Editor’s Note: This is the eighth feature in a series of articles about past performances at state track and field meets by area high school athletes. This week’s story highlights the state-meet placers, both boys and girls, from 1990-1994.
Back-to-back state championship victories by four smooth-running girls from Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield highlighted area track and field performances during the early 1990s.
Running at the sports complex in Blaine, the Silver Bullet quartet of Stefanie Johnson, Sara Heisinger, Jenny Bass and Shelly Christians won the 4×800-meter relay in both 1991 and 1992, clipping nearly identical times of 9:31.01 and 9:31.47, respectively. Johnson, Heisinger and Christians all graduated from HLOL in 1992, while Bass was in the Class of 1994.
Fairmont (9:32.81) finished a close second in ’91, while International Falls (9:36.53) was more than five seconds behind the Bullets in ’92.
A pair of individual championships — Slayton’s Jay Hafner (boys high jump, 1990) and Fulda’s Nancy Overman (girls discus, 1994) — along with a state-meet victory by Murray County Central’s boys medley relay in 1994 gave the schools of Johnson Publishing a total of five state titles during the five-year span from 1990-1994.
Hafner, who had a great vertical and also ran well for the Wildcats, placed second in the high jump in 1989, clearing 6-4. He won in 1990 by leaping over the bar at 6-6. He holds the Slayton/MCC school record with a clearance of 6-7.
Overman claimed four-state medals in the throws, including her gold with a long-lasting state-meet record distance of 154-0 in the discus. Her 1994 record lasted 22 years before Jaime Salone of the Blake School in Minneapolis set a new mark at 155-1 in 2016.
MCC’s 1,600-meter medley relay (200-200-400-800) team of Perry McNeil, Dave Swart, Paul LeTendre and Mike Clauson ran a winning time of 3:36.63.
Untiedt, Koch, Rupp, Baumgard, Knuth gets seconds and thirds
Individually, Sioux Valley-Round Lake-Brewster’s Travis Untiedt (1990, boys high jump, third, 6-4) Fulda’s Kelli Koch (1993, girls long jump, second, 17-3 ½), MCC’s Tyson Rupp (1993, boys pole vault, third, 13-9), HL-O-L’s Carrie Baumgard (1994, girls triple jump, third, 35-4 ¾) and MCC’s Nick Knuth (1994, boys 1600-meter run, second, 4:25.78) each placed either second or third in state-meet competition
Overman earned a pair of second-place silver medals as a junior in 1993 with distances of 40-7 in the shot put and 139-4 in the discus. She placed fifth in the shot put (40-1 ½) in the 1994.
With a trio of second-places (two by Overman and one by Koch), Fulda tied for seventh in the final team standings with 30 points in 1993 — the first year of the expanded nine-place scoring system.
Knuth completed a 1-2 Red Rock Conference performance in ’94, finishing a very close second to Mountain Lake’s Josh Metcalf (4:25.64) in the mile.
Koch leaped seven-and-a-half inches farther in ’94, placing third in the long jump with a distance of 17-11.
There were several other state-meet placing performances by area girls, including Windom’s Dana Ferguson (1990, 800-meter run, sixth, 2:25.45). Dana was a student at HL-O through her freshman year in 1987.
Individually, HL-O-L sprinter Kelli Haar finished fourth in the 200-meter dash as an eighth-grader in 1993 (26.21) and placed ninth as a freshman in 1994 (26.40). SV-RL-B’s Heidi Haberman placed eighth in the triple jump in 1994, leaping a distance of 34-2 ½. Basketball stars Laura Wendorff of Fulda and Lora Kluis of MCC tied for sixth in the 1994 high jump, both clearing 5-2.
HLOL (eighth-grader Adele Gade, Heisinger, Bass, Christians) placed sixth in the 4×400 (4:06.35) in ’91 and fourth (4:09.52) in ’92 with the team of Baumgard, Heisinger, Bass and Christians.
Fulda’s 4×200 team of basketball players Claudette Kirchner, Jessica Hogan, Diana Grandgeorge and Wendorff clocked a sixth-place time of 1:48.10 in 1994.
1994 was a huge
year for area boys
In addition to the 1-3 performances by Hafner and Untiedt in the high jump, Fulda’s Chad Carroll (fourth, 800, 2:02.38) and Slayton’s Cory Brown (sixth, pole vault, 13-0) placed in 1990. Brown, who later vaulted at Hamline, soared a fourth-place height of 14-3 in 1991. Carroll had run a fast time of 1:57.76, finishing fourth in 1989.
In 1992, HL-O-L’s Jason Glaser (fifth, triple jump, 42-8) and Harold Henning (sixth, 3200, 9:58.15) each earned state-meet medals.
MCC had a pair of placing relays in 1993. The 4×400 team of LeTendre, Rupp, Ryan Mosley and Clauson churned a third-place time of 3:29.89 and the medley team of LeTendre, Derek Klawitter, Mosley and Clausen finished fifth with a time of 3:42.29.
The following year, the Rebels completed a banner all-around performance by area boys at the state meet in Blaine by placing fifth in the 4×400 (LeTendre, Knuth, Swart, Clauson) with a time of 3:33.45.
Individually, HL-O-L’s Justin Ambrose tied for sixth in the pole vault (13-3), Adrian’s Scott Nath finished ninth in the 400-meter finals (51.94, 51.04 in the prelims) and Clauson — after running 1:58.64 in the prelims — placed ninth in the 800-meter finals (his third 800 of the meet), clocked at 2:07.21. Clauson also ran two anchor 400 legs (in addition to anchoring the winning medley with a strong 800).
HL-O-L (Izzy Olson, Mark Kolander, Dominick Damm, Henning) finished fourth in the medley relay with a time of 3:41.15, coming within 1.07 seconds of second (3:40.08) and .46 of third (3:40.69).
Metcalf win, giving conference three state champions
In addition to MCC’s victory in the medley and the 1-2 finish by Metcalf and Knuth in the 1600, Comfrey’s Troy Stresemann won the triple jump (44-1), giving the Red Rock Conference a trio of state-championship performances in 1994.
Metcalf added a second in the 3200 (9:31.77) and both LeTendre (11th, 21- ½) and Westbrook’s Brandon Boeck (14th, 20-7 ¼) competed in the long jump.
Four years earlier, in 1990, Westbrook’s Dan White placed second in the discus (162-2). In 1991, Mountain Lake’s Chris Hiebert was fourth in the 3200 (9:38.22), future NFL quarterback Todd Bouman of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton placed fourth in the long jump (21-9 ¼) and Jeff Taylor of Storden-Jeffers was sixth in the high jump (6-4).
Three other conference placing performances included Mountain Lake / Butterfield-Odin pole vaulters Benji Friesen (1992, tie for fifth, 12-6) and Brad Junker (1993, fourth, 13-3), along with Stresemann’ sixth in the 1993 triple jump (43-4 ¼)
The next feature will take a look at the highlights from the years of 1995-1999, including a state-meet victory in ‘99 by the 4×200-meter relay team, representing girls from the combination of SSC (HL-O) and SV-RL-B. A pair of high-placing performances by Fulda high jumper Jeff Baumgartner and five places in the dashes by HLOL’s Kelli Haar will also be featured.