Minneapolis Washburn senior Aidan Jones and Southwest junior Sam Scott recorded 3,200-meter run times Thursday good enough to win track and field state championships in each of the past nine years.
A familiar foe, Armstrong senior Noah Breker, did them one better.
Breker's winning time of 8 minutes, 51.44 seconds gave him a repeat Class 3A title and lowered the meet record held by Richfield's Obsa Ali since 2013 (8:57.07).
Jones (8:54.48) placed second, one spot ahead of Scott (8:57.10). Together, the trio achieved a rare feat. Thursday's race at St. Michael-Albertville marked only the second time since 2013 in which three runners finished in less than nine minutes.
"We did the Section 6 sweep, just like we did at the section meet," said Breker, who ran to the sixth-fastest mark in Minnesota history. "Having competition like that helps you get prepared."
Breker said patience became a key element in defending his state title.
"I honestly was expecting to be, like, at this pace at the beginning of the year, especially coming off indoor nationals," Breker said. "But I wasn't quite there right away. And I was doing a lot more intense training this year. So I just had to trust in my plan with my coach."
Wayzata freshman Maddie Gullickson could relate to keeping the faith. She won the girls 3,200 in a time of 10:39.55 by staying among the lead pack and outkicking the runner-up, Mounds View senior Taylor Isabel, over the final 200 meters.
"The deal was just to sit there kind of waiting," Trojans distance running coach Addy Hallen said. "Knowing just everyone in the state was so close, that was the best tactic anyone could make."
Bills gets even
Rosemount senior Hayden Bills technically won the Class 3A shot put state with his first mark because no one else in the field reached the 60-foot mark throughout the event. Bills wasn't close to being satisfied, however. Not after last season's debacle.
Bills carried the top shot put performance into the state meet in 2022 but didn't make the finals. That's because his spinning technique, one he developed throughout his junior season. backfired. Bills faceplanted in the circle, leaving his share of blood.
On Thursday, Bills looked at the spot, spit on it, and then unfurled a throw of 66 feet, 7½ inches. That topped the state meet record of 65-4¼ set by Andover's Thomas Anderson in 2012, but Bills fell just short of the state record of 66-8¾ he set earlier this spring.
"Last year definitely gave me a little bit of extra fuel," Bills said, adding, "I was very adamant on winning."
Borsch outruns nerves
Maple Grove girls track and field coach Jen Riewe surprised senior Jordyn Borsch with a white ballcap emblazoned with a blue "N" and "D" because Borsch is committed to Notre Dame.
The focus then turned to a busy day of preliminaries. Borsch met the challenge, producing the top preliminary times in the 100, 200 and 400. Doing so set up Borsch for a memorable Saturday finals. A sweep would make her a repeat champion in the 100 and 400. She recently set a state record in the 400 of 53.47 seconds.
"It definitely means a lot," Borsch said. "I knew I could PR [set a personal best in the 400] this year. But I wasn't quite sure if I would PR by that much. And so I was really happy when I saw that time and it just kind of motivates me to do better."
Jordan's clutch jump
Not all thrilling finishes happen on the track. Eden Prairie senior Devin Jordan found himself in second place in the triple jump with one attempt remaining.
Jordan's winning leap of 46-7¼ wasn't a personal best. He credited consistent jumps for keeping him toward the top.
"And then the final one, I just jumped a little bit farther than what I needed, so it felt good," said Jordan, who will compete in the high jump and long jump on Saturday.
Elsewhere in Class 3A
The Minnetonka boys 4x100 relay led preliminary heats in a time of 41.28 seconds. Only the 2019 Hopkins crew anchored by eventual Olympian Joe Fahnbulleh was faster (41.23).
Rochester Century senior Nathan Nelson won the pole vault at a height of 16 feet, 1 inch. He set a state meet record and became the fourth boy to clear 16 feet.
Class 1A notable results
The Minnehaha Academy girls 4x100 relay won the preliminary race, the unit's first step toward repeating as state champions. Anchor Grazina Troup is the lone returning runner.