ST. PAUL — During Friday’s preliminary meet, the Eden Prairie High School girls track team’s 4x100 relay ran a 49.13 (fastest time of the season) and then crossed its collective fingers.
The top two teams in two heats plus the next five fastest times would qualify for Saturday’s finals.
Eden Prairie finished fourth in the first heat, 0.05 seconds behind second-place Simley and 0.01 seconds behind third-place Forest Lake.
“The second heat had a bunch of 48s,” said Eden Prairie coach Jummy Barlass.
Eden Prairie (Ava Wagner, McKena Kramer, Ellie Stoffel and Jacqi Rae) made the finals, counting the eighth-fastest qualifying time.
“We squeaked in,” said Barlass.
On Saturday, Eden Prairie earned All-State honors with a fourth-place finish (49.30).
“In my 10 years of coaching, I’ve never had a relay with four seniors,” said Barlass. “To go out like that and experience what they accomplished together is pretty special.”
Earlier Saturday morning, Rae finished seventh in the shot put event, counting her second-best throw of the season (39-03 1/4).
“I remember her coming to my office last fall,” said Barlass. “She sat at my desk, congratulated me on my new position (EPHS Activities Coordinator) and then told me she wouldn’t be throwing this year.
“I said, ‘We’ll see.’” laughed Barlass. “And here she is, an All-State thrower.”
Barlass added that Rae’s success will have a lasting impact.
“Her success and work ethic set an example for our younger throwers,” she said. “They looked up to her.”
Eden Prairie’s third and fourth state entrants competed in the pole vault competition.
Carolyn Tarpey, the Section 6AA champion, was seeded 10th with a vault of 10-07. Kenzi Kluge, the Section 6AA runner-up, was seeded 13th at 10-04.
Neither one entered Saturday’s competition at 100 percent.
“Carolyn was sick, “ said Barlass, “and Kenzi still had a bad knee.”
At the section meet, Kluge was visibly limping.
“It’s a miracle that she made it (State Meet),” said Barlass.
Both vaulters counted personal bests at Saturday’s finals. Tarpey vaulted 11-0 for the first time ever and Kluge set a school record with a vault of 11-06.
Kluge finished sixth, Tarpey 12th.
“They’re both so tough,” added the coach.
As a team, Eden Prairie counted 13 points and finished in 23rd place.
Rosemount (71.5), Alexandria (70) and Edina (60) finished one, two and three, respectively.
“Of our four performances, three made All-State and three set PRs,” said Barlass. “That’s not only a great day, but a really fun end to the season.”