Cromwell-Wright forward Shaily Hakamaki crashed onto the court at Romano Gym in the first half of the Section 7A girls basketball championship on March 7 against Mountain Iron-Buhl.
Hakamaki later returned but wasn't the same, her right foot bothering her. Two days later she went to the doctor, and turns out, she fractured her ankle but it didn't require surgery. Just rest.
Fast forward to Thursday at Malosky Stadium, just across the street from where Hakamaki injured her ankle, and she created far better memories this time.
Hakamaki, a junior, defended her Section 7A titles in both the long and triple jumps, winning with marks of 16 feet, 6 inches, and 35-1.5, respectively, while also anchoring the Cardinals' fifth-place 1,600-meter relay.
"Being able to win both, with what I've even through, it's pretty cool," she said.
Hakamaki advances to her fourth straight state championship meet next week at Hamline University in St. Paul.
"I'd like to break 17 feet in the long jump," Hakamaki said. "Last year I got sixth and fifth in my events, so I just want to improve on that."
Forgive Hakamaki for curbing the enthusiasm. She's not even healthy.
"I'm about 75 percent," she said, with tape around her right ankle to prove it and scrapes along her shin showing her toughness.
Hakamaki has already scored about 1,800 career points in basketball, where she creates a dynamic duo with her cousin Taya Hakamaki, a UMD recruit.
Shaily Hakamaki hasn't committed to a college but plans on only playing basketball at the next level.
"She's going to hang up the cleats," said Cardinals coach Dave Foster.
For everyone who's seen Hakamaki jump, that's almost a shame. She appears as if she's trying to launch herself to the moon. It's something to see, and the photos capture the moment. Taking advantage of a tailwind off the lake, her mark in the long jump was a season best.
Not bad, not bad at all, because as Foster said, "she's hardly trained at all." If her fractured ankle wasn't bad enough, she later injured ligaments in the same ankle in early May and had to take another 10 days off.
"Just being able to jump today was pretty cool," she said.
Another survivor ...
Proctor's Sydney Binsfield maybe didn't have the best times coming in, but the senior knows how to turn it on, winning the girls 3,200 in 12:07.67. She also was part of the Rails' fourth-place 3,200 relay.
"I just wanted to give it my all," Binsfield said. "Why not?"
Binsfield will advance to the state meet for the second straight year, but this time was improbable after she fractured ribs this winter after a friend fell on her during a ski trip to Yellowstone. It was a freak accident that made her lay up for three months. That put the kibosh on her cross country ski season but didn't quite ruin her final prep season of track.
The oft smiling and laughing Binsfield isn't one to dwell on negatives. She will run cross country and track at Grand Valley State (Mich.).
"That's probably the proudest I've ever been of a kid," said Rails assistant coach Glen Gilderman. "She just kept working and working and working. She's just a great kid."
Best of the rest
Mountain Iron-Buhl's Jericho Peterson had never been to the state meet before, but the senior is saving his best for last, winning the boys 100 in a personal record 11.07 seconds and the 200 in 22.78.
Peterson puts that speed to good use in football, where he ran for more than 1,000 yards in helping the Rangers make the Nine-Man state semifinals and also played hockey. He will play football and may run track at St. Scholastica.
Last year Peterson's best in the 100 was 11.7. He was asked what's been the difference.
"My training and my diet, eating better food, and just lots of effort," he said.
Peterson never ran the 200 until this year. How does a sprinter not run the 200?
"Yeah, I know," Peterson said, laughing. "I thought the 200 was a little long, but this year I tried it and liked it."
• Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin sophomore Geno Uhrbom swept the boys 1,600 and 3,200. Barnum senior Sam Goodwin swept the boys shot and discus titles while Moose Lake-Willow River senior Danny Lilya broke his section records in the wheelchair shot and discus. Cook County senior Jack Haussner won the boys 110 hurdles, long jump and finished second in the 200, while Bigfork senior Kia Tower won the girls 200 and 400 and finished second in the 100.
