Much like it did last year, the Watertown-Mayer girls’ track and field team sent only a handful of athletes to the state meet, but walked away as one of the state’s top teams.
This year, the Royals sent five girls to compete in six events at the state meet Thursday and Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul, and ended up finishing in fifth place in the team standings. The Royals also had a state champion for the second year in a row when freshman Katie Heilman won the triple jump.
Last year, the Royals sent five girls to compete in four events, and finished in second place. The Royals were state champs in two events in 2012.
Heilman capped a grueling day on Saturday — she ran a leg of the 4×800 meter relay and the finals of the 400 meters — by winning the triple jump with a distance of 37-feet-4.5 inches. Heilman also finished in third place in the 400 meters after finishing fourth in that event a year ago. This year, her time of 58.92 seconds was a little more than a second behind champion Madalyn Kammer of Chatfield.
Heilman was also part of the Royals 4×800 relay team, which won the state title last year, and made the podium again this year with a third-place finish. Senior Laura Hertzog ran the first leg, followed senior Hannah Johnson, and then Heilman. In the anchor leg, junior Liz Miller closed a huge gap and ran down the second-place runner at one point, and even began creep up on the leader. However, the gap was just too big, and Miller ran out of gas with about 125 meters to go as the Royals ended up third in a time of 9:40.45.
Miller also competed for the Royals in the 1,600 meters. She finished in fourth place with a time of 5:10.46, only 0.32 seconds out of second place. Miller also ran in the 300-meter hurdles, but didn’t advance out of Friday’s prelims.
Erica Cleckler was also competing at state for the Royals in the shot put. She finished in 16th place with a throw of 30-feet-7.5 inches.
The Watertown-Mayer boys’ team also had a number of athletes competing at the state meet, including Hunter Hulley, who qualified in the high jump for the second year in a row. This year, he made the podium by finishing in eighth place with a jump of 6-feet-2-inches.
The Royals also competed in the 4×200-meter relay. The squad made up of Tyler Nelson, Nix Hix, Luke Sandquist and Dan Raiter finished fifth in the second heat with a time of 1:33.08, missing the finals by two spots.
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org