PREP TRACK: TRF sophomore will attempt to win 300 hurdles for second time
Mike Biermaier was good enough as a prep athlete to finish fourth at the Minnesota state track meet in a hurdles event. Now he coaches hurdlers at Thief River Falls and admits he’s not even the best hurdler the family’s had.
That distinction belongs to his daughter, Meleah. At the Minnesota Class AA state high school track meet this weekend in St. Paul, the sophomore will attempt to win the 300 hurdles for the second time in three seasons.
“Fourth was as good as I could get,” Mike Biermaier said. “Meleah has 10 times the talent, endurance and drive that I ever had.”
Father and daughter work on an almost daily basis during the track season, honing the hurdling skills of the sophomore. Mike says the coach-athlete and father-daughter relationships are different.
At track, the coach calls the shots. “She doesn’t question the workouts. It is ‘Here is what we’re doing today, here’s why and here we go.’ There’s no negotiating.”
Meleah agrees. “He’s definitely the boss. I’ll try to butt heads with him sometimes. I’ll think I’m right about something. But he usually proves me wrong. Maybe it’s because he’s older. And wiser.”
Does a teenager really want to admit that a parent is wiser? “No,” she admits with a laugh.
They take the sport home with them. One of her parents usually videos Meleah in meets. “We’ll watch to see what I’m doing wrong, or what I can be doing better,” Meleah said.
But the relationship changes once the two leave the track.
“There’s a lot more negotiating at home, more give and take,” Mike said. “Going out with friends, what’s the curfew, when does a job have to be done — it’s your typical teenager negotiations.”
Not so typical is Meleah Biermaier’s talent. She’s a standout in volleyball and basketball. But track is where she has left her biggest mark.
Biermaier won the 300 hurdles as an eighth-grader with a time of 43.33 seconds. Last year, hampered by an ankle injury for much of the season, she placed second in the 300s with a 44.07 time. Rosemount’s Rachel Schow won at 43.89.
“It was hard, not repeating,” she said. “My main motivation has been to get back to winning state.”
Biermaier has the top seeded top at state in the 300 hurdles at 43.00 seconds. Fellow Section 8AA hurdlers Erin Huls of Rocori (43.01) and Mallori Johnson of Moorhead (43.97) are seeded second and third. Schow also returns.
“You throw all those kids in there and any one of them could win,” Mike Biermaier said. “But that’s good. You want to go against the best. There’s no way Meleah or Erin would be the hurdlers they are without the competition they give each other.”
Biermaier also is tied for the fourth fastest time in the 100 hurdles, an event she hasn’t placed in at state.
Biermaier knows how good his daughter can be. His daughter isn’t sure how good her father was.
“He rarely talks about his sports,” Meleah said. “He was a good one. I don’t know why he wouldn’t brag about himself some.”
Other area entrants with top-10 seeds at state include:
Marissa Carlson, Bagley-Fosston: Carlson is the No. 9 seed in the 1,600 (5:21.45) and No. 8 seed in the 800 (2:21.69). Carlson placed seventh in the 1,600 last season.
Madeline Huglen, Roseau: Huglen is the No. 9 seed in the 1,600 (5:21.45). She just missed the awards stand last season, finishing 10th in the 3,200.
Gina Balstad, Bagley-Fosston: Balstad is the No. 10 seed in the pole vault at 9 feet, 6 inches. Balstad was seventh in the vault at state last season.