Cloquet junior high jumper Olivia Jameson wore black kinesio tape around her left ankle, but it still couldn’t cover all the damage done from a hurdling accident earlier in the week.

Even where there was no tape, it, too, was black in spots, the product of a severe sprain. Despite that, Jameson still managed to finish third with a jump of 5-foot-5 at the Minnesota Class AA Track and Field Championships Saturday at St. Michael-Albertille High School.

The mark was just an inch off her personal best, and her place was five spots better than what she did as a freshman in 2019.

“You could tell it was bothering her a little bit, not necessarily when she ran up to jump, but more so when she hopped off the mat,” Lumberjacks coach Tim Prosen said. “She was just running on adrenaline to get her through the meet, but even an 80 or 90-percent Olivia is still that good.”

Jameson clipped a hurdle with her lead leg in practice Monday and got off balance, rolling her left ankle and tumbling.

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“I tried to catch myself with my right foot, and then I hit that one pretty hard, too,” Jameson said. “Then I went down. I was just sitting there. I didn’t really know how bad it was. I just knew that it hurt.”

Jameson went from not being able to walk again to icing, to wearing an ankle boot for a couple days, to being able to move around a bit, to finishing third at the state meet in one of the more difficult disciplines to master.

“It actually improved very quickly,” Jameson said.

“Oh, to be 16 or 17 years old again, right?” Prosen said, laughing.

Jameson said to her, high jumping is like riding a bike.

Jameson didn’t want to test her ankle any more than she had to. Her other events, the 100 hurdles and triple jump, were ruled out as that would put too much strain on the strain. High jump it was.

Jameson ran “the curve” a little bit Saturday, the approach high jumpers take to the pit, but not much.

“Even if I never jumped high jump that week, I knew what to do,” Jameson said. “I just wanted to give it a rest and not push it too hard. Even during high jumps it was getting fatigued and I knew I wouldn’t be able to do much more.”

Don’t worry, Jameson, you did enough.

“I was just happy to be able to compete,” Jameson said. “I still had a lot of friends who would be going. It was still super exciting.”

  • One of those friends was Lumberjacks senior Nathan “Paddy” Genereau, who finished fifth in the boys 300 hurdles with a PR of 40.19 seconds. Prosen was quick to credit his assistants, Tim Anderson, Michelle Wick and Dale Flankey for their dedication in working with the likes of Jameson and Genereau and helping make Cloquet a Northland track power.

Hibbing junior Julia Gherardi won the Class AA girls pole vault by a foot Saturday with a mark of 12-foot-6, becoming the Bluejackets’ first state champ since Shyla McCibben in the shot put in 1996. (Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service)
Hibbing junior Julia Gherardi won the Class AA girls pole vault by a foot Saturday with a mark of 12-foot-6, becoming the Bluejackets’ first state champ since Shyla McCibben in the shot put in 1996. (Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service)

Gherardi brings one home to Hibbing

Hibbing junior Julia Gherardi won the girls pole vault by a foot with a mark of 12-6.

Gherardi is the Bluejackets’ first state champ since Shyla McCibben in the shot put in 1996.

“I was over 13 feet but I just didn’t have the standards right so I hit the bar on the way down,” Gherardi said.

Hey, there’s always next year (now that we’re coming out of COVID, isn’t it nice to be able to take there being a next year for granted again?).

Who knows how high Gherardi can soar?

“It’s so rewarding and I’m super excited,” she said.

Duluth East senior Mattie Thompson took third in the Class AA boys high jump with a mark of 6-foot-5 Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School. (Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service)
Duluth East senior Mattie Thompson took third in the Class AA boys high jump with a mark of 6-foot-5 Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School. (Michael Vosburg / Forum News Service)

Niska breaks own record, Greyhounds notch a couple thirds

Duluth East had a nice showing at the state meet, with senior Alexandra Niska breaking her own school record in the 400 by more than a second with a clocking of 56.87, good for third. So in back-to-back weeks, Niska, a North Dakota State track recruit, broke a record that had previously stood for 41 years. Wow.

But she wasn’t the only Greyhound senior doing great things.

Mattie Thompson took third in the boys high jump (6-5) and David Ierino was eighth in the triple jump (42-4).

“It was pretty exciting,” said Thompson, who is headed to Minnesota Duluth on a basketball scholarship. “It was definitely something I will remember my whole life.”

Best of the rest

Duluth Denfeld junior Blake Eaton won the 100 and 200 wheelchair races and Grand Rapids junior Jackson Weston continues his ascent almost out of nowhere, placing second in the shot put (54-10) and sixth in the discus (143-1), both in personal records.

Grand Rapids junior Jackson Weston finished second in the shot put and sixth in the discus at the Class AA Track and Field Championships Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School. (File / News Tribune)
Grand Rapids junior Jackson Weston finished second in the shot put and sixth in the discus at the Class AA Track and Field Championships Saturday at St. Michael-Albertville High School. (File / News Tribune)

“That was quite the performance indeed,” Thunderhawks coach Darrin Hofstad said. “Jackson’s season bests going into sections were 48-1 and 132-5, but then he made a big leap. His position coaches Dan Jinks and Ben Simulahave have done a tremendous job with our throwers over the years, but this was certainly a freakishly big increase, especially the shot. We knew he had a ‘live’ arm when we got to see him early in the season in the gym, throwing against the wall, but the numbers really started to grow with the competition these last few weeks.”

Prosen runs Grandma’s virtually

With Grandma’s Marathon held on the same day as the Class AA state meet this year, Prosen ran Grandma’s Marathon virtually around his home in rural Cloquet Tuesday morning.

“That way I can stop and refill my water bottle,” Prosen said.

