It was a trifecta for Meleah Biermaier in the Class AA girls portion of the 2016 Minnesota state high school track and field championships.
The Thief River Falls senior closed out her storied athletic career with the Prowlers by picking up first, second and third place medals at a very warm Klas Field on the campus of Hamline University in St. Paul.
Latest list of Biermaier accomplishments start with a third state title in the 300-meter hurdles. She added a second place finish in the 100-meter hurdles and ran a leg on a third place 4×100 relay team.
Biermaier burst onto the Minnesota track scene with a state title in the 300 hurdles as an eighth grader in 2012.
She finished as the runner-up in the event at the 2013 and 2014 state meets before again climbing to the top of the medal stand a year ago as a junior with an all-time Minnesota record time of 42.13.
Biermaier did even better this time around. After running a 42.93 in the Friday prelims – second to a 42.87 turned in by East Ridge senior Karina Joiner – Biermaier shattered her own state record with a 41.35 in the Saturday finals. Joiner was second in 42.45.
A bonus for Biermaier came in the 100-meter hurdles. She did not make the finals in the event as a junior, but she finished second this year with a 14.32 final. Joiner won in a record 14.01. The pair also went 1-2 in the prelims when Biermaier set a school record with a 14.27 and Joiner turned in an eye-opening 13.94.
“We went into the meet hoping that Meleah could win the 300 again, and maybe set another record,” said Dan Jago, half of the Prowlers’ Dan and Cara Jago head coaching tandem. “For her to do that well in the 100 was a nice surprise.”
However, Biermaier wasn’t done. She ran the third leg of a 4×100 relay team that was the Prowlers’ biggest surprise of the weekend with its third place school record 48.68 clocking.
Eighth graders Carley Johnson and Miah Nelson ran the first two 100s. Senior Kira Johnson handled the anchor leg.
“Going into the meet, we were just hoping to make the finals,” noted Jago.
They did that with a 48.88 – second best time on Day 1 where the 16 entries were reduced to nine for the second day.
St. Michael-Albertville won the race in a state-record 47.28 with a foursome that returned intact from a 2015 championship performance. Mankato East slipped ahead of the Prowlers for second in 48.52.
“After the prelims, we were hoping they could climb up – anywhere – on the medal stand,” offered Jago. “To finish third was totally unexpected.”
Carley Johnson also qualified for the state meet in the 200-meter run. She did not make it to the finals with a 26.53 after coming in with a seed time of 26.10.
It was nevertheless a strong showing for a young runner, explained Jago. “She was the only eighth grader in the field,” he pointed out. “We just told her to run hard, enjoy herself and gain the experience of running at the state meet.”
Jedah Caldwell, a senior from Chanhassen, repeated her 2015 accomplishments by winning both the 100 (11.95) and 200 (23.91).
Team-wise, Alexandria was the Class AA girls champion with 44.25 points. Chanhassen was a close second with 44. Out of the 60 teams who scored, Thief River Falls wound up ninth with 30 points.
Other team titles went to Minneapolis Edison, Class A girls; Rushford-Peterson/ Houston, Class A boys; and Wayzata, Class AA boys.
200 – (prelims) Carley Johnson, 26.53. Did not advance.
100-meter hurdles – (finals) 1. Karina Joiner, East Ridge, 14.01; 2. Meleah Biermaier, TRF, 14.32; 3. Julia Hayes, Irondale, 14.76; 4. Shae Buchman, Rosemount, 14.80; 5. Erin Beer, Roseville Area, 14.99; 6. Ashley Ramacher, Eden Prairie, 15.12; 7. Natalie Windels, Eagan, 15.19; 8. Michaela Baker, Robbinsdale Armstrong, 15.33; 9. Rachel Quandt, Austin, 15.48.
300-meter hurdles – (finals) 1. Meleah Biermaier, TRF, 41.35; 2. Karina Joiner, East Ridge, 42.45; 3. Julia Hayes, Irondale, 43.62; 4. Kalley Harris, Coon Rapids, 43.84; 5.. Natalie Windells, Eagan, 44.48; 6. Jocie Johnson, Lakeville South, 45.57; 7. Syri Williams, Alexandria, 46.32; 8. Emily Kauffman, Burnsville, 46.55; 9. Edith Makori, Big Lake, 46.57.
4×100 relay – (finals) 1. St. Michael-Albertville (Anna Keefer, Cherish Witherspoon, Katelyn Tschida, Whitney Perry), 47.28; 2. Mankato West, 48.52; 3. TRF (Carly Johnson, Miah Nelson, Meleah Biermaier, Kira Johnson), 48.68; 4. Forest Lake, 49.05; 5. Burnsville, 49.09; 6. Bloomington Jefferson, 49.13; 7. Eden Prairie, 49.19; 8. Owatonna, 49.28; 9. Mounds View, 49.81.