June 17, 2004 at 2:29 p.m.
She’ll also remember how it all happened. To say that the script had movie-like overtones is an understatement. After a disappointing performance in the discus the day before, Schmidt started off the preliminaries by tossing her first throw out of bounds. The senior re-grouped with her second throw, marking 43 feet four inches, placing her second overall. However, her final throw of prelims also sailed out of bounds. Even though her second throw was good enough to advance her to the finals, two bad throws left one bad taste in her mouth.
“It was a lot of excitement,” said Schmidt. “To be honest, It didn’t bother me a whole lot because I knew I would throw farther. I just came out with so much excitement.”
“Even though she had those two bad throws, you could just tell that although she was disappointed, she still had all the confidence in the world,” added Beth Carlson, Chisago Lakes girls head track and field coach. “She adjusted a little bit before the finals. It was really just a matter of slightly changing her body a little bit.”
Whatever she did, it worked. Schmidt saved her best throw for when it counted. After starting off the finals with a throw of 43 feet, the senior heaved her best toss of the day in round two, passing 44 feet. The throw put her in first place with one round left. The throw separated Schmidt from everyone in the finals except one. It all came down to Schmidt and Lindsey Schultz of Lakeville. Schultz was seeded first heading into state.
“It was intense. The two most deserving girls to win state were fighting for the title. That was really the way it was supposed to be,” commented Carlson.
“I think she (Schmidt) could feel the pressure,” added Ken Orwoll, Chisago Lakes boys head track and field coach. “It was definitely tense, but she handled it really well.”
The tension grew with every throw in the final round, finally leaving two throws left, one from Schmidt and one from Schultz. Schmidt went first, unloading a throw of 43 feet 11 inches, nearly a half of an inch shy of her best throw of the day. Up next was Schultz, who needed to throw farther than 44 feet three and a half inches to win the title, and had one throw to do it.
Whether she beat 44 feet on her final throw is subject to debate. However, where Schultz’s foot ended up on the throw was not. A judge ruled that Schultz’s foot made contact with the metal plate in the throwing circle, meaning the throw didn’t count. The end result was a state championship for the Chisago Lakes senior after back-to-back seconds. The wait was finally over.
With the win, Schmidt became the first Wildcat to take first at the state track and field meet since 2000 when Caesare Stimson took first in the long jump. After Schultz’s throw was ruled a scratch, Schmidt went through a roller-coaster of emotions.
“I was kind of bummed at first because I didn’t want to win that way. I wanted to throw farther than anyone else there, but then after, I talked to the girl who threw it (Schultz), and it started to feel a little better. Once you stand there on the medal stand in front of all of your family and friends, it becomes pretty exciting.”
“I think it was tough for her at first because she didn’t feel like she deserved it at first. But then the Lakeville coach went over and talked to her and told her that it was her title, she earned it,” replied Carlson, who had a T-shirt waiting with the words state champ written on it after the competition was over. “I think that was very classy for him to do that. He basically told her that’s why they have rules, that’s why they have judges. He mentioned that she deserved it, and once he said that, I think her attitude changed.”
No question, it was the perfect way to cap off a fantastic career. The perfect way to cap off her Wildcat career that is. Next season, Schmidt will be attending the University of Minnesota on a track scholarship with a state title under her belt. Although she still feels it could have gone better, everyone else thinks it was the perfect way to end it.
“I wrote a good-luck letter to her before the meet talking about how it was her last chance to make her mark on the state track meet, her last chance make a mark as a Wildcat,” mentioned Carlson. “She read it before Saturday’s meet. I said she can be a Gopher tomorrow, but today she was a Wildcat. I think that helped put it all into perspective. It was special.”
“I wouldn’t say it was perfect because there were so many times where I was up and down. I had to work really hard to get there,” said Schmidt. “Even though I won, I wanted to throw farther. But, I definitely ended things on a good note, It was nice to finally take first. I guess I’ll have to be happy with that.”
Schmidt takes ninth in discus
Things did not go as well for Schmidt last Friday in the discus. Seeded fifth heading into the competition, the senior fell to ninth. Her best throw of the day measured 119 feet 11 inches. Lindsey Dare of Apple Valley won the meet, clearing 136 feet.
“When we practiced last Wednesday and Thursday, everything was perfect. Her footwork was great and the discus was really going far,” remembered Carlson. “We went into Friday telling her that was going to be the fun day. But, when she showed up, she was really passive, she just wasn’t herself. Now, when you look back on it, it didn’t matter because we got our title anyway.”
McClaskie takes ninth
In the end, it was just too much. After giving everything he had at the section 7AA meet, clearing 13 feet seven inches (a career high), Bowie McClaskie’s ankle couldn’t respond last Friday at the class AA state track and field meet in Blaine. The senior cleared 13 feet, placing him tied for ninth when the pole vault event was finally over with. McClaskie’s bid for 13 feet six inches fell just short.
“He was disappointed. He thought he could’ve done better,” said Brian Hasleiet, North Branch track and field head coach. “If he would’ve made 13 feet six inches, he would’ve medaled. For some reason, when he got to 13’6, his steps got off. It was just one of those things I guess. It was actually one of his better performances of the year, he gave it everything he had.”
That’s an understatement. Many felt that McClaskie wouldn't have been able to compete two weeks again when he severely sprained his ankle. Instead, hurting the entire way, he won the section meet, qualifying for the state tournament for the first time.
“He had a great career. For him to come back that way was amazing,” remarked Hasleiet. “I really feel if it wasn’t for that (ankle), he would’ve done much better. But he never used it as an excuse. I think most people would’ve given it up a long time ago with an injury like that, but he finished the season strong. That was amazing.”
Anderson falls short of finals
For the second consecutive year, Jenny Anderson participated Friday at the state track and field meet. However, she watched on Saturday. The junior breezed through the track last week in the 100 hurdles, finishing with a time of 16.41. However, that time put her ninth overall. Only the top nine advanced to the finals on Saturday. Last season, Anderson placed 16th overall.
“Her goal was to get to the finals, but she’s been having a little trouble all year getting out of the blocks. When they’re running, she’s right with them,” replied Hasleiet. “She’s a tall girl and that makes it kind of awkward at times. Fortunately, we still have one more year to work on it with her.”
Yes, Anderson will be back with the same goal; advance to the finals. After conquering hurdle after hurdle, on and off the track throughout her athletic career, the safe bet is she’ll make it.
“She’s looking ahead to next year. She said right away after the race that she has to change some things to get into the finals,” mentioned Hasleiet. “She’s pretty focused. When she puts her mind to something, she gets it done. Really, when you look at it, very few athletes get a chance to experience state and she’s already been there twice. She already looking at trip number three.”
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