• Mesabi East's Steve Ekman and Kari Hunt were named Section 7A boys and girls coaches of the year, and it was rather fitting after the Giants swept the team titles on Thursday. Led by 800 champion Ava Hill, the Mesabi East girls defended their section title with 78 points, 30 more than Proctor.
The Mesabi East boys were more of the surprise, winning their first team title since 2015 with 61 points, a point ahead of Ely and just two ahead of Esko. It all came down to the last running event of the day: the 1,600 relay, where Mesabi East won in 3:32.66, with Ely second by less than two seconds and Esko fourth by less than five seconds.
It wasn't looking great until Giants senior Tyler Baribeau ran like a man possessed on his third leg, seizing the lead, and then sophomore Gavin Skelton closed it out with a smart anchor leg, running smooth and relaxed and letting the others burn out while he saved his strength for the homestretch.
"Track is a pretty big deal at Mesabi East," Skelton said.
The 6-foot-2 Skelton is an all-around athlete, playing football and hockey, and his best is yet to come. He also defended his title in the 300 hurdles after finishing seventh in the event at the state meet last year. He also finished fourth in the 110 hurdles and eighth in the discus.
"Nothing over an 800," Skelton said when asked if there was an event he couldn't do.
• Two Harbors' Dan Hebl was named section assistant coach of the year, while GNK's Mike Rybak was named volunteer of the year.
1. Mesabi East, 61; 2. Ely, 60; 3. Esko, 59; 4. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, 51; 5. Deer River/Northland, 50; 6. Barnum, 46.5; 7. Cook County, 37; 8. International Falls, 35.5; 9. South Ridge Area, 33; 10. Moose Lake-Willow River, 32; 11. (tie) Cromwell-Wright and Virginia, 31; 13. Eveleth-Gilbert, 30; 14. Two Harbors, 29; 15. Mountain Iron-Buhl, 27; 16. Crosby-Ironton, 15; 17. Chisholm, 11; 18. Floodwood, 10; 19. (tie) McGregor and Proctor, 9; 21. (tie) Carlton and Aitkin, 8; 23. Duluth Marshall, 7; 24. Wrenshall, 6; 25. Silver Bay, 5; 26. Lakeview Christian Academy, 3.
100 meters - 1. Jericho Peterson, MIB, 11.07; 2. Dylan DeChampeau, GNK, 11.24; 200 - 1. Peterson, MIB, 22.78; 2. Jack Haussner, CC, 23:20; 400 - 1. Connor Daudt, DRN, 52.83; 2. Ben Hansen, CW, 53.25; 800 - 1. Luke Olson, Ely, 1:57.76; 2. Cameron Stocke, Virg., 1:58.07; 1,600 - 1. Geno Uhrbom, GNK, 4:21.57; 2. Stocke, Virg., 4:24.33; 3,200 - 1. Uhrbom, GNK, 9:40.87; 2. Isaac Swanson, 9:47.09; 110 hurdles - 1. Haussner, 15.21; 2. Derek Wester, DRN, 16.23; 300 hurdles - 1. Gavin Skelton, ME, 41.95; 2. Raif Olson, Ely, 43.44; 400 relay - 1. Esko (Aaron Moore, Shane Snaza, Elijah Blue, Luke Wagemaker), 45.96; 2. GNK (Matt Jeska, Eli Conaway, Jajuan Hall, Dyland DeChampeau), 46.11; 800 relay - 1. ME (Cole Meyer, Jagr Wippler, Tyler Baribeau, Carson Becicka), 1:33.45; 2. Esko (Moore, Dyland Edland, Blue, Wagemaker), 1:34.19; 1,600 relay - 1. ME (Becicka, Meyer, Baribeau, Skelton), 3:32.66; 2. Ely (Nate Nettifee, R. Olson, Emmett Faltesek, L. Olson), 3:34.24; 3,200 relay - 1. TH (Noah Smith, Brenden Seipke, Wyatt Haugan, Isaac Swanson), 8:20.09; 2. Ely (Dylan Fenske, James Schwinghamer, Faltesek, L. Olson), 8:28.01; high jump - 1. Josh Creer-Oberstar, EG, 6-2; 2. DeChampeau, GNK, 6-2; pole vault - 1. Jack Maxwell, IF, 12-6; 2. Jackson Thompson, MLWR, 11-0; long jump - 1. Haussner, CC, 20-1; 2. Baribeau, ME, 19-9; triple jump - 1. Wester, DRN, 42-10; 2. Eric Omerza, Ely, 41-10; shot put - 1. Sam Goodwin, Barn., 46-10; 2. Christopher Jacklen, Virg., 45-5.5; wheelchair shot put - 1. Danny Lilya, MLWR, 21-1.25; discus - 1. Goodwin, Barn., 141-7; 2. Gage Stankiewicz, Esko, 140-11; wheelchair discus - 1. Lilya, MLWR, 40-1.
