ST. PAUL - Sara Melom barely had any time on Friday to catch her breath.
Qualifying for state in four events - the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, the high jump and the anchor of the 4x100 relay - the Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd senior was in all four events during Day 1 of the Class A state track and field championships at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Combine that with 80-plus degrees beating down on the Hamline track, and it made a pretty exhausting day for Melom.
ac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd's Sara Melom hops over the bar in the high jump to clear 5 feet during Day 1 of the Class A state track and field championships at Hamline University in St. Paul. Melom took third place, clearing a height of 5 feet, 3 inches.
"It's been very busy, very tiring," Melom said. "The coaches were telling me to drink and get in the shade as much as possible. When I was at the high jump, you couldn't really do that. It was really tough."
Even with sweltering heat and a swamped schedule leaving her exhausted after her last race of the day, Melom finds herself in the finals for Saturday in the 100 and on the 4x100 relay.
Melom also found herself on the podium on Friday, taking third place in the high jump with a mark of 5 feet, 3 inches, a personal record. New Richland/H-E-G's Carlie Wagner took first place with a height of 5-6.
"It was definitely awesome," Melom said, reflecting on her four-event performance.
The biggest relief for Melom came after the 100 dash, where despite coming in as the No. 1 seed, she took seventh in her heat with a time of 12.66 seconds, .10 seconds off her section-winning time.
Fortunately, Melom's time was good enough to earn a spot in the 100 finals, which are slated to start at 4:33 p.m. today.
"It was an amazing relief to make it," Melom said. "I would have been devastated if I didn't get it."
And it also took a strong closing effort by Melom, plus a hard push from Jacinta Roggenbuck and Katie Deyo to push LQPV/D-B's 4x100 relay team into the finals. Along with Morgan Munsterman, the 4x100 relay team advanced with a time of 50.88, good for third in the heat.
After a bit of miscommunication led to a bad handoff, Roggenbuck was determined to get her team back into the race in the second leg.
"When I'm running, I'm thinking to myself, 'Do I really want this girl to beat me,'" Roggenbuck said. "It just pushes yourself more. I sprinted out, got it off to Katie with a good handoff, and Sara really brought us back into it."
Melom was unable to qualify for the finals in the 200, taking a time of 26.34. Roggenbuck also ran in the 200, finishing at 26.26.
Two more area girls' relay teams made the trip to state on Friday. The Murray County Central 4x100 relay of Paris Thomas, Hannah Schmidt, Dunnevan Muldoon and Kara Homandberg finished with a time of 51.59 to take seventh in their heat. In the 4x200 relay, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton foursome of Kendra Nelson, Lauren Schaar, Sammie Gervais and Kelli Soupir finished with a time of 1:51.99.
Rounding out the effort for the LQPV/D-B girls was senior Morgan Munsterman, who ran a time of 16.47 in the 100 hurdles, which fell short of qualifying for finals.
Among area athletes, MCC junior thrower Tanner Nepp found his way onto the podium on Friday, taking sixth in the shot put.
With a throw of 49 feet, 7 inches, Nepp admitted he was a bit frustrated with the outcome.
"I've been able to hit 51 feet in practice," Nepp said, "but it never seems to happen at meets."
Four Class A throwers went over 50 feet, led by Ada-Borup's Brian Blasey, who won the shot put with a toss of 53-11 1/2.
"When you're around throwers like that, my coaches, and other throwers, it gets you into a zone," Nepp said.
The Rebels' junior will try again for gold today, when he competes in the discus.
Another MCC athlete, junior Jack Thony, is in the finals today, qualifying in the 100 dash with a time of 11.22 and setting a new personal best. Breckenridge/C-T's Michael Whitney had the top qualifying time on Friday at 10.97.
"My start off the blocks was pretty good, and it ended up being a good 100," Thony said.
But the Rebels' speedster was unable to qualify for the finals in the 200, finishing in 22.84 seconds. Along with the 100 final, Thony will also compete in the boys' long jump today.
Also in the 200, Yellow Medicine East sophomore Jacob Pederson competed, taking a time of 23.16, an improvement of .14 seconds from his section-qualifying time.
It was the first time at state for Pederson, who plans on being a repeat performer in St. Paul.
"My goal this year was to qualify," Pederson said. "Next year, the goal is to place."
In other area action, LQPV/D-B senior Evan Robertson finished the 800 run with a time of 2:00.82. Westbrook-Walnut Grove/Red Rock Central junior Jeff DeCock competed in the first of three events this weekend, taking 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 41-5. DeCock will try to play in a pair of events today, competing in the long jump and the high jump.