June 16, 2011 at 9:51 a.m.

Lushanko bolts to third place in the 100 and 200 at state

Lushanko bolts to third place in the 100 and 200 at state
Lushanko bolts to third place in the 100 and 200 at state

State Tournament

Inspired, he said, by a visit from a family friend, Chisago Lakes track senior Cory Lushanko put on the best performance of his career at last Saturday's Class AA state tournament finals. In very tight races, Lushanko came up with third place finishes in both the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash. Wildcat junior Luke McKenzie competed in Friday's preliminaries in the 800 meter run and finished one spot out of qualifying for the finals. The state tournament was at Hamline University in St. Paul Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11.

Lushanko headed home after Friday's midday preliminaries to rest up for the big races on Saturday. Family friend Steve Sargeant, a local sports coach and program organizer in the Chisago Lakes area, stopped by later Friday afternoon to give Lushanko some advice and encouragement. "Then he told me he couldn't make it to Saturday's final," said Lushanko, "so I had better run the races for him. So I decided to dedicate my performances to Steve."

The inspired Lushanko finished third in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.22 seconds, just 5/100 of a second or half a foot behind state champion Avuk Tambe of Blaine, who clocked in at a blazing 11.17 seconds. A photo finish, courtesy of the latest laser technology, put Lushanko 1/100 of a second behind the second place finisher Anthony Gustafson of Faribault, who was timed at 11.21 seconds. Lushanko said "The race went better than I had thought it would. I was surrounded by good athletes. It was nervous to be in but it was probably a fun race to watch."

Lushanko was no slouch in the 200 meter dash, either. His time of 22.54 seconds was just a stride away from first place finisher Gustafson, who came in at 22.25 seconds, and half a stride from conference foe Dontay Matthews of St. Francis, who finished in 22.40 seconds.

McKenzie barely missed making the finals of the 800 meter run. The top nine spots in the preliminaries advanced to Saturday's final. McKenzie finished with the tenth best time, 1:57.33, just 17/100 of a second out of ninth place. The winner of the 800 was Eric Gebeke of White Bear Lake, with a time of 1:53.39.

The 800 is the race many track experts consider the toughest race to run. Joseph A. Renguso, in an article posted at the highschoolrunner.com, said the 800 "requires a combination of speed and endurance. If you do not have or develop both, you will not succeed in the event." Look for McKenzie to make an even bigger splash next year in the 800.


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