Milkovich moves on in triple jump

by Tom Coombe

At meet after meet this spring, Ely sophomore Steve Milkovich stood out in the crowd.<BR><BR>The Section 7A competition at Duluth was no different, as the Ely athlete recorded top-five finishes in three events and landed a berth in the state meet in the triple jump.<BR><BR>Milkovich had a leap of 41 feet, four inches, good enough for second place in the triple jump and a spot in Saturday’s State Class A competition in Blaine.<BR><BR>In third place after the preliminaries, Milkovich needed a clutch jump to advance. That’s exactly what he got.<BR><BR>“He went into the finals in third place by an inch, and this was his last jump and he just nailed it,” said Ely Head Coach Darren Visser. “It was his best jump by a foot and four inches.”<BR><BR>Milkovich set a new school record in the event in the process, and competed against the state’s best at Blaine.<BR><BR>After Milkovich piled up several wins in the triple jump during the spring, Visser said he knew a state bid was a possibility.<BR><BR>“After that first meet when he jumped 39, he surprised me at that point,” said Visser. “As the season went on he got to 40. He’s a kid who worked hard over the years and it’s starting to pay off for him.”<BR><BR>Milkovich also added a pair of fifth-place finishes for the Wolves, who were 10th among 25 teams with 31 points.<BR><BR>Milkovich ran a 17.24-second race in the 100 hurdles, and completed the 300 hurdles in 44.62 seconds. <BR><BR>Milkovich’s efforts were part of an overall solid day for the Wolves.<BR><BR>Ely’s 800 relay of Mike Krunkkala, Dan Krunkkala, Gavin Bialke and Shaun Hall didn’t advance to state, but they placed third overall in 1:34 and set a school record in the process.<BR><BR>“We’re very happy,” said Visser. “To go and set two school records and have a lot of kids getting personal records, it showed we were peaking at the right time. The kids worked hard all year and I’m just proud of what they’ve done. I didn’t know what kind of team we’d have but these guys worked and put together a very nice season.”<BR><BR>Mike Krunkkala added a fifth-place finish for the Wolves in the 200 dash, completing the event in 23.92 seconds.<BR><BR>Ely’s 1,600 relay of Bialke, Hall, Adam Shultz and Mike Krunkkala took sixth in 3:40.5, and freshman Travis Cunningham was eighth in the 3,200 run (10:47).<BR><BR>“That was the first time he’s broken 11 minutes this year,” said Visser. “As a freshman, that’s quite impressive.”<BR><BR>Hermantown won the team title at the meet held at Griggs Field, on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.