Six Cardinal athletes qualify for state at AAHS

Lading up to Day One of the boys and girls Section 8AA Championship sectionals in Alexandria, there were a variety of expectations for each of the Cardinal competitors.

 Some were steady favorites to advance to the state tournament as twin sisters Megan and Bethany Hasz did so in the 3,200-meter run and Aaron Runge did the same in the boys 3,200. JeAnna Miller also clinched a spot at state in the high jump.

Others defied predictions and surprised the field, such as Alec Wosepka’s exciting state qualifying pole vault and Dylan Larson placing second overall in the shot put.

The Cardinals also had a host of athletes qualify for Saturday’s finals at Rocori by doing well in Wednesday’s prelims.  Joe Gorbhuber (110 hurdles, fourth, 15.64; 300 hurdles, third, 41.30) and Mitchell Meier (300 hurdles, fifth, 41.83) each qualified for the final on the boys’ side.

Patricia Johnson did the same by taking fourth in the 100-meter dash (13.12) and sixth in the 200 (27.44). Sara Wegner was fourth in the 400 prelims in 1:01.31. Syri Williams was eighth in the 300 hurdles (49.31) to qualify and Kelby Olson-Rodel was fourth in the 200 dash in 27.10 seconds and sixth in the 100 (13.15).   


Bethany and Megan Hasz displayed why they are among Alex’s all-time running greats, qualifying for the state championship in the 3,200-meter run. Bethany won in 10:36.1 and Megan was second at 10:58.96.

“It was my best time this season; it wasn’t quite my PR but it was a good race,” Bethany said.

Megan has been dealing with a leg injury, and had a game plan not to aggravate the muscle before state.

“I felt pretty good,” she said. “I didn’t have one of my best times because I wasn’t supposed to go very hard since I’ve been dealing with some injuries.”

Cross-Country has always been a staple of the twins’ sports, as each has won state championships, but track offers a different type of excitement preluding the tournament.

“It’s definitely different with so many events instead of everyone doing the same event,” Megan said. “But it’s a lot of fun because you get to see a lot of athletes doing awesome things.”


Wosepka may not have been the favorite to advance to state on paper, but belief or perseverance were never the issue.

“Well, my PR this year was 12’6”, and I came into this meet and knew I could jump higher than 12’ 6,” Wosepka said. “I knew I had a bunch of potential still in me.”

After two missed attempts at the qualifying height in the vault, he swapped out his pole and said a little prayer as he approached his final try.

“I think that really helped me, and after I made that, man, I was so excited,” he said.

Not only did Wosepka clear the bar at 13’ 11’’ and advance to state, he shattered his old PR by nearly a foot and a half. When asked if confidence played a role, Wosepka responded,

“I was confident,” he said. “Confidence is the biggest part of it, and if you don’t think you are going to make it, you won’t.”


Runge also put together another solid race as the senior just missed a first-place finish in the 3,200. He took second in a time of 9:46.93. Tyler Moore of Little Falls won the event with a time of 9:46.34.



Not even Larson himself knew he had the kind of throw in him that he delivered in the shot put on Wednesday night.

The junior went into the day never having passed the 50-foot mark with his throws. He blew that out of the water 52-07.50.

“I don’t know what happened” Larson said. “It just kind of popped out, and it’s a great feeling. I surprised myself, and I guess I surprised some other people too. It was fantastic.”

It was a personal record throw by almost three feet, and couldn’t have come at a better time as it qualified him for his first state meet.

“Never have I thrown anything like that before, even in practice,” he said. “This meet, I knew it was important for the team and individuals, but having my PR explode today, it was the perfect time.”

Larson’s throw edged his friend and teammate Mitch Maday. Maday had a great throw as well, hitting 51-08.50. He was happy for Larson, and still happy with his throw despite finishing third and coming up just short of a state trip.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Maday said. “It’s outstanding how much of PR that was. Everyone did well today, and I’m very impressed with myself with how well that went it would have been great to go to state. I felt like I could have, and I felt like I had the quality to get there, but there were just some people who deserved it more today.”


Miller knew after clearing 5’4” a couple times earlier in the season that she had a 5’5” jump in her this year.

She proved it at the section meet as that jumped helped her finish second to Monticello’s Sara Macek (5’6”) and qualify for her second state meet.

“I was a little nervous at first, but getting off the mat, I was just so excited,” Miller said after clearing 5’5”. “I couldn’t really think about anything else.”

Miller couldn’t have made it that far if not for stepping up to clear 5’4” in her final opportunity to do so. She had cleared that height before and knew she could do it again.

“I was a little bit nervous, but I prayed with my coach before and that helped a lot,” Miller said. “It’s a head game, so I just said, ‘I know I can do it. I just have to relax.’ ”



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