Minus a shoe, Hussein sparks Wayzata

Sports Editor

Junior digs deep during state meet

Wayzata High’s third-place finish in the State Class AA Boys Track and Field Meet June 10 was filled with memorable performances, but none was more memorable than the effort junior Khalid Hussein gave in the 1,600-meter run.

Hopkins High’s 1,600-meter state champion Seth Eliason holds off Wayzata’s Khalid Hussein at the finish line June 10 at Hamline University. (Sun Sailor staff photo by John Sherman)
Hopkins High’s 1,600-meter state champion Seth Eliason holds off Wayzata’s Khalid Hussein at the finish line June 10 at Hamline University. (Sun Sailor staff photo by John Sherman)

Hussein finished the last three laps of the four-lap race without his right shoe. He never stopped, never slowed down and almost caught the winner, Seth Eliason of Hopkins, near the finish line.

The 10 points that Hussein earned for second place helped Wayzata take third place in the meet, and thus the Trojans’ goal of reaching the awards podium was accomplished for the ninth straight year.

“The back of my heel got clipped and my shoe came part way off,” said Hussein. “It was uncomfortable, so I kicked it off.”

Was it painful to run with only a sock on his right foot the rest of the way?

“With all the adrenaline, I didn’t notice,” said Hussein. “But my foot might be sore later.”

Hussein was pumped up to race Eliason, who had beaten him for the Section 6AA title last week.

“I have raced Seth three times this year, and he has outkicked me all three times,” said Hussein. “He’s the best finisher in Minnesota. This time, he just got me at the end.”

Eliason was in front of Hussein as they reached the finish line, and Eliason won it with a last-second lean. Eliason ran 4:17.08 and Hussein was timed in 4:17.17. Alex Miley from Maple Grove, who had won the 3,200 the day before, was third in 4:20.62.

Hussein is already looking forward to the fall season in cross country. He helped the Trojans win the state Class AA title last fall and wants to contend for an individual championship this year.

“I am excited for next year and a chance to lead my team,” he said. “We’re shooting for big things.”

Trojan track coach Aaron Berndt appreciated Hussein’s extra effort at state.

It was a difference-making race. In the final standings, East Ridge was the winner with 51 points. Seven other teams had at least 40 points, making this one of the closest state meets in history.

“Coming into the meet, I figured we would score somewhere between 42 and 48 points,” said Berndt. “And I thought if we could do that, we’d be on the podium again.”

Wayzata has an unprecedented streak of finishing among the top three at state nine years in a row. Only the top three make it onto the podium.

“We have three firsts, three seconds, and now three thirds,” Berndt noted. “St. Louis Park had six straight years on the podium in the 1960s for the second longest streak.”

Wayzata scored points in many different events at the 2017 state meet.

Senior Ben Grosse high-jumped a carer-best 6-7 for second place.

Senior Lewis Gibson placed fifth in the 400-meter dash in 50.54 seconds.

Trojan sophomore Patrick Leonard ran sixth in the 800 in 1:58.76.

Another sophomore, Ben Hidani, was ninth in the pole vault at 13 feet.

Wayzata’s 4×400 relay took seventh place, despite losing Jett Berg with an injury on Friday of this week.

“We really had to stretch to make the top three this year,” said Berndt, whose team won the State True Team Meet in May. “Overall, this has been a very successful season. The credit goes to our athletes and our coaching staff.”

Contact John Sherman at [email protected]