For Dan Mushel, the sky is literally the limit.
For Trysten Ross, it’s beginning to seem that the standard throwing area is more of an optional boundary as well.
And now, both are heading to the state meet, qualifying during Wednesday’s first of two days of the Section 8AA meet, held in Cold Spring.
Ross, the heavy favorite entering the shot put, not only turned in a personal best distance of 56-feet, 3.5-inches to capture first place, his throw left the gravel landing area.
“I knew that the board was just a little past 55, so I was just aiming to throw over that,” Ross said. “I still know I’m a few feet short of where I want to be.”
Ross played it safe early on, making sure not to scratch and put up a good qualifying mark.
After that, he opened up.
“I came in a little cautious and anxious, but I knew it was my meet to win,” Ross said. “I took my first throw pretty laid back and hit a 52, which is about the PRs of the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, so I knew I was going to be OK, but I was still a little worried. I let loose after that and hit my 55 and then scratched a 57. So I knew where I was at for the day and I was pretty content.
“Obviously I was happy with qualifying, but I still fell short of my own standards,” he said. “I know I still have a couple more feet left in me and that’s pretty frustrating. So I’m hoping I can show what I can really do down at state.”
Mushel’s qualifying was more in doubt, as a cluster of competitors entered with the demonstrated ability to clear 12-feet or higher.
With the event up for grabs, Mushel soared to 13-feet, good enough for second place and the top-two finish required to advance to state.
“I knew I had a chance at going, but I felt like it would come down to who had the least amount of misses, and thankfully it didn’t come down to that,” Mushel said. “I gained a little more confidence after each successful jump and having no misses. Until I knew I was going, I felt sick to my stomach the whole time.”
Freshman Nick Maslowski finished seventh in the shot put with a mark of 46-feet, 3-inches and freshman Tyler Moore took ninth in the 3,200 in 10:07.09.
Preliminaries were held for all individual events up to 800 meters, with half of the field events completing finals.
Qualifying during preliminaries for event finals for the Little Falls boys were senior Tim Infinger in the 200 (23.05) and 400 (51.57) and senior Mathew Massmann in the 800 (2:00.54).
For the Flyers girls, senior Maria Hauer moved on in the 800 (2:19.91) and sophomore Melanie Dorn advanced in the 400 (1:02.01).
Ross and Mushel will now move on to the state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul, Friday – Saturday, June 6 – 7.
The final day of the section meet was scheduled to be held Saturday, May 31, in Thief River Falls.