Concordia Academy’s Zinter caps strong day at state track and field meet by winning 200-meter dash

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Judah Zinter was a busy guy at Friday’s Class A state track and field meet.

The Concordia Academy junior competed in four events — the long jump, the 300-meter hurdles and the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

That last event was the day’s highlight as Zinter captured the boys 200 state title in a time of 22.14 seconds, holding off Medford senior Jesse Ortiz, who finished in a time of 22.30.

Nova Classical Academy senior Henry Peklo finished fifth in a time of 22.44.

“I remember being so disappointed when I was here last year,” said Zinter, who competed in the 300 hurdles and 4×200 relay a year ago, but did not advance to finals in either event.

“This year is the complete opposite. It feels amazing.”

The title came after Zinter finished third in the 100 (10.98) and fifth in the 300 hurdles (40.51). He turned in a leap of 20-feet-4.75 in the long jump, which left him in 14th place. Peklo finished seventh in the 100 (11.13). Math and Science Academy junior Malcolm Lewis finished seventh in the long jump (21-1).

“I was happy with how things went overall,” Zinter said. “I was feeling pretty disappointed after the 300 hurdles because I thought I could have run a lot better. But winning the 200 made up for all that.”

A broken arm suffered mid-season a year ago kept Zinter’s Concordia Academy teammate Logan Swanson from competing in the hurdles.

And while Swanson did compete at the state meet as part of the Beacons’ 4×200 relay team, this season marked the junior’s first appearance in an individual event.

He made the most of it, finishing second in the 110 hurdles in a time of 14.86 seconds. Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted senior Hayden Brown won the event in a time of 14.77.

“Now I know I can compete here,” Swanson said. “Coming in, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. But now I have a lot more confidence in myself.”

Winning 400

St. Paul Academy and Summit School junior Oliver Thompson only ran the 400 dash twice last season. But the second time came at the section meet, where he just missed qualifying for state by less than a second.

That performance raised the bar coming into this season.

“I talked to my coaches coming into the season and they told me they were going to get me in there,” Thompson said. “They said they were going to have me running two (400s) a meet (including relays), and I was just going to get better.”

It turned out to be sound strategy as Thompson — competing in his first state meet — won the boys 400 Friday in a time of 48.78 seconds.

“It feels great,” said Thompson, who ran the 400 twice in prelims Thursday, first in his own event, then as part of Spartans’ 4×400 relay team that did not qualify for finals. “It hasn’t really set in yet. I’m still feeling a little sore from all these 400s. But it’s really exciting.”

Girls 300 hurdles

St. Paul Academy and Summit School sophomore Elizabeth Tuttle is also going home a state champion after winning the girls 300 hurdles in a time of 44.82 seconds. That came after she finished second in the 100 hurdles in a time of 15.00. A.B.E. senior Lucea Wales won the event in a time of 14.76. Trinity/Unity senior Mariah Willard finished third (15.11). Willard placed eighth in the 300 (46.41).

“I got a PR (personal record) in the 100, but I was aiming to go sub-15 and I finished in 15 flat,” said Tuttle, who finished sixth in the 100 hurdles and third in the long jump at the Class 2A state meet a year ago (the Spartans dropped to Class A this season).

“And I finished as runner-up. So I was pretty motivated going into the 300.”

Another big day for Lewis

Math and Science freshman McKaylen Lewis followed up a huge day on Thursday with a second-place finish in the girls 200 Friday, turning in a time of 24.76 seconds. Bagley/Fosston junior Ava Phrakonkham won the event with a time of 24.60.

The day before, Lewis won state titles in the high jump (5-5) and long jump (19-9).

“I didn’t come into this season with any expectations in the high jump because I’d never tried it before,” said Lewis, who finished second in the long jump and third in the 200 at the state meet a year ago. “In the long jump, my goal was to come back and do better than I did last season. So I couldn’t be more happy.

“(Friday) was just a really calm day,” she continued. “It was nice to slow down and focus on getting ready for my race.”

Long distance win

It wasn’t quite the same feeling as winning the Class A state cross country title last fall. That, after all, was Mounds Park Academy junior Eddie Snider’s first state championship. But winning the boys 3,200 Thursday was still a thrill.

“It was less of a shock than it was in cross country,” said Snider, who finished in a time of 9:31.95. “But it was still fun. Now I can call myself a two-sport champion.”

Snider — whose sister Megan, a freshman, competed in the girls 1,600 and 3,200 — was back on the track Friday for the 1,600. He finished 11th in a time of 4:30.96. Math and Science Academy sophomore Liam Caldwell was 10th in a time of 4:29.04. Redwood Valley junior William Ahrens won the event in a time of 4:19.91.

“The mile isn’t really my best event,” Snider said. “So I just tried to do the best I could. It went OK.”

A St. Croix run

The St. Croix Lutheran boys 4×400 relay team finished third overall in a time of 3:24.12.

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