Wayzata Boys Track & Field are 2016 MN State Team Champions

2016 State MN T&F Champs

The Wayzata Boys’ Track and Field found a familiar spot at the conclusion of the 2016 MN State Track and Field Meet – On the awards stand for the eighth consecutive season in earning the title of Minnesota AA State Team Champions. This is the second year in a row the Trojans are the State Meet Champions and third in the last five years.

In the first event of the meet, the 3200m, Wayzata picked up 18 points and never relinquished the lead in the team standings. Senior Jaret Carpenter broke free from the 3200m field 600 meters in to the race and went on win the event he had yet to lose all season. Sophomore Khalid Hussein, running in his first T&F state meet, came in forth place with a strong finish to hold off other challengers.

With mostly prelims in the majority of events, the Trojans would finish day 1 in a tie for first place and looking forward to returning for day two finals. Senior Michael Thompson, also competed on day one. After setting a personal record in the 6AA section meet of 14-3, Michael finished outside of team scoring.

Day two of the state meet brought the same grueling hot and humid weather. Temperatures on both days reached the middle 90’s and brought bring sun with high humidity. This hardly mattered to Wayzata as they were to embark on one of the most successful days in team history. The first event of the day turned out to be one of the most entertaining, the team of Khalid Hussein, senior Andrew Millan, junior Gemechu Meskele and sophomore Tommy Leisen smashed the Wayzata school record in route to running 7:46.13 earing second place and 10 points in the team standings.

Meanwhile in the field, two high jumpers, senior Geremiah Brathwaite and junior Ben Gross had both started making heights over the bar. Grosse just missed out on placing after going 6-0. This was an incredible story in itself as Ben did not start jumping this season until the True Team State Meet because of an off season knee surgery. Brathwaite cleared two more heights up to 6-4 which was good enough for fifth place overall. Back to the track and the races were heating up for Wayzata. The 4×200 team of senior Sam Kolpin, senior Tyler Didier, and senior Shawn Miller held off a flurry of teams on the final stretch to claim third place. 
In the next event, Jaret Carpenter was to race the 1600m in an attempt to capture the distance triple crown of distance racing, the Cross Country individual title in the fall, the state meet 3200m and now the 1600m. Carpenter took the lead of the race 100 meters in and never relinquished, at one point leading by over 30 meters. He crossed the line in jubilation picking up 12 more team points, 24 on the weekend, and became the first Wayzata harrier to win the distance triple crown. Current five time NCAA DIII champion Josh Thorson was the closest to accomplishing this in 2012 having won the XC title, 3200m and placed runner up in the 1600m. 
The always entertaining 4X100 was up next for the Trojans. The team of junior Drake Kapler, sophomore Jett Berg, Ethan Tuch and Sam Kolpin raced to a forth place finish earning all state honors. For the fifth year in a row, Wayzata had a state finalist in the 400 meters, this year was senior Tyler Didier. Didier returned from last years all state 400m performance to place 4th overall this year. Back to the field and the discus. Senior Grant Slavik, The Lake Conference meet champion and Section 6AA runner up placed 16th overall.

With one event left for the Trojans and clinging to a 40 point lead after the 400m, the Trojans were looking in good shape for the remainder of the meet. By the time the final event, the 4X400 came around there was no question what the team’s final place was going to be but the did not mean the final group to race for the Trojans was going to relax now. The 4×400 team of Tommy Leisen, Tyler Didier, junior Lewis Gibson, and Ethan Tuch ran a season best time of 3:19.71 for the runner up placing, just narrowly missing an event championship.

With the meet now concluded the final team scores had the Trojans on top with 75 points over Lake Conference rival Edina who had 44 points and third place Woodbury at 34.

This is the seventh MN State High School League State Championship for Wayzata, the most of any AA boys team titles. Both Stillwater and Mounds View have won five each, Apple Valley has won three and no other MN AA team has won more then twice since the split in to two classes in 1973. Wayzata’s other team victories were in 1977 (44.5 points), 1980 (38 points), 1984 (36 points), 1995 (68 points, 2012 (81 points) and 2015 (71.5 points).

The 75 points scored this year are the second most ever scored for Wayzata at the MN State meet. The 31 point victory is the largest margin of victory ever for Wayzata and the forth most ever in the history of the largest class in MN. The largest margins are 2007 Mounds View (53 point victory), 1998 Stillwater (45 point victory, and 1991 Apple Valley (44 point victory)

This is the eighth straight year the Trojans have placed in the top three team in the final teams standings in earning a podium place. This is the most any boys team has accomplished this long of a run. The second longest run in the history of boys Track and Field in MN is Saint Louis Park with 6 years with their run between 1961-66.

For the freshman that ran for the Trojans, the last time Wayzata was not on the awards stand they just finished 1st grade.

In the last eight years, Wayzata has amassed 476.5 points at the MN State meet for an average of just over 59.5 points per year.

This is the second year in a row the Trojans have won both the MN State True Team meet as well as the MN State meet. In the past five years, there have been 10 state titles in the largest class between the True Team series and the MN State meet of which the Wayzata boys have won 7 of them. Three other teams have won one each. The Lake conference has won 9 of them.

Wayzata T&F qualified for as a “Gold Standing” Academic team -The Trojans had 16 Academic All State recipients. To earn Academic All State the athlete must be either on the State honor roll or All Lake Conference and have a GPA of 3.6 on the 4.0 scale.

This story and photos were originally published on the Wayzata School District website.

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