ST. PAUL — Sophomore Geno Uhrbom of the Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin (G/N-K) boys track and field team has achieved some lofty goals this season.
Before the season, Uhrbom said he would like to win both the 3,200-meter run and the 1,600-meter run at the Minnesota State Class A Boys Track and Field Meet which concluded Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul. By doing so, he would accomplish winning the elusive Triple Crown of high school distance running which would be to win state championships in both long-distance races at the state track and field meet and also winning a state cross country championship in the fall.
Uhrbom accomplished one half of the feat on Friday when he won the 3,200-meter run state championship with a time of 9:24,07 which is well under his seed time of 9:40.87. He also was able to knock about 10 seconds off his personal best time in winning the race. Brandon O’Hara of Perham was second in a time of 9:35.80.
Then on Saturday Uhrbom completed the Triple Crown by outrunning the field in the 1,600-meter run to claim the state title. He shaved almost three seconds off his personal best time to win with a time of 4:18.22. Maxwell Gifford from the Minnehaha Academy was second in 4:24.33.
“It feels pretty good,” said Uhrbom about winning the state titles. “I got my Triple Crown that I worked very hard to get. I am just super excited and happy.”
Uhrbom said he decided to take the lead after three laps in the 3,200 on Friday.
“I just pulled away from everybody and I just ran my own race,” Uhrbom said. “I am not surprised that I was able to drop 10 seconds because I did not run my full potential for the 3,200 the whole year until now. I probably could have run just a little bit faster.
“In the 1,600, I went out a little bit faster right at the start and had a 59 or 60 (second) first lap or so and I thought I might as well hold it and not slow down as much. I tried to keep my consistent, steady, quick pace and it paid off. In the final lap I kicked it like you are supposed to.”
G/N-K head coach Will Floersheim said he is not surprised by anything Uhrbom does while running races.
“Geno ran two phenomenal races down here,” said Floersheim. “He couldn’t have run any more smarter.”
In the 3,200-meter run, Floersheim said Uhrbom went out and after two laps he stepped up the pace and put the field away. Then on Saturday in the 1,600-meter run, it was the same thing for the Titans sophomore.
“It didn’t even take him 300 meters into the race before he said he was going to have his way with it, basically,” Floersheim said of the 1,600 race. “He has put himself in that echelon of elite talent; you don’t see a kid go out and dominate the way he has. We have some really talented people in our own back yard like Cameron Stocke of Virginia who ran a phenomenal race today and it is just a testament to how Geno has been to be able to make it look as it was today.
“If you go back in the annals of the great distance runners over time and there is a mentality that sets them apart, and they hate to lose. They are going to lay it on the line every time and dare somebody to beat them. That’s what you see in this high school kid. He’s pretty special and I am very proud of him.”
With two more years of high school competition remaining, Uhrbom was asked what more he can do.
“Hopefully I can continue to do this all the way until I graduate,” said Uhrbom, who said he may now look at breaking some state records in events. “A lot of hard work has gone into this, like almost most of my days. It is the only thing I focus on doing besides school. It is a lot that goes into it.
See Geno, page 10A
“I may relax for a week or so and then I am going to have to build up strength and get my base miles in.”
G/N-K’s 4 x 100-meter relay bested its seeding by one as it finished 15th with a time of 47.09 seconds, almost a second slower than its seeding time. Members of the relay were senior Matt Jeska, junior Eli Conaway, sophomore Jajuan Hall and DeChampeau.
G/N-K junior Dylan DeChampeau did not reach the finals of the 100-meter dash on Friday and did not place in the high jump.
Sophomore Ayva Burkes of Hibbing was close but failed to qualify for the finals in the 400-meter dash as she finished 12th with a time of 58.52 seconds which bettered her preliminary time by almost three-tenths of a second.
Hibbing’s 4 x 400-meter relay comprised of junior Kourtney Manning, senior Lizzy Tuomi, senior McKenzie Maki and Burkes finished 15th with a time of 4:06.38.