Kramer, Huisman, Hafner, Oolman, Springman lead area track & field in state-meet performances in late ‘80s

Editor’s Note:  This is the seventh 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 1985-1989.

Julie Kramer was an extraordinary distance runner for Fulda High School in the late 1980s, earning a total of six medals — five individual and one relay — at Minnesota State High School track and field meets, a rare accomplishment.

While five of Kramer’s medals are bronze (two thirds, a fourth, a fifth and a sixth), she has one gold which distinguishes her as a state champion. As a junior in June of 1988, running at White Bear Lake, Julie finished first in the girls 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:05.65, winning the race by nearly two seconds ahead of Morris senior Nicole Scherr (5:07.39) and BOLD senior Kara Parker (5:09.29).

Kramer’s performance in ’88 was the only individual state championship earned by area athletes during the five-year span from 1985-1989. There was a relay victory by the Tracy boys in 1987 and a two-three finish by Ellsworth’s Brant Huisman (6-6) and Slayton’s Jay Hafner (6-4) in the 1989 boys high jump.

The following year, Hafner became a state champion in that event when he cleared the bar at 6-6. There will be more about that in next week’s eighth feature story, as Hafner became Slayton’s first individual champion since Mark Zinnel’s back-to-back 3,200-meter titles in 1977 and 1978.

There were third-place performances by Fulda senior Diane Oolman in the girls 400-meter dash (58.21) in 1985 and by Adrian senior Mark Springman in the 1988 boys discus (155-11).

Tracy won the ’87 boys 4×100-meter relay with the team of Joel Brey, Rick Stanek, John Apostel and Doug Niesses zipping a time of 44.15 seconds. The year before, Niesses placed sixth in the 100-meter dash (11.70).

Fulda finished fourth in the girls 4×800-meter relay in 1985, clocked at 9:51.43. Running for the Raiders were Kramer, Oolman, Karmel Honius and Marti Sturm.

Kramer finished third in both the 1,600 (5:05.40) and the 800 (2:17.51) as a freshman in 1986, the same year that Fulda’s Rod Williams placed sixth in the boys discus (150-7).

As an eighth-grader in 1985, Kramer finished fifth in the girls 800 with a time of 2:23.15. Three years later, after winning the mile, she placed sixth in the 800, clocked at 2:23.33, earning her sixth state-meet medal.

Fulda’s Chad Carroll, who is now the head track and field coach at Benson, churned an exceptional time of 1:57.76 and finished fourth in the 800-meter run at the 1989 state meet, a place he would duplicate as a senior in 1990.

Slayton’s Mark Brockberg finished sixth in the boys 1,600 (4:33.83) in 1988 and teammate Dave Kathman matched that by placing sixth in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles (40.61). Nate Knuth, an outstanding Slayton distance runner, ran a fifth-place time of 9:40.13 as a senior in 1989 before performing well as a collegiate runner at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana.

Next week, the series will continue with a look at the first five years (1990-1994) of the 1990s, highlighted by state championship performances by Hafner, Fulda’s Nancy Overman, a boys medley relay from Slayton and a pair of back-to-back first place finishes by the girls 3,200-meter (two mile) relay team from Heron Lake-Okabena-Lakefield.

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