New Ulm sends 3 to state meet after sections conclude

Girls return to state for Eagles for 1st time since 2007

Ben Mathiowetz, right, delivers a throw in the wheelchair discus in Friday’s second day of the Section 2AA Track and Field Championships at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

ST. PETER — After the final day of the Section 2AA Track and Field Championships concluded at Gustavus Adolphus College on Friday, New Ulm was able to cross off a big season goal that head coach Megan Asleson had on her list: bring some New Ulm High School girls back to state.

After the first day of the meet this past Wednesday, the Eagles advanced both Paige Kalis and Olivia Owens in the long jump and high jump, respectively, making it the first time that New Ulm High School has had any girls advance to state in track and field since 2007. The New Ulm girls competing at state in 2007 were Melissa Kuebler in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and Tessa Makepeace in the long jump.

Owens also advanced to state in the triple jump on Friday after a hop, skip and jump of 36 feet, 7 3/4 inches, a school record that she had already previously set earlier this season in April.

Asleson, a first-year head coach for the Eagles, was proud of being able to achieve two of her season goals this past week at sections and was happy to see Owens set the school record again in the triple jump.

“That was really great that [Owens] could jump that 36 again and she proved that she can jump that far and it wasn’t a fluke,” Asleson said. “And it kind of gives her a little confidence going into next week.”

Staff photos by Travis Rosenau Olivia Owens competes in the triple jump finals for New Ulm in Friday’s second day of the Section 2AA Track and Field Championships at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Ben Mathiowetz also qualified for a return trip to state on Friday after a top throw of 25 feet, 3 inches in the wheelchair discus. He also advanced to state in the wheelchair shot put this past Wednesday.

For Mathiowetz, his distance on Friday wasn’t a personal best, but he keeps getting stronger every year and Asleson said that when he throws earlier in the day at state, she thinks he’ll improve.

“He can probably throw some records and it’s great to get him back up there in his final run for defending his titles, and just kind of completing his journey on this track team is going to be nice for him,” Asleson said. “He keeps building stronger every year. He came from this injury, his ski accident, to coming up and being part of this team and now he’s kind of finishing that journey to the next chapter.”

As for Kalis, Asleson has never doubted her abilities, even with many considering her an underdog.

“A lot of people kind of thought that Paige was an underdog, but I always thought that she was in the mix since conference when she jumped that 17, and I knew she was kind of in the mix going in,” Asleson said. “She was seeded fourth, but they were all 17 [foot] jumps. And when it counts, she knew to attack that board and get after it, and here she sits first in the section.”

Kaye Rysdahl, a junior for New Ulm, qualified for the 800-meter run this past Wednesday in prelims and turned in a final time of 2 minutes, 25.56 seconds on Friday, which was good enough for third. Senior Sean Howk had a top-5 finish for New Ulm in the 400-meter dash, finishing with a time of 51.93 after qualifying for the race this past Wednesday.

“Kaye, she really came on strong the last part of the season in the 800, running some good times,” Asleson said. “She ran a 2:25 and then matched that time today and it was really great for her to finish as close as she did to state. It kind of just gives her a little more fuel for next season, her last season, to kind of have that goal in mind to get to the school record, which is 2:21, and maybe make a run for state. And Sean, it was unfortunate that he came in fifth, he was seeded third coming in, but he still ran pretty strong. He knows he came out a little fast, it is what it is, but it was still a great race and he still ran a great time.”

The New Ulm boys’ and girls’ 4×100-meter relay teams also set new personal bests Friday with times of 45.58 and 51.42, respectively. The boys’ team featured Jack Howard, Aaron Hauser, Brandon Ocampo and Howk, while the girls’ team featured Anne Howard, Emmy Munson, Owens and Kalis.

Both teams finished eighth.

The first day of the State Track and Field Championships begins Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul.