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Kalis ends senior year with 12th-place finish at state

Photo courtesy of Sam Thiel/Marshall Independent New Ulm High School’s Paige Kalis completes a jump at the Class AA State Track and Field Meet on Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

ST. MICHAEL — After making a return trip to the Class AA State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, New Ulm High School senior Paige Kalis finished the final long jump event of her high school career with a 12th-place finish.

Kalis’ second jump of 16 feet, 11 1/2 inches on Saturday was her top jump at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

The senior qualified for a return trip to state at the Section 2AA meet in Waconia on June 9 with a qualifying jump of 17-6 1/2. Kalis earned a ninth-place medal in the state long jump in 2019 with a top jump of 16-10 1/4.

While Kalis passed that 2019 mark on Saturday, she just missed out on taking home another medal this year. The ninth-place finisher, Hemetii Apet of Roseville Area, had a top jump of 17 feet. St. Michael-Albertville’s own Olivia Peal finished first in the event with a top jump of 18-1 3/4.

As Kalis was warming up for her 3:30 p.m. long jump, the meet was delayed one hour due to an accident that shut down Interstate 94, delaying the arrivals of some athletes.

Kalis said that the delay had more of an effect on her than she initially thought, but she was still looking to stay positive after the end result.

“I think it probably affected me more than I felt that it did,” Kalis said of the delay. “I honestly didn’t really care [about the delay], I was just, like, ‘Okay, let’s get this show on the road,’ type of thing. But otherwise I came into it knowing my ability and knowing how well I can jump and everything like that, I was just hoping for a better outcome than I had gotten. But I always come in with a positive attitude and that’s how I left as well.”

State medal or no state medal, Kalis has had quite the successful senior campaign. Her first big accomplishment this season was setting the girls’ long jump school record with a top jump of 18-5 1/2 on April 22 at a home meet. The record was previously set by Mary Otis in 2005 with a jump of 17-7 1/2.

While she didn’t place where she wanted to at state this year, Kalis said that she was just happy to have a season and return to state with her head coach Megan Asleson.

“I was honestly just thankful that we got a season in the first place,” Kalis said. “To do so well at sections and actually make it to state again, it was just very refreshing to get something positive out of my senior year. Megan and I — she’s the one who took me to state two years ago, my sophomore year. So it was nice going back with her and we know how things went and all that good stuff. So I was just happy that I got the opportunity to be able to go back.”

Kalis will next compete at the college track and field level next year for UW-Eau Claire.

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