GAME OF THE WEEK
Who: East Ridge, Park and Woodbury track teams
What: True Team Section Meet
Where: Stillwater High School
When: Thursday, May 10, 3 p.m.
South Washington County high schools East Ridge, Park and Woodbury face off today at the Section 2AAA True Team Meet, held at Stillwater High School.
The True Team meet, originated by the Minnesota State Track and Field Coaches Association, is exactly that: a team meet. True Team meets take into account results from the whole team, awarding points based on performance to all participants in a given event.
With team depth playing the biggest factor in True Team meets, smaller schools like East Ridge, Park and Woodbury will have to work hard to keep up with the bigger schools and teams in the section. Defending section champion Stillwater and last year's runner-up Eagan are expected to be the favorites.
However, each District 833 team provides plenty to watch.
Leading the way is senior R.J. Alowonle from Park.
The three-time state hurdle champion has the best recorded finish in the state thus far in the 110 hurdles (14.58 seconds), the 300 hurdles (37.92), and in the triple jump (45 feet, 1 inch). Park also brings senior D'Monte Farley to the meet. Like Alowonle, Farley qualified for last year's state meet in the maximum four events. This year, he has the best recorded time in the 200-meter dash (22.10), the second-fastest recorded 100-meter dash time (11.01) and the fourth-best recorded finish in the triple jump (44-7). The duo also helped Park post the second-best recorded time in the 400-meter relay this year (42.92).
Nate Roese is the East Ridge athlete you'll probably want to keep an eye on most.
Roese, a junior, has the state's best recorded time in the 400-meter dash. Roese set a new Hamline Elite Meet record this year in a time of 48.72 seconds. The old record of 48.79 was set in 2007 by Quinn Evans of Mounds View. Roese's time was only a hair off of last year's state championship time of 48.56. He finished second in the state last year in the 400 with a time of 49.07.
For Woodbury, watch out for Abiola Abodunde.
At last Tuesday's Bob Stewart Invitational, Abodunde won the 200-meter dash in a time of 23.39 seconds and finished first in the triple jump with a leap of 44-05.75, which was the fifth-best recorded distance in the state thus far this season. Abodunde also helped Woodbury's 400-meter relay team win its race at the invite with a time of 43.68, which was the third-best recorded time in the state this year.
Other athletes to watch include: Park eighth grader Allison Gorres, sophomore Temi Ogunrinde and juniors Irving Gutierrez and Dylan Smallidge, East Ridge senior Val Huerta, East Ridge's 800-meter relay team of Raven Tittle, Megan Amend, Alicia Ickstadt and Nicole Ethier, along with Raptor's senior sprinter Dayo Ogundepo and distance runner Bailey Ness. For Woodbury, look out for the Royals' 1600-meter relay team of juniors Matthew Waterhouse and Abodunde and seniors Davis Johnson and Kyle Haugen and the Royals' strong group of jumpers led by Grace Rogers, Maddy Haut and Kat Herzberg.
The meet begins at 3 p.m. at Stillwater.