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Milkovich lands fourth at state meet

From the opening meet of the season all the way through to the state competition at Blaine, Ely’s Steve Milkovich just kept getting better and better and better.The result was the sophomore’s first state appearance and an impressive fourth-place finish in the triple jump at the Class A championships, held June 12 at the National Sports Center.Milkovich set a school record at the Section 7A meet with a jump of over 41 feet, but just eight days later he shattered that mark by over a foot, finishing at 42 feet, five inches.“He went and set the school record the week before and then he goes and sets it again by a foot and an inch farther,” said Ely Head Coach Darren Visser. “It was very impressive.”Milkovich is the first Ely track athlete to place at a state meet since Letitia Dusich won the 300 hurdles in the 1999 Class A girls event, and the trip to Blaine capped off an extraordinary season.He started the year at the 39 foot mark in the triple jump, and dominated that event as well as hurdles events during the regular season.After advancing to sections in four different events, he earned a state bid by placing second in the triple jump with a school record leap of 41-4.The improvement continued at the state meet.“He grew so much and everything caught up with him this year,” said Visser. “To see that kind of improvement on a year is not uncommon. I don’t expect to see that kind of improvement next year, but to do what he did this year, it’s a credit to the hard work he has put in and his time hitting the weights.”Milkovich credits Visser and the Ely coaching staff with helping him get to the state meet.“We have a great coaching staff in Ely,” he said. “They got me on the right lifting programs and helped me through the years.”The three-sport athlete (football, basketball, track) realized early this spring that he might have a shot at state competition in the triple jump, an event he has participated in since seventh grade.“It’s the only event that I’ve been doing since I started,” said Milkovich. “I’ve tried a lot of other events, but this is the only one I’ve kept up with. It’s my favorite.”Milkovich is already looking forward to 2005, when he hopes to dethrone state champion Ted Rud of New York Mills, also a sophomore. Rud won the event with a jump of 44-4.“I’d like to win it and keep Ted from back-to-back state championships,” said Milkovich.A run at the state title is not out of the question, according to Visser.“What I’m hoping for is that in the next couple years, he can add two or three more feet and push for the state championship,” said Visser.Getting back to Blaine is a motivating factor for Milkovich.The Ely athlete was taken in by the atmosphere at the event.“It was unbelievable,” said Milkovich. “The whole stadium is packed with people and there are kids from all over the state. It’s kind of hard to wait for another year. I want to go back there already. That will help me train that much more.”Milkovich finished second at subsections in the triple jump and then dethroned the subsection champ at the section meet.The same pattern held true at state as Milkovich had the best showing of any Section 7A triple jumper.“You could tell that he nailed (the jump of 42-5),” said Visser.Milkovich wasn’t the only Ely athlete at the state meet.Ely’s 3,200 girls relay team of Julie Anderson, Casey Sovil, Kelly Chaudoin and Raychal Zupancich took 12th among 15 teams with a time of 10:05.43, well off the pace set by champion Cedar Mountain (9:26).Chaudoin was a substitute for Jenna Klein, who was part of the relay that qualified for the meet but missed the event because she was on a school class trip to Germany.

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