ST. PAUL — Luke Johnston keeps coming back and keeps breaking records.
Already owning the state’s top throw in the wheelchair shot put at 21-feet-2.75-inches, which he established last year, the Medford senior knew exactly how far he needed to throw in order to push the record even further at Friday’s Class A state competition at Hamline University.
Wasting no time, Johnston leaned back on his first attempt and lofted a deep throw that landed on the sand with a thud 21-feet-11.5 inches away, giving him the record and registering the official distance for his third consecutive state championship.
“I already knew what the record was coming in and that’s what I was hunting for,” Johnston said. “I wanted to have both of the all-time Minnesota records, so that was my main motivation to come back. It feels really good to have that.”
Johnston — who fired a season-best 23-08 at last week’s section meet — needed every inch of his best toss as Category 1 competitor, Danny Lilya of Moose Lake/Willow River, finished in a close second with a 20-07.5. Ben Bode of St. Peter claimed the bronze with an 18-03.75.
Johnston will now cast his gaze to Saturday’s discus competition where he will be gunning for his third gold medal in that event as well. Last season, he posted a state-record 48-feet, 11-inches. If he succeeds in winning another title, it will be his sixth individual state championship.
“I don’t even know how many medals I have, but it’s a lot,” Johnston said. “We have looks hooks that I display them on in my room, so there’s at the top of my room right now.” Hopefully I can add one more tomorrow.”
Rachael Luebbe finishes at 5-feet in high jump
Entering the state competition as the top seed, Medford’s Rachael Luebbe was unable to match her season-best height of 5-feet, 4-inches and finished her season stuck in the third wave and tied with a number of competitors at exactly 5-feet at Hamline University on Friday.
Luebbe, who finished in 12th place at last season’s state competition, stretched over the bar at 5-feet on her third and final attempt before going 0-for-3 with the bar raised to 5-foot-2.
Madi Schirmer of Maple River won the state championship with a 5-04 and was followed directly by second place Madi Wagendorf (5-03) of Park Christian in Fargo. Alexis Pew of Chokio-Alberta/Herman-Norcross/Morris Area ended in third with a 5-02.
Class A state track and field (Hamline University)
Boys wheelchair shot put (Category 1 and 2 combined): 1. Luke Johnston (Medford) 21-11.5; 2. Danny Lilya (Moose Lake/Willow River) 20-07.5; 3. Ben Bode (St. Peter) 18-03.75; 4. Riley Steinbach (St. Clair) 9-11.75; 5. James Hagen (River Valley) 5-07
Girls high jump: 1. Madi Schirmer (Maple River) 5-04; 2. Madi Wagendorf (Park Christian) 5-03; 3. Alexis Pew (Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta) 5-02; 3. Adrienne Foell (Spectrum) 5-02; 3. Toryn Richards (Waterville-Elysian-Morristown) 5-02; 6. Tess Jack (St Croix Preparatory Academy) 5-02; 6. Ellie Danielson (Minnewaska Area) 5-02; 8. Bryn London (Rockford) 5-00; 9. Natalie Fultz (Eveleth-Gilbert) 5-00; 9. Sophia Cazier (St. Clair/Imannuel Lutheran) 5-00; 11. Hannah Schjenken (Redwood Valley) 5-00; 11/ Rylie Bjerklie (Roseau) 5-00; 13. Sophie Keister (Blue Earth Area) 5-00; 14. Bethany Linse (Fairmont) 5-00; 15. Rachael Luebbe (Medford) 5-00; 16. Kathryn Ireland (Crosby-Ironton) 4-10; 16. Jordan Tschumperlin (Barnesville) 4-10; 16. Ashley Veronen (Lake City) 4-10; 19. Josie Munsterman Lac qui Parle Valley) 4-10