Athlete of the Month

December 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that high school stars Shannon Bergstedt and Justin Grunewald are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for December 2003.

Bergstedt, a Hopkins High School senior, is recognized for winning the Young Women’s division of the Minnesota Junior Olympic Cross Country meet on November 8 with a 5K run of 18:38, which set a new meet record.  Bergstedt also holds the MSHSL Class AA records at 1600 and 3200 meters on the track.
 
Grunewald, a Brainerd High School senior, earned his accolades after he ran 15:54 for 5K at the same meet to set a new meet record in the Young Men's division.  Grunewald was 5th in Class AA at the MSHSL Cross Country Championships last fall.

November 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that high school stars Lisa Waananen and Matt Damico are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for November 2003.

Waananen, a senior at Maple Grove High School, is recognized for winning the Class AA Championship at the Minnesota State High School League Cross Country Championship held at St. Olaf College in Northfield on November 1.  Waananen clocked  14 minutes, 13 seconds for the 4K course, a time bettered only by Carrie Tollefson formerly of Lac Qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd and now a national-class runner.  Tollefson ran 14:09.2 in 1994.

Damico, a senior at East Grand Forks High School, is honored for winning the State Class A title.  Like Waananen, Damico also narrowly missed a running meet record time.  His 15:41.5 clocking over the 5K course was just two tenths of a second slower than the Class A record time set by Josh Brown of St. Cloud Cathedral High School in 1991 at Arrowwood Golf course in Alexandria.  Damico's time was the fastest ever run by a Class A runner on the St. Olaf course.

October 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that marathon standouts Janet Robertz and Eric Hartmark are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for October 2003.

Robertz, 44 of Shorewood, is named for winning the USA Masters Marathon Championship held in conjunction with Twin Cities Marathon on October 5. Robertz, who finished 9th overall among women, ran 2:46:23 to lead all U.S. 40+ year-old runners across the finish line.

Hartmark, 25 of Roseville, is recognized for qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials with a 2:21:57 clocking at the St. George Marathon in Utah on October 5. Presently, Hartmark, Chris Lundstrom, and Jason Lehmkuhle are the only Minnesota men to have made the standard (2:22:00) for the men's Trials, which will be contested on February 7, 2004 in Birmingham, Alabama.

September 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Ralph Maxwell and Barb Spannaus are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for September 2003.

Maxwell, 83 of Richville, is honored for winning the national high jump title for men aged 80 years and older at the USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships held in Eugene, Oregon on August 7 - 10.  Maxwell cleared 3 feet, 8 and one-half inches for his victory.  He also placed in the 100 and 200 meter runs as well as the long and triple jumps.

Spannaus, 55 of Shorewood, won the  women's 55-59 10,000 meter run in 50 minutes, 33.64 seconds and was runner-up in her division in the 5000 meter run at the championships.

August 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Kristen Nicolini and Jason Lehmkuhle are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for August 2003.

Nicolini, a member of Team USA Minnesota, was recognized for her victory at the Hennepin-Lake Classic 10K held on August 3, which served as the USATF Minnesota Championship for that distance.  Nicolini clocked 34:41 around the Lake Calhoun course.  She followed up her 10K victory with a win in the Hennepin-Lake Classic 5K held an hour and fifteen minutes later. Nicolini, who resides in St. Louis Park, ran the 5K in 17:07.

Jason Lehmkuhle, who represents the Gear Running Store, was also honored for his wins at Hennepin-Lake.  Lehmkuhle ran 29:57 to win the 10K title and came back with a 14:46 5K to win in the latter event.  Lehmkuhle was an all-American runner at Drake University and currently resides in St. Paul.

July 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that high school stars Liz Podominick and Garrett Heath are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for July, 2003.

Podominick, a senior at Lakeville High School won both the shot put and discus throw in Class AA at the Minnesota State High School League Championships on June 6-7.  Podominick put the shot 49 feet, 10 and three-quarters inches and threw the discus 153-0 at the state meet.  Podominick holds Minnesota all-time best marks for high schoolers with tosses of 52-4 3/4 in the shot and 160-8 in the discus, both recorded this season.

Heath, a junior at Winona High School, won the Class AA 1600 and 3200 meter runs by prevailing in the final meters of both races.  Heath out-kicked defending champion Forrest Tahdooahnippah of Minneapolis Southwest in the 3200 meter run by three one-hundredths of a second with a wining time of 9:17.42.  The next day, Heath won the 1600 meter run in 4:13.81 beating runner-up Mike Van Beusekom of Irondale by twenty-three one-hundredths of a second.  Heath won a unique sporting triple during the 2002-2003 school year -- he won the Class AA cross country title in the fall, the MSHSL cross country ski title in the winter, and the two track and field titles this spring.

