team unity at True Team.
The Mayer Lutheran girls kicked off the season by winning their home quad on April 10. They finished off the month of April with a fourth place finish at Hutchinson on April 12, a second place finish at LeSueur-Henderson on April 17, a second place finish at St. Croix on April 19, and a fifth place finish at Delano on April 26.
They finished fifth of six teams at St. Michael-Albertville in early May, before competing at the Section 4A True Team meet at Sibley East on May 8. At True Team, the girls finished second, losing to winner Maple Lake by only one point in a 546-545 contest.
The Crusader girls went on to finish fifth of eight teams in the Minnesota River Conference Championships, also held at Sibley East on May 17.
The girls bookended their season with another win at Watertown-Mayer on May 24 in the 4A Sub-Section meet. The team advanced numerous events to the section meet, held June 2. From the section meet, Jessica Klaustermeier (200-meter dash), the 4×200 relay (Josie Schreiner, Nicole Manteuffel, Ashlyn Hucky, and Klaustermeier), and the 4×400 team (Manteuffel, Klaustermeier, Sam Bartz, and Holly Johnson) all advanced to the state competition.
In the state competition at Hamline University on June 8-9, the 4×400 team was fifth on day one and advanced to the finals. In the finals, the team finished eighth with a time of 4:08.27.
The 4×200 team did not advance to the finals, but finished sixth in its heat on June 8 with a time of 1:48.17.
Klaustermeier was fifth in her heat, tenth overall in the preliminary competition and fell five one-hundredths short of qualifying for the finals.
The story of the Mayer Lutheran boys’ team was similar to the girls this season, turning in strong performances. The Crusaders were second at their home quad on April 10, fifth at Hutchinson on April 12, and second at LeSueur-Henderson on April 17.
Mayer Lutheran followed up with another second place finish at St. Croix on April 19, and two fifth place finishes at Delano (April 26) and St. Michael-Albertville (May 3).
The boys were second at True Team Sections on May 8, but suffered a less heartbreaking loss than the girls, over 100 points behind first place Maple Lake.
The Crusader men were fifth at the MRC Championships on May 17, before winning the 4A Sub-Section competition on May 24.
Advancing multiple entries to the section competition on June 2, the Crusaders then advanced two relay teams to the state tournament.
At Hamline for the state competition, the 4×400 team of Sean Bartz, Kyle Fredrickson, Consti Siggelkow, and Alex Fredrickson finished fifth in their heat, tenth overall. Although it wasn’t enough to advance to the finals, the team turned in a strong time of 3:29.40.
Also advancing to state was the 4×800 team of Alex and Kyle Fredrickson, and Chase and Jesse Greenhagen. With no preliminary competition, 17 teams competed in a final race on June 9. The Crusaders finished tenth with a time of 8:21.91.
The Mayer Lutheran teams will lose six seniors for 2013 including Sean Bartz, Anna Boote, Jessica Klaustermeier, Jennifer Krentz, Nicole Manteuffel, Lindsay Pallas, and Josie Schreiner.