ST. PAUL — The other triple jumpers just couldn’t catch up.
Once sophomore Noah Carlson of Rushford-Peterson/Houston completed a jump measuring 48 feet, 4 inches — logging his best mark all season and setting the school record for the third time this year — the rest of the field at the MSHSL state track and field meet looked at a very difficult task.
That was a much longer jump than any Class A athlete had recorded all season. And nothing that happened Friday at Hamline University would change that.
When it came time for Carlson’s final jump, he quietly approached the state official and told her he would pass. At that moment, it was confirmed: Carlson was the Class A state champion in the triple jump, winning by a full 2 feet over second-place finisher Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman of The Breck School.
“It just hasn’t hit me fully,” Carlson said after stepping down from the medal podium. “I’m very happy with myself. I was a little bit nervous with Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman jumping around 46 feet and me only getting 47, but I pulled through and got the 48. So after that, it felt good.”
There was a time earlier this spring when the R-P/H school record of 46-1, set in 1992 by Robby Bunke, was an elusive goal of Carlson’s. But he has gone on to break that record three times now, most recently with Friday’s title-winning effort.
To R-P/H track and field coaches Gary Wade and Dale Moga, Carlson’s progression has been steady and significant. He was seventh in the triple jump as an eighth-grader (42-0) and and was fourth last year (42-11½). And despite playing sports year-round, he came into this year’s track and field season with no rust; he picked up right where he left off and reached even greater heights.
“It’s been a wonderful season for Noah,” Wade said. “Just from the very start of the spring, you don’t often see kids pick up where they left off, but he did. He always likes to work hard, and that makes a big difference.”
In addition to the triple jump, Carlson also ran the 200-meter dash Friday, qualifying for today’s finals as the No. 7 seed with a preliminary time of 22.63 seconds. He’s also got the long jump, where he’s seeded fifth with a personal best of 22-5½ feet.
That kind of workload might make it difficult for a young athlete to give their best effort in each event, but the R-P/H coaching staff has prepared for this all season.
“We addressed this sort of thing early,” Wade said. “Practice is adjusted so he’s not overloaded or overworked. He’s as fresh as can be right now. That’s part of him training for the whole season: making sure he gets plenty of rest and stays injury-free.”
With Friday’s state medal — and a chance at two more today — Carlson’s sophomore year has become prolific. He earned another state championship with the Rushford-Peterson basketball team in March as a springy, high-effort bench player who played key minutes in the playoffs.
That makes fall the only season left for Carlson to capture a state championship, and as an impact player for R-P’s always-successful football team, that’s a definite possibility.
“I haven’t got a football state championship yet, so I want to do that,” Carlson said with a smile. “I’m looking forward to the next two years.”