1. Mesabi East, 78; 2. Proctor, 48; 3. Cromwell-Wright, 45; 4. South Ridge Area, 43; 5. (tie) Two Harbors and Duluth Marshall, 42; 7. Crosby-Ironton, 41; 8. Barnum, 38; 9. International Falls, 37.5; 10. Bigfork, 36; 11. Eveleth-Gilbert, 35; 12. Silver Bay, 29; 13. Floodwood, 27; 14. Esko, 26.5; 15. Ely, 22; 16. Deer River/Northland, 20.5; 17. Aitkin, 18; 19. Moose Lake-Willow River, 14; 20. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, 12; 21. Carlton, 10; 22. (tie) Cook County and Lakeview Christian Academy, 6; 24. Chisholm, 4.5; 25. Mountain Iron-Buhl, 4.
100 - 1. Reese Miletich, Barn., 12.63; 2. Kia Tower, Big., 12.86; 200 - 1. Tower, Big., 26.81; Hope Schjenken, DRN, 27.06; 400 - 1. Tower, Big., 1:00.17; 2. Courtney Werner, Pr., 1:00.70; 800 - 1. Ava Hill, ME, 2:16.71; 2. Grace Swanson, TH, 2:24.87; 1,600 - 1. Keegan McAuliffe, DM, 5:28.05; 2. Autumn Smith, TH, 5:28.15; 3,200 - 1. Sydney Binsfield, Pr., 12:07.67; 2. Emma Stattelman, DM, 12:21.37; 100 hurdles - 1. Alexxa DeQuevedo, SB, 16.37; 2. Neva Polo, Flood., 16.71; 300 hurdles - 1. Natalie Fultz, EG, 46.72; 2. DeQuevedo, SB, 47.75; 400 relay - 1. ME (Lexi Highland, Elli Theel, Kailey Fossell, Hannah Hannuksela), 52.33; 2. Barn. (Gracie Nelson, Danna Weets, Brooke Doran, Miletich), 52.68; 800 relay - 1. ME (Hannuksela, Kiarra Moehlenbrock, Kora Forsline, Hill), 1:46.30; 2. SRA (Mikayla Mellesmoen, Jaden Ellefson, Sophie Lenz, Taylor Mejdrich), 1:50.21; 1,600 relay - 1. ME (Moehlenbrock, Forsline, Lydia Skelton, Hill), 4:08.38; 2. TH (Morgan Beardsley, Elise Poe-Johnson, Sydney Haugan, Swanson), 4:14.89; 3,200 relay - 1. TH (Haugan, Mary Libby, Smith, Swanson), 9:58.88; 2. ME (Forsline, Aaliyah Sahr, Skelton, Bella Thomas), 9:59.41; high jump - 1. Kathryn Ireland, CI, 5-3; 2. Fultz, EG, 5-0; pole vault - 1. Brooklyn Jones, CI, 9-6; 2. Skyla Thompson, MLWR, 9-0; long jump - 1. Shaily Hakamaki, CW, 16-6; 2. Brielle Kallberg, Ely, 16-1.5; triple jump - 1. Hakamaki, CW, 35-1.5; 2. Polo, Flood., 34-2; shot put - 1. Taylor Busch, IF, 37-4.5; 2. Brianna Haley, Big., 37-4; discus - 1. Alexis Bonneville, Barn., 118-1; 2. Elle Ridge, SRA, 107-1.