Members of the Eden Prairie High School girls track team looked at each other in disbelief after the announcer at Thursday’s Section 7AAA True Team Meet named Edina as its fourth-place finisher.
“Our jaws dropped when he said Minnetonka finished third,” said Eden Prairie coach Jummy Barlass.
What does this mean?
“We knew we’d be going to Friday’s state meet in Stillwater,” said Barlass.
How did Eden Prairie not know?
“Even though I’m a numbers’ person, I’m not one of those coaches that plugs results into a spreadsheet during the meet,” said Barlass. “When I’m at meet, I’m telling my athletes to do their absolute best. That’s all they can do and that’s all I can control.”
A virtual meet featuring non-winning teams from each of the eight AAA sections was conducted after the meet to determine four wild card selections. Eden Prairie punched its ticket to Friday’s True Team State Meet by finishing second.
“It’s a cliché,” said Barlass, “but it was truly a team effort.”
Examples include Eden Prairie’s finishes in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and pole vault events.
In the 100-meter dash, Eden Prairie sprinters finished fourth (Ava Wagner — 12.77), fifth (Jacqi Rae — 12.79) and sixth (Caitlin O’Laughlin — 12.97). Eagles’ hurdlers finished third (Kenzi Kluge — 15.98), sixth (Carolyn Tarpey — 16.31) and eighth (Michelle Nelson — 16.81) in the 100-meter high hurdles. In the pole vault event, Eden Prairie placed one (Kluge — 11-02), two (Tarpey — 9-06) and five (Sophia Jester — 8-06).
“Kenzi vaulted a season-best and took a couple cracks at the school record,” said Barlass. “Carolyn and Sophia both finished with PRs.”
Eden Prairie’s second first-place finish occurred in the 4x100, where four EPHS seniors clocked a meet-best 51.07. Eden Prairie’s 4x100 team included Wagner, Makena Kramer, Ellie Stoffel and Rae.
“To finish first in your heat is pretty cool,” said Barlass. “to finish first overall is awesome.”
In Thursday’s Section 7AAA True Team competition, Eden Prairie finished runner-up to first-place Wayzata. The Trojans counted 1,064.50 points. Eden Prairie finished second with 917.50. Minnetonka placed third with 892.50. Edina (882.50) and Hopkins (852) finished fourth and fifth. The field included 10 teams.
In addition to the Eagles’ two first-place finishes, Eden Prairie finished second three times (Tarpey in the pole vault — 9-06, Rae in the shot put — 35-11 and Eden Prairie’s 4x200 — 1:49.43), third once (Kluge in the 100 hurdles — 15.98), fourth three times (Nelson in the 300 hurdles — 49.76, Anna Brown in the high jump — 5-00 and Julia Matthews in the shot put — 32-11.50) and fifth five times (Jester in the pole vault — 8-6, Grace Szymborski in the long jump — 16-06), Rachel Boelke in the 800 — 2:26.38 and Eden Prairie 4x400 — 4:18.90 and 4x800 — 10:23.20 relays).
Individual stars include Rae, Kramer and Ananya Vegesna.
“Makena and Jacqi competed in four events each,” said Barlass. “They were phenomenal. Ananya doubled up in two distance races. She followed a great leg on our 4x800 with a sixth-place in the 3200. That’s tough.”
On Tuesday, Eden Prairie was scheduled to compete in the Lake Conference Championship Meet.
On Friday, the Eagles make a repeat appearance in the True Team State Meet.
“We want to finish higher than last year,” said Barlass.
Last year, Eden Prairie finished 10th.
Friday’s State True Team Meet, at Stillwater High School, begins at 4 p.m.