Larissa Hacker, a junior hurdler from Albert Lea, runs in the 300-meter low hurdles Thursday at the Section 1AA track and field meet at Lakeville South High School. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune
Larissa Hacker, a junior hurdler from Albert Lea, runs in the 300-meter low hurdles Thursday at the Section 1AA track and field meet at Lakeville South High School. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Gallery: Tiger trio is still alive at sections

Published 6:00pm Thursday, May 30, 2013

A.L.’s Monson, Hacker and Tufte shine at Section 1AA meet

Three Albert Lea track and field athletes stayed alive Thursday on Day 1 of the two-day Section 1AA state qualifying meet at Lakeville South High School.

Albert Lea senior Chrissy Monson already punched her ticket to state in the 3,200-meter run, while Larissa Hacker and Tate Tufte qualified for section finals in their events.

Monson held a faster time than any of her competitors going into the 3,200-meter run, but she was challenged by Taylor Perkins of Lakeville North. Earlier this season, Perkins finished the 3,200-meter run in 11:24.71 — less than half a second slower than Monson’s best time of the year.

In the section race, Monson shaved 12.43 seconds off her time to win by just over five seconds.

“Chrissy ran a spectacular race,” Albert Lea girls’ head coach Margo Wayne said. “It was drama-filled and emotional. She ran a strategically intelligent race.

“Her last lap was phenomenal. She just pulled away. It was a big highlight.”

Although Monson was the only Tiger to secure a spot at state, Larissa Hacker qualified for section finals with an eighth-place finish in the 300-meter low hurdles, and Tate Tufte snuck into the section finals with ninth place in the 400-meter dash.

Hacker, a junior, has been performing well toward the end of the season, Wayne said.

“She’s come on like gangbusters,” she said. “She’s just been attacking the hurdles aggressively, and it’s paying off.”

Tufte secured the final spot in the 400-meter dash section finals. However, his teammate Preston Smith, was one place away from the finals in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles.

“We had a lot of great middle finishes,” Albert Lea boys’ head coach Kevin Gentz said. “We have a well-rounded team.”

Day 2 of the meet picks up Saturday at 11 a.m. It’s not only relays and sprint finals — Saturday’s highlights will also include field events, and the 800- and 1,600-meter runs.

More Albert Lea athletes will have a shot to qualify for the state track meet on Day 2.