Emma Bangert of Mounds View finished runner-up at State to current Minnesota Gopher, Sophie Schmitz last year in the 800 meters. Bangert has an impressive resume as she enters her senior year. She has qualified for three straight State meets in the 800 meters, and she won the 400 meters at State True Team last year (58.71), making it unwise for her opponents to leave anything to a sprint finish! But it is Danielle Bellino of Lakeville North who has the top returning time, an incredible 2:10.56 run in the prelims at State last year! She finished third in the final, and has over six years of running experience supporting her as she pushes for her first title.
Without a doubt, the deepest section in the state for distance running is Section 6AA, and that is certainly true in the 800 meters. Emily Kompelien, the future Brown Bear has an impressive PR of 2:12.20, but it is a mystery at this point just which events she will elect to compete in once championship time rolls around. Last season, the 800 meters was one of her primary events, however she was unable to make it out of Section 6AA to qualify for State. One of the girls who beat her was Caroline Sassan of Wayzata, who finished fourth as a freshman last year, and went on to have an outstanding cross country season! She could have something to say this year as she continues to prove. And of course, what would be an 800 meter competition without a runner from Minnetonka? Future Gopher Libby Halbmaier was an All-State cross-country runner, and she also qualified for Hamline in the two-mile last year, but it is the 800 meters she she shines the brightest, coming in with the third-fastest returning PR and the reigning Section 6AA champion in the event. In her final season, she will be looking to improve on her fifth-place finish at last year's State Meet.
Meanwhile, four more athlete will also be returning from last year's State Finals and all have run 2:15 or better in the event. Anoka's Taylor Krone, another future Gopher, has the fifth-fastest returning time in the state of 2:13.22, and has also starred on Anoka's All-State 4x800 and 4x400 relays the past two years. Hailing from Minnesota's more southern schools are Waseca's Lexi Herman (who was also very nearly a State-qualifying triple jumper), and Owatonna's Syd Kretlow, while future Georgia Bulldog Jayda Woods of Rocori will be gunning for her third straight All-State honor (and perhaps joined by her teammate Brynn Sauer?). And finally, not to be forgotten is Prior Lake's Kristyn Arends, a future Wisconsin Badger who really blossomed during summer competitions, ultimately taking second in her age group at the AAU Junior Olympics and third at the USATF Nationals!