Prosen did the same thing last year with only a virtual option available due to COVID-19, and his family (wife Sara and three boys) ran the last few miles with him.

Prosen, 43, ran his first Grandma’s in 2000, with Sara telling him it was a big marathon. Tim was new to the marathon scene and was finishing up college at Wisconsin-Stevens Point and in the process of moving to New Ulm, Minnesota. He missed 2001 due to a wedding.

The former college wrestler was never a runner but needed something to keep that competitive fire in him. His top time is a 3:34 but he is not quite at that level now. Tuesday, he finished in about 4:30.

“All of my training basically comes at the expense of sleep, and it is not getting any easier,” Prosen said. “Coaching takes so much time, but I enjoy the challenge of training for the marathon every year despite less than ideal sleep and in general, rest for me.”

The couple moved to Cloquet in June 2002. Tim ran Grandma’s in 2002 and has run every one since. Tuesday was his 21st Grandma’s, and 20th straight. On Saturday, he thought about where on the course he would be at certain times during the day.

“I always sign up for Grandma’s early. My joke is, that way, I get a low bib number and look elite, even if I’m far from,” Prosen said. “I wish I could have been there at the starting line, which is special, but I knew St. Michael-Albertville would be pretty special, too.”

Minnesota State Track and Field Championships

At St. Michael-Albertville High School

Saturday’s Class AA Results

Boys

Teams (Top 10 and Northland Teams)

1. Rosemount, 55; 2. Hopkins, 49; 3. Farmington, 34; 4. Mounds View, 33; 5. Prior Lake, 32; 6. (tie) Monticello, Lakeville North and Waseca, 29; 9. (tie) Moorhead and Anoka, 28; T-27. Grand Rapids, 14; T-34, Duluth East, 10; T-61. Duluth Denfeld, 2.

Individuals (Winners and Northland Finishers)

100 — 1. Gary Afram, Rose, 10.70 seconds; 100 wheelchair — 1. Blake Eaton, DD, 22.04; 200 — 1. Landen Liu, Centennial, 22.13; 200 wheelchair — 1. Eaton, DD, 38.17; 400 — 1. Gus Langford, DeLaSalle, 48.64; 800 — 1. Will Skelly, MV, 1:53.46; 800 wheelchair — DNS: Eaton, DD, mechanical scratch; 1,600 — 1. Gabe Smit, PL, 4:15.96; 110 hurdles — 1. George Jackson, Hop., 14.09; 300 hurdles — 1. Samuel Duffing, Hop., 39.15; 5. Nathan Genereau, Cloq., 40.19; 400 relay — 1. Champlin Park, 42.34; 800 relay — 1. Farm., 1:28.14; 1,600 relay — 1. Farm., 3:22.34; 3,200 relay — 1. Andover, 7:54.58; 12. GR (Sam Stertz, Ian Andersen, Derek Erdman, Austin Hanson), 8:10.97; high jump — 1. Jacob Ziebarth, Cambridge-Isanti, 6-7; 3. Mattie Thompson, DE, 6-5; pole vault — 1. Jack Helmich, Wayzata, 14-6; long jump — 1. William Hanson, Edina, 22-3.25; triple jump — 1. William Heydt, Alexandria, 45-4.5; 8. David Ierino, DE, 42-4; shot put — 1. Marcus Hansen, Was., 62-7.5; 2. Jackson Weston, GR, 54-10; discus — 1. Hansen, Was., 178-8; 6. Weston, GR, 143-1.

Girls

Teams (Top 10 and Northland Teams)

1. Rosemount, 86; 2. St. Michael-Albertville, 65; T3. Minnetonka, 56; Edina, 56; 5. Stillwater, 48; 6. Eden Prairie, 43; 7. Wayzata, 41; 8. Prior Lake, 38; 9. Park Center, 36; 10. Spring Lake Park-SA, 24.5; 21. Hibbing, 12; T32. Cloquet, 8; Duluth East, 8.

Individuals

100 — 1. Maddie Dahlien, Edina, 11.99; 15. Alexandra Niska, DE, 12.49; 18. Bianca Lott, DE, 12.83; 200 — 1. Dahlien, Edina, 24.45; 10. Niska, DE, 25.88; 400 — 1. Dahlien, Edina, 55.48; 3. Niska, DE, 56.87; 800 — 1. Zoie Dundon, Burnsville, 2:10.54; 1,600 — 1. Alexandra Weimer, SMA, 4:49.93; 3,200 — 1. Analee Weaver, Stillwater, 10:15.26; 15. Cora Nephew, DE, 11:56.54; 100 hurdles — 1. Ava Cinnamo, Rosemount, 14.49; 15. Elise Harriman, Hermantown, 16.39; DNS: Olivia Jameson, Cloq., medical scratch; 300 hurdles — 1. Cinnamo, Rose., 44.01; 15. Harriman, Herm., 47.59; 400 relay — 1. SMA, 48.28; 800 relay — 1. Park Center, 1:42.39; 1,600 relay — 1. Edina, 3.54.75; 3,200 relay — 1. Wayzata, 9:08.02; high jump — 1. Niamya Holloway, Eden Prairie, 5-8; 3. Jameson Cloq., 5-5; pole vault — 1. Julia Gherardi, Hib., 12-6; long jump — 1. Olivia Peal, SMA, 18-1.75; triple jump — 1. Samantha Barrett, Prior Lake, 39-6.25; DNS: Jameson, medical scratch; shot put — 1. Hadley Streit, Mounds View, 41-4.25; 15. Merica Beighley, GR, 35-.75; discus — 1. Jordan Hecht, Rose., 134-11.

This story was edited on June 20, 2021 at 3 p.m. to include the correct set of AA girls team scores. It was originally posted at 10:28 p.m. on June 19.