Volunteers, technology make for atypical track meet in BarnumNormal track and field meets in northern Minnesota feature plenty of coaches with measuring tapes, stopwatches and clipboards recording distances, heights and constant times near the finish line. But in Barnum, that doesn’t happen. Barnum does it all.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Normal track and field meets in northern Minnesota feature plenty of coaches with measuring tapes, stopwatches and clipboards recording distances, heights and constant times near the finish line.
But in Barnum, that doesn’t happen. Barnum does it all.
Last Thursday, the Bombers hosted their annual Invitational on a beautiful sunny afternoon on the oval. Like always, parents, volunteers and Barnum athletes helped run one of the savviest meets around.
“We had about 20 people going all at once,” said Barnum girls track and field coach Patty Jerde. “People were in the pits, measuring heights and taking distances. Everyone was working. Everything was on time.”
Usually, things don’t work like that. At track meets, coaches are just as busy – if not busier – than their athletes. Jerde said that when Barnum provides timers, measurers and distance recorders, it allows coaches to actually coach their athletes.
“We supply all of that,” she said. “It’s nice because coaches aren’t running around like crazy trying to do everything.”
But that’s not even the best part. Coaches don’t even have to record tedious times. The Bombers have that covered, too, with their state-of-the-art Hy-Tek Meet Manager timing
The technologically advanced timing system is run through the starting gun which has a sensor at the finish line. When kids cross it, times are automatically taken, sent to the press box and put into a computer system for quick, efficient results.
“It works wonders,” Jerde said. “Usually you have to have at least eight timers at the finish line recording things. This system does it all for you, so coaches can actually sit back and not work, but rather coach.”
Moose Lake-Willow River girls coach David Hack sure likes it.
“Barnum runs a really nice, smooth and efficient meet over there,” he said. “It’s really nice that we can coach for once, instead of time.”
Hack explained that he and ML-WR boys coach Tony Andres usually split the timing and recording duties between their specialty events. Last week though, the pair was given a breath of fresh air.
“It was finally nice to get over to the pits and see some kids jumping,” said Hack, a hurdling specialist. “I don’t do that very often.”
Last Thursday’s invitational welcomed eight teams to Barnum, as the Bombers, Rebels and Cromwell-Wright headed the list of local participants. Barnum Elementary teacher Kurt Ziebarth is the longtime meet manager, recruiting teams, sending information and relaying results out afterward.
Oh yeah, he runs the Hy-Tek computer system in the press box, too.
“Kurt puts on a pretty awesome meet,” said Hack. “He does a great job, along with all of the other volunteers and people helping out. It really made for a lot of fun. We enjoyed it.”
Cromwell-Wright Coach Dave Foster agreed.
For Foster, however, meets like the one in Barnum have been surprisingly typical for his Cardinals this spring.
“We have only had to time at one meet so far,” Foster said. “But life is good that way.”
Foster watched as his Cardinals girls finished second behind champion Cook County, finishing in the top-five in 13 of the 17 events. ML-WR claimed third and Barnum fifth.
The Rebels were the show to watch for the relays, as Katie Ring, Haley Radel, Hayley Johnson and Mackenzie Louzek won the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800-meter titles. The quartet has yet to lose in the 4x800 in the outdoor season.
“They usually lap a couple of teams,” Hack said. “They’re running some good times and are only five seconds away from the school record. They’re fun to watch.”
Individual girls winners last week included Cromwell-Wright’s Allie Cahoon and Sam Suhonen, along with Barnum’s Lissa Warpula and Mercedes Loney-Adams.
“There was some good competition out there for the kids,” Jerde added. “And the weather was beautiful. The kids were able to just put their uniforms on and go run.”
On the boys side, ML-WR was the champions, totaling a staggering 116 points, winning eight of the 17 events. Barnum placed second and Cromwell-Wright sixth.
Like the girls, ML-WR won three of the four relay races, while Holden Olson, Cody Coughlin, Zach Cisar and Nathan Vargas took home individual victories for the Rebels.
Barnum’s Andrew Youngren was the only other local winner, taking the discus.
Results aside, the talk of the invitational was its organized structure.
“That was a very efficiently run meet,” said Foster. “It went quite well.”
“It’d be nice if all meets ran like that and had the technology and financial stability to put something on like that,” Hack added. “It was such a nice meet.”
All three local teams were back in Barnum Wednesday for the Polar League conference meet as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press. After conference communication, the small town was the selected as the host site for this spring’s
Good choice, because in the track world, it doesn’t get any better than Barnum.