Sophie’s run leads to the awards stand

Sports Editor

As she prepares for her senior year at Minnetonka High School, Sophie Whicher is already one of the most successful distance runners in Skipper history.

Minnetonka junior Sophie Whicher (left) congratulates her friend and rival, Wayzata senior Jaycie Thomsen, following the 3,200-meter run at the State Class AA Track and Field Meet. Sun Sailor staff photo by John Sherman)

She wrote another chapter in her ongoing success story with a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 during the State Class AA Track and Field Meet June 9 at Hamline University. At the end of her junior year, Whicher has already run in the state cross country meet and the state track meet three times each. Not many can say that.

It was a hot day on Friday, so the times for most of the girls were slower than usual. Whicher earned her sixth place with a time of 11:01. She was the second Lake Conference finisher to reach the finish line, following Wayzata senior Jaycie Thomsen, who took fourth place in 10:50.

Whicher said she didn’t have a specific plan for her state run.

“I wanted it to be a race,” she said. “I didn’t plan for any set surges.”

For the better part of the race, Whicher ran with Wayzata’s Thomsen, her friend and rival. After the race, the two embraced and offered each other congratulations.

“I am always aware of where Jaycie is in a race,” said Whicher. “I wanted to stay with her and the two Farmington girls.”

Lauren Peterson of Farmington won the 3,200-meter state title with a time of 10:31. Emily Covert of Minneapolis Washburn finished second, just ahead of the other Farmington girl, Anna Fenske.

Whicher said she tapered for the state race, which meant she cut down on her training mileage this week. As a year-round runner, she keeps a steady pace and seldom cuts back. For the state meet, she focused on doing a proper warmup and getting plenty of rest.

“I wanted to be able to run an efficient race today,” she said.

Whicher’s efforts helped Minnetonka earn fifth place in the state Class AA team standings.

Another Tonka junior who stepped up at state was Olivia O’Brien. She took fourth place in the long jump and sixth place in the triple jump in addition to running on the Skippers’ 4×200-meter relay that finished third. Other girls on that place-winning relay team are Clare Liedtke, Ashley Shields and Faith Robinson. Liedtke is a senior, Shields and Robinson are sophomores.

“Our 4×200 relay team shaved two seconds off its time last week,” said Skipper head coach John Steffen. “We had some other good performances. Kayla Andersen had a personal best in the discus to finish fifth. Elizabeth Halbmaier took fifth place in the 800. She’s a fierce competitor.”

Minnetonka’s team score was hurt when its top pole-vaulter, Elisabeth Dalki, had to withdraw because of a back injury.

“Overall, we had a great season, placing fifth at state and winning the True Team state championship,” said Steffen. “We will have a good core group coming back next year. Our kids are great to work with, and they respond well to coaching. Also, our coaches prepare them well to compete.”

Contact John Sherman at [email protected]