by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Senior Sami Jo Brinkmann is headed to state as the lone representative of the Central track and field team.
At the Class AA Section 2 tournament on May 31 at Mankato West High School, Brinkmann took first in the shot put, throwing it 39 feet, 10 inches to qualify.
Kately Weber of St. Clair finished first in the event with a throw of 45-0.
Brinkmann, ranked second in shot put behind Weber, will compete at the state meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Hamline University.
Head coach Gary Kosek praised Brinkmann for her performance in both shot and discus, where she finished fourth with a throw of 113-7.
“Sami picked the opportune time to have her best meet,” said Kosek, adding both her throws were personal best. “39’ is the state qualifier distance so when she through a 39-4 with her second throw of finals it took a lot of the pressure off of her. Then she went out and threw a 39-10 to top it off.”
Kosek also thanked Joel Brinkmann, the throwing coach and Sami’s dad.
“He volunteered to help not only her, but all of our throwers,” said Kosek. “And he played a key role in her success.”
In total the Central girls took 11th among 24 teams with 39 team points behind winner Belle Plaine (98) and the boys had two team points with winner Waseca (90).
“There’s not one thing you can do to slow down or minimize the opponents talents,” he said. “You can only control what you do in track and field. And many of our kids stepped up and had some of their best efforts, and at the end of the meet that’s all you can hope for.”
Individually, Abbie Schnabel topped her personal best in the 800 by 4 seconds to take third (2:24.38) and Judy Larson finished fifth in the 1600 (5:34.24).
Competing in four events, Parry Larson finished 13th in the preliminaries of the 200 (28.22), finished 12th in the 400 (1:06.66) and 12th in the triple jump (31-8.75).
Also, the girls’ 4-by-800 took eighth (11:08.15)
On the boys side, Alex Wischnack took seventh in the 3200 (10:35.00) and 12th in the 1600 (5:03.36) and Alek Bixby tied for ninth in the high jump (5-7).
“In general all the kids that made it to sections should feel proud,” said Kosek. “It’s tough to get there. Certainly they would have liked to advance to state, but I think each of them understands that they accomplished some great things this year.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at email@example.com.