Girls team takes third, three headed to state

A point away from either finishing in second or fourth place, the Cottage Grove girls track and field team finished tied for third at last week’s district meet.

The competition got underway on Thursday and freshman Matty Ladd got things started for the Lions as she won the high jump clearing a winning height of 5 feet 3 inches. This jump, a personal best, ties Ladd for third best in the 4A classification heading into state. The high jump competition begins at 10:30 a.m. on Friday at Hayward Field.

Later in the day it was senior teammate Sydney Boxberger coming in second in the javelin with a throw of 112 feet 2 inches. The javelin competition begins Friday at 11 a.m.

On Saturday, it was another freshman from Cottage Grove, this time Rhea Florez, punching her ticket to state with a second-place finish in the 800.

“I had the second fastest time to the girl that beat me so I was trying not to get too psyched out but at the same time like, I thought that I could at least try my best,” Florez said about her race. “The first lap was really fast, at least for me. I don’t start out super fast. So the second lap was just kind of hanging on.”

Florez, in her first year of running track, is excited for the state meet.

“It’s a really big honor. I’m a freshman and I wasn’t expecting it at the beginning of this year,” she said.

“I’m going to try and do my best. There’s a lot of girls better than me, though so I mean it will be nerve wracking but an experience.”

The 800 prelims will begin at 1:01 p.m. on Friday.

While Ladd, Boxberger and Florez were the only three Lions to qualify for the state meet, the team used depth to get enough points to finish third as a team.

“We qualified three girls for the state meet, which that’s not a big number for us typically so the fact that the girls scored that many points with three through eight spots says a lot for how well they came in and competed,” said head coach Ricky Knutson.

In the 100, 800 and pole vault the team was able to get three competitors to score to help get them to 110 points for the two-days of competition.

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