(From the Austin Post Bulletin)
LAKEVILLE — It was hard to wipe the smile off Austin boys track and field coach Tony Einertson’s face on Saturday. He was that happy.
“Things went as well, or better, than I expected,” he said. “I’m so happy for these guys. It was a terrific day.”
The Packers finished a solid fourth in the Section One, Class AA meet at Lakeville South High School with 94 1/2 points. Farmington won it with 136 points followed by Owatnna (111 1/2) and Lakeville North (101).
Most important, Austin advanced three individuals along with a pair of relays to this week’s Class AA state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Junior Henry Darling finished first in the 400 (51.00), junior Tim Erickson qualified with a second-place finish in the 800 (2:02.26) and junior William Darling was second in the 300 hurdles (40.46).
“We decided to sacrifice some in the individual events in order to load up our relays,” said Einertson.
The Packers “bookended” the relays, winning the first one — 3200 — and the last one — 1600 — of the day. They also finished second in the 800 and third in the 400.
“We finished 1-2-3-1 in the relays, and you can’t do much better than that,” said Einertson.
Members of the 3,200 relay were Christian Folken, Jacob Larson, Kyle Dammen and Erickson.
“Kyle ran a 56-second final 400 on his leg,” said Einertson, “and that’s when we took the lead for good.
“Our 400 relay was absolutely fantastic, too, but then again, so was the 1,600. I can’t say enough about them.”
Einertson said Darling ran a “very smart” race to win the 400.
“He had to go against a strong wind and just took it easy the first half before turning it on,” he said. “Then he flew the last 200 meters.”
William Darling hit a number of hurdles, but stuck it out.
“It wasn’t pretty,” said the Austin coach, “but he kept at it and did a great job.”
The pace of the 800 was slow because of the wind but “Tim adjusted and also ran a smart race.”
Einertson was also named Section One, Class AA Coach of the Year.
“This was our best performance in years,” he said. “Now I can’t wait to see what we can do at state.”