MVHS senior caps career with state title

The coaches at Truman State University knew they were getting a top-flight thrower when Cassidy Smestad signed to attend the school and compete for the women's track and field team. Little did they know at the time that they would also be getting a state champion.

Smestad, a senior at Mounds View High School, closed out her prep athletic career Saturday morning with an appearance in the shot put competition at the Class AA state meet. She entered with the fifth-best qualifying distance but ended up beating the field to claim the championship.

Smestad won the gold medal with a top throw of 44 feet, eight and 3/4 inches. She achieved that distance on her third attempt.

This was Smestad's third state appearance. Two years ago as a sophomore she took ninth and last year as a junior she finished fifth.

Smestad was one of 11 state entries for the Mounds View girls team and she was one of five to achieve all-state status by finishing in the top nine.

In addition to Smestad's first, the Mustangs also picked up a pair of third-place finishes. One went to freshman Emma Bangert, who ran third in the 800 meters. She finished behind a senior from Lakeville South and Wayzata junior Ruby Stauber, who won the event and in the process beat the all-time meet record that dated back to 1986.

Mounds View's other third-place finish went to the foursome of seniors Mikayla Toninato, Elizabeth Menne and Maddie Quickstad and sophomore Noelle Reynolds, who teamed up in the 4x100-meter relay. Their time of 48.43 seconds was only 0.17 seconds off the pace of the winning team from St. Michael-Albertville.

Toninato, Menne and Reynolds also teamed up, this time with junior Rachel Boyer, to claim another all-state finish. They took fourth in the 4x200-meter relay.

Mounds View's fifth and final all-state award went to eighth-grader Julia Fixsen. She ended up in a tie for ninth place in the pole vault with a top height of 10 feet, six inches.

Those five entries scored a total of 34.5 team points to land Mounds View fifth in the team standings.

Six other state entrants competed but finished outside the top nine. Menne, Quickstand, Jordan Nustad and Annalee Blake ran in the 4x400-meter relay and finished 10th in the preliminaries. Nustad and Bangert joined Anna Solfest and Christine Hessini in the 4x800-meter relay and they finished 10th.

Mounds View added three 13th-place finishes. Those went to Rachel Clark in the 3,200 meters, Natalie Louderback in the pole vault and Veronica Rasmussen in the shot put. Rasmussen also competed in the discus but did not register a distance.

— Brian Meyers


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