03 June 2012

Boys Track: Saving the best for last

The 4x 400 relay team of (l to r) Tommy Weigel, Tyler Lerbakken, Tanner Grubb and Chad Retterath is headed to the state meet

Heading into the final event of the day at Saturday's Section 1AA Championships at Lakeville South it looked as though the Tigers would be sitting out the 2012 state meet.

They had put together a productive day against top flight competition but the best they had to show was a trio of third place finishes, one place short of qualifying for the big show.                                              
Based on seed time it appeared at be the 4x400 relay team of Tyler Lerbakken, Chad Retterath, Tanner Grubb and Tommy Weigel would also do well to finish third.

The Farmington foursome ended the meet with flourish, however, getting quality efforts from all four runners and surviving what coach Brian Helmstetter termed a "horrible" hand-off to take second in 3:29.58.

"I didn't think a 3:29 was going to make it to state," Helmstetter said, "but the hand-off cost us two or three seconds which we are going to need to make it to the the finals st state.

"We will run faster next week as Tanner has only had a half season of training and the other three are competitors. ...I am especially proud of Chad who came back from three injury-plagued seasons to get after it this year."

The Tigers, who ranked ninth among 14 teams in the final section standings with 34 points, earned two third place finishes in individual events. Freshman Justin Hyytinen ranked third in the 1600-meter run and sophomore Grubb was the third finisher in the 400-meter dash.

Justin Hyytinen 3rd place 1600-meter run (photo by Jim Lindquist)
The 4x800 meter relay quartet of Lerbakken, Retterath, Eric Stoeckman and Hyytinen also earned six third place points.

The 4x200 relay foursome of  Ryan Parco, Weigel, Grubb and Jack Erickson took fifth place. Lerbakken finished sixth in the 400-meter dash and Reid Taubenheim ranked eighth in the pole vault to round out the scoring for the Tigers.

 "Overall, this meet was a great learning experience for our younger athletes," Helmstetter said. "Many of them are ninth and 10th graders and they were competing against some strong competition. This will help them for the years ahead."

The 4x400 relay team will run in the preliminaries Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul in an attempt to make Saturday's championship field..