June 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Amber James and Mitch Potter are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for June, 2003.

James, a junior at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts and a former Woodbury High School star, is recognized for winning the 200 and 400 meter titles at the NCAA Division III Championships in Canton, New York last month. James also anchored her school's meet-winning 4 x 400m relay team, which included her younger sister Aspen. Wheaton won the team title at the meet as well.

Potter, a University of Minnesota junior, earned his distinction for winning the 400 meters at the Big Ten Championships held in Minneapolis, as well as for finishing third in the 200 meters, anchoring the Gophers victorious 4 x 400 meter relay squad, and playing no small part in the conference title winning effort of the Gopher men. Potter is a native of Isanti and a graduate of St. Michael-Albertville High School.

May 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Vanessa Clarida and Nate Englin are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for May, 2003.

Clarida, a junior at Bloomington Kennedy High School and the Minnesota State High School League State Meet record holder in her three events, is recognized for her early season dominance across the sprint events. She currently leads the MSHSL Class AA honor roll in the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes. She has clocked 12.44 seconds for 100 meters, 25.54 for 200 meters, and 57.2 for 400 meters.

Englin, a junior at Mounds View High School, is honored for breaking the Minnesota High School all-time record in the Shot Put. Englin heaved the shot 65 feet, six inches at the Pony Relays in Stillwater on April 12. The mark eclipsed the existing record of 65-4 set by Tim Senjum of Hayfield in 1996. Englin also leads the state in the discus throw with a mark of 177-9.

April 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Sara Wells and Luke Speltz are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for April, 2003. 

Wells, a member of Team USA Minnesota, earned Athlete of the Month distinction for winning the 2003 USA Marathon Championship in St. Louis on April 5. Just one week after competing for the USA at the World Cross Country Championships in Switzerland, Wells clocked 2:35:37 to earn $19,000 in prize money and gain a spot on the USA team for the World Track & Field Championships Marathon in Paris this August. Wells passed World Cross teammate Colleen De Reuck in the 25th mile of the marathon to earn the victory. 

Luke Speltz of Gustavus Adolphus College is honored for double runner-up performances in the shot put and weight throw at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships in Greencastle, Indiana March 14-15. Speltz put the shot 55 feet, 10 and one-half inches and threw the 35 pound weight 61-1 1/4 inches. The points Speltz earned helped lead Gustavus to a fourth place team finish at the meet.

March 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that the University of Minnesota Men's 4 x 400 meter relay team and Katie McGregor are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for March, 2003. 

The Gopher 4 x 400 -- composed of Mitch Potter, Adam Steele, Mikael Jakobsson, and Andy Wohlin -- is honored for winning the Big Ten Indoor Championships and for its members leading the Gophers' 131.5 point, runner-up team finish at the event held March 1-2. The relay clocked 3:12.83 for the victory. In addition, Potter, Jakobsson, and Wohlin swept the top three places in the 400 meter run, with Potter winning in 47.14. Steele won the 600 meter run in 1:18.94. 

McGregor, of Edina and a member of Team USA Minnesota, is recognized for her fourth place finish at the USA Cross Country Championships in Houston, Texas on February 15. McGregor ran a time of 30 minutes, 27 seconds over the muddy 8K course to earn a spot on the U.S. team for the World Cross Country Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland on March 29. McGregor also finished 5th at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in the 3000 meters and earned a spot on the U.S. team for the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, England this weekend.

February 2003
The Minnesota Association of USA Track & Field is proud to announce that Shani Marks and Tyrone Minor are USATF Minnesota's Athletes of the Month for February, 2003.

Marks, a University of Minnesota senior from Apple Valley, was recognized for her 43 foot, 1 and one-half inch triple jump victory at the Northwest Open meet at the University on January 11. The performance established a new school record in the event -- eclipsing Christine Gulbrandsen's 1999 mark of 42-10 1/4 -- and provisionally qualified Marks for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.

Minor was honored for his first place long jump of 25 feet, three and one-quarter inch and his victorious 6.36 second clocking in the 55 meter dash at the Carleton Men's Open meet on January 31. Minor, who competed for St. Paul Central High School, Drake University, and the University of Minnesota, represents Chizel T & F.