The Holy Family Catholic girls’ track and field team captured the Section 4A team championship last week, solidifying the Fire’s first team title in school history on the heels of seven state qualifiers in six events.
The Fire picked a great day to be at their finest as well, as the top two finishers in every event, plus anyone who could post a qualifying standard, would qualify for this weekend’s state meet at Hamline.
“The best thing about the Holy Family girls winning their first section team championship was that it truly was a team effort,” Fire head coach Ian Parzyck said. “Sprints, jumps, hurdles, relays, distance, and throws all scored valuable points this weekend, which speaks to the quality and well-roundedness of this girls’ squad this season.”
The Fire girls collected 114.5 points in their first season back in Class A, ousting defending section champion St. Croix Lutheran, who finished second at 103.
The Holy Family athlete who had arguably the best day all was junior hurdler Erin Brown. Brown not only led the Fire in points on the weekend, she became the first Holy Family girls’ hurdler to not only qualify for state in a hurdling event, but in both events, breaking her own school record in the 100s in the process. She won the section title in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles, winning in 15.28 seconds in the 100 and 48.29 seconds.
“[Brown] was amazing today,” Parzyck said. “She received challenges in both races, but she showed her competitiveness and determination by powering through to win both events.
The 4 X 800 meter relay team of seniors Molly Eastman and Eileen Curran, and Fire sophomores Maria Eastman and Allie Bodin coasted to the Section 4A crown, winning in 9 minutes, 53.21 seconds.
Bodin and Curran were far from finished with their state qualifying efforts as they book-ended the day. The duo teamed up again with Michaela Rasmussen and Claire Oberle to win the 4×400 meter relay in 4:08.05, qualifying for state. This was the first section title for any Fire 4×400 team in school history.
Rasmussen also qualified for state by finishing second in the 400 meter dash in 61.43 seconds, marking the first time a Fire girl has qualified in this event since the school opened in 2000.
“It’s pretty easy to point out the successes that our individual athletes had this weekend,” Parzyck said, “but you have to also give credit to the Holy Family relays.”
Oberle became a double qualifier by finishing third in the 100 meter dash and meeting the qualifying time necessary for a state trip. Oberle finished in 12.40 seconds, besting the 12.92 qualifying time, for what will be her fourth state appearance in the event.
“The 100 meter dash on the boys and girls sides was by far the most quality race of the entire meet,” Parzyck said. “Of the 18 athletes who competed in that event, 13 of them qualified for state. You more than likely saw the State Class A 100 meter dash champion if you were watching this section meet.”
While the Holy Family State Meet contingent is young (only 3 seniors), almost all of them have state meet experience. Of the seven girls making the trip only Brown and Bodin will be competing in their first meet.
The Fire boys finished fifth in the Section 4A meet, led by junior Chazz Johnson, who qualified for state in three events. The Fire totaled 53 points behind team champion St. Croix Lutheran at 158.5.
“Our top athletes had a great day,” Parzyck said, “but I was just happy to see the Holy Family boys team climb back up in the standings again. A top 5 team place is a very respectable showing for us.”
Johnson finished second overall in the long jump, qualifying for state with his best jump of the year at 22 feet.
He went on to finish third in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, besting the qualifying time in both events for his state entries. In his 22.39 second finish in the semifinals of the 200 meters, Johnson bested the 2011 school record by one one-hundredth of a second.
“Chazz Johnson is a remarkable young athlete who has shown what happens when you add a ton of hard work on top of natural ability,” Parzyck said. “He has come a long way from his freshman season and what he has done so far in a Holy Family uniform is simply outstanding.”
Senior Luke Melander just missed a state opportunity in the discus, finishing third with a personal best throw over 12.5 feet.
In all, the Fire teams are sending eight athletes in nine events to the Class A MSHSL state meet this Friday and Saturday at Hamline.