Grace Drietz was the lone state qualifier for the Canby-Minneota girls’ track team last year. She medaled after finishing eighth in the 1,600 meter run as a seventh-grader.

Girls young, but versatile

The Canby-Minneota girls track team will be young with only 12 girls out that are in the top three grades. But coaches are counting on several of the younger athletes to fill in the necessary gaps to strengthen the team. T

here are only three seniors on the team this spring; Kalli Jellen, Laura Jessen and Norah King.

“The girls have great senior high leadership, but fewer numbers than the boys,” said Coach Sara Hemish.

“It’s a little unusual having only 12 girls in grades 10-12.”

“But we have 23 junior high girls and we will have to rely on our young athletes to help make a successful season. But I believe we have the talent to make a run to repeat as conference champs this year.”

Grace Drietz, an eighth-grader, is the lone state qualifier back this season.

Drietz was the youngest of the competitors in the 1,600 Class. A state field last season, yet placed eighth in a time of 5:20.34. That time was nearly six and a half seconds better than her qualifying time at the sectionals.

“Grace has continued to improve as a runner and will look to have another great season,” said Hemish.

“She also participates in the 4x800 and is very strong in that race as well. Our section meet will be very interesting because we have several very strong young distance runners.”

The girls 4 x 800 relay team was seemingly destined for state last year, too, but an unfortunate mishap in the anchor leg of the Section 3A meet led to them missing a chance.

In second place with only 30 meters remaining in the race, C-M’s anchor, Ann DeSmet, suddenly became fatigued and collapsed onto the asphalt track.

By the time she recovered and completed the race, the team that also consisted of Grace Drietz, Emily Gillingham and Kalli Jelen, finished in fifth place. Drietz and Jellen return from that team.

The girls had a strong showing at sectionals a season ago, placing seventh with 40 points, even though only Drietz advanced to state.

There were six individuals or relay teams that finished in the top six at the 3A meet. Kameron King, a junior, was fifth in the 300 hurdles in a time of 49.87 and was 11th in the 110 hurdles in 18.4.

Norah King, a senior, will bolster the weights this season after finishing fourth in the discus in the sections with a toss of 112-1, while also finishing sixth in the shot put with a throw of 35-7.

Two other relay teams fared well at sections last year.

The 4 x 200 team was fifth and the 4 x 400 team was sixth.

Jelen, Lizzy Gillingham and Kaylie Hemish return from the 4 x 200 team, while King and Jelen are back from the 4 x 400 team.

McKenzie Hemish, a sophomore, pole vaulted 7-4 to place 12th at sections.

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