Minster Girls Second, Watcke 1600 Champ at State Meet

Minster's Emma Watcke won the 1600 state championship on Saturday.
Staff Writer

Freshman Emma Watcke ran away with the 1600 meter state title and gave her team a jolt that led to a state runner-up finish on Saturday at the Division III state track championships.

"It just was a huge boost for our team," Minster head coach Jessie Magoto said of Watcke's mile state title. "They were happy and confident after Friday. They did well. They were ready to perform well, but that was just an eye-opener that said 'Oh, okay. This is what can happen.'"

Watcke made her move in the second half of the race and opened up a large lead over the final 200 meters to post a 5:01.08 time,  more than three seconds better than second-place Alexa Leppelmeier of Pettisville. 

It was part of a big weekend for Watcke, who was part of the third-place 3200 meter ream on Friday and who just missed out on the podium in the 3200 meter final.

The Wildcats fell just a little short of another state crown as the Anna Rockets — powered by a win in the closing 1600 meter relay — took the championship by a narrow 38-36 margin. Minster finished second in Division III for the third straight year and for the sixth time in program history to go along with its 12 state championships.

Minster and Anna were neck and neck going into the final event, the 1600 relay. The Rockets earned the win with a 3:56.31 time, nudging past St. Thomas Aquinas to earn the important 10 points. Minster finished fifth to earn four points with a 4:03.35 time, allowing Anna to move past the Wildcats for the championship.

"I hate that we felt disappointed at finishing second, but when you get that close, you can't help but start being greedy," Magoto said. "That's okay. It was super we were in that position."

The Minster 3200 meter relay team of Watcke, Cassie Francis, Kaitlynn Albers and Madeline Magoto took third with a 9:22.12 time to get Minster off to a great start in its quest for its first state championship since 2004.

Magoto reached the upper half of the podium again on Saturday with a third-place finish in the 800 meter run with a 2:15.43 time. Cassie Francis was ninth (2:16.84).

Paige Thobe gave Minster a fourth-place finish in the long jump, clearing 17 feet, 6.75 inches.

Minster’s 800 meter relay team of Paige Thobe, Courtney Prenger, Jordyn Heitbrink and Jessica Falk finished fifth in the state with a 1:46.2 time.

Minster senior Jordyn Heitbrink reached the podium for the second straight year in the high jump, taking eighth after clearing 5 feet, five inches.

Read more and see more photos from state track from all the area teams in this week's Community Post.