FGF Finseth holds family bragging rights with state long jump championship and runner-up in triple jump
The Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton junior and his father, Jarrod, have a friendly rivalry – and now young Finseth has taken every step his father set in his own high school athletic career.
Finseth surpassed his father’s best triple jump mark earlier this season, and he now has a state championship in the long jump. The best his dad ever did at State was a third place in the triple jump for Win-E-Mac.
In addition to the state title in the long jump, Finseth was second in the triple jump and fourth in the 400 meters at the Minnesota Class 1A Men’s Track and Field Championships on Friday at St. Michael-Albertville High School.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I feel like I have surpassed my dad in everything now, ”said Finseth. “I’m now state champion, it’s something he never could do. There is nothing else he has done better than me on the track.
Joshua Finseth, center, of Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, competes in the boys’ 400-meter Class A during the Minnesota State Track meet on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Saint Michael. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Finseth waited a long time to find out if his best 21-foot, 3-1 / 4-inch long jump attempt would be good enough to hold onto the top spot. He sat atop the standings after all but one competitor had completed their jumps. Mora’s Kobe Swanson left the long jump pit after just one attempt to run the 800 relay and had three more jumps left.
Swanson was undoubtedly a contender as he had a longer seed mark than Finseth.
“I was getting so nervous,” Finseth said.
After more than 10 minutes of waiting, Swanson returned to complete his jumps. He jumped 21-2 1/4 on his first jump after coming back. He was only an inch away from Finseth’s best jump with two more attempts to go.
Neither of them surpassed this attempt and Finseth held on to win the championship.
“It was so relieving,” Finseth said. “I felt overwhelmed with happiness. After five years of work, I can finally say that I am a state champion and no one can take that away from me.
Finseth jumped 44-3 3/4 on his fourth and final triple jump attempt to take second place. He was only half an inch away from first place Kaden McNiff of Floodwood who jumped 45-3 1/4.
“I feel like I did what I could to the best of my ability,” said Finseth. “(McNiff) had a great jump. Nobody can take anything away from what I have done today this season.
The Rebels junior had to charge late into the field to finish fourth in the 400m in 50.23 seconds. He started to wear down and lose ground on the last corner and most of the field passed him. But he wasn’t going to leave that. He dug and gave her everything he had to get back in the peloton.
“I knew I was going to be able to do it,” he said. “It was my last race of the year. I had to give it my all.
Finseth’s teammate, eldest Justin Wang, was ninth in the 400m in 51 seconds.
“He’s my motivator in training,” Finseth said. “He pushes me. I always try to be better than him in training in order to be as good as possible on the track and on the pitch.
Jakob McCleary of Perham, right, competes in the Men’s 1,600-meter Class A race during the Minnesota State Track meet on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Saint Michael. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Perham finished third in the team standings behind a big day from long-distance runner Jakob McCleary and pole vaulter Levi Richter.
Richter was second in the pole vault, with a 13-foot-9 jump, behind only Jarrod White of Pine Island, who set a state competition record at 15-9.
McCleary was first in the 800, second in the 1600 and was part of a relay team in the 1600 that finished fourth.
“I’m really pumped. (The 800) was one of the best races I’ve had, ”said McCleary. “It was a strategic race right away.”
The Yellowjackets runner wanted to force Rock Ridge’s Cameron Stocke – who had already beaten him in the 1600s – to retire early in front of the field. When his enemy did not move away, McCleary decided to run ahead of him.
He moved away from the field around the 200-meter mark and led by a wide margin for the next 300 meters until Stocke equalized. He let Stocke hang out for about 100 yards before turning on the jets and moving away in the last 200.
“My plan for the last 300m was to just sit still and let everyone catch up and use their energy,” said McCleary. “And then in the last 200 meters I started running, then in the last 100 I really let go and I got a little bit further away.”
McCleary charged heavily on the last lap of the 1,600-meter race, but it was not enough to catch up with Stocke, who won in 4: 12.96. McCleary finished his fourth and final lap clocking 1: 01.37, passing Geno Uhrbom of Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin and Shef West of Blake.
“I ran (Stocke) a few times,” McCleary said. “On track two years ago and in cross-country, I know him. He’s a pretty good runner. He is young and he has a bright future ahead of him.
McCleary said he liked the flat nature of the 800 a little more than the slower pace of the mile run. His ability to push himself at maximum speed for an extended period sets him apart in the shorter event.
“I think it’s a better race for me because it’s only two laps of pure guts,” he said. “You’re there all the time sprinting the entire race. That’s why I love him. It’s a very courageous race.
McCleary anchored the Perham relay team with Gabe Thompson, Gareth Covington and Elijah Morris finishing fifth in 3: 34.65. Lake City won in 3: 27.43.
“The 4×400 was kind of all I had left and I tried to bring it home for the team,” said McCleary. “I didn’t have the best race because of what I’ve done before. This 4×400 team is full of seniors. I wanted to do my best race and give them what I could.
Levi Richter of Perham competes in the boys’ Class A pole vault at the Minnesota State Track meet on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Saint Michael. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor