Cambridge-Isanti athletes can now compete after coach's error

Two athletes point at a mark on the ground.
Evelyn Wiltrout, left, and Erin Baker point at a divot made by a recent shot put throw. Two track athletes from Cambridge-Isanti High School can’t compete in the shot put event because of a clerical error.
Courtesy of Shari Wiltrout

Update: 7:17 p.m.

The Minnesota State High School League announced Thursday it will allow three athletes from Cambridge-Isanti High School to compete in a sectional track meet, after a coach's error initially meant they could not participate.

The team’s coach accidentally left all the female shot put athletes from the school off the roster. On Wednesday, league officials said the missed deadline meant the athletes could not compete, but the league has now reversed that decision.

The students and their families said they appealed to the Minnesota State High School League but were initially told by an official the league would not intervene.

“They sent us an email (Wednesday) around noon, citing they wanted to be consistent with rules and policies,” said Shari Wiltrout, whose daughter Evelyn is one of the athletes affected. “And I requested more information about what rules are being referenced and have not received any response to that.”

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Senior Evelyn Wiltrout is in her first year competing in track and field. She recently placed first in the conference meet on May 24, with a throw of 36 feet 9.5 inches, her personal record.

“I’ve been preparing myself for the past week to compete,” Evelyn said. “Before we got the call, I was ecstatic. I was full of adrenaline and ready to throw.”

In a statement, MSHSL emphasized that about 30,000 entries were properly submitted by coaches across the state because rosters cannot be changed after the deadline.

“After conducting a thorough review, the League has determined that, given the unique circumstances, participation by the omitted students would not impact the competitive integrity or effective management of the section meet,” the statement said.

Erin Baker, one of the affected athletes, placed fourth in the conference meet, setting a personal record throw of 33 feet 4.5 inches.

“I was hoping to place in the top six to medal” at sectionals, she said. “So I was just feeling excited and riding a high, preparing for the meet.”

MSHSL said deadlines are an important part of the competition’s integrity.

“The roster registration process and deadline are essential for the effective functioning of post-season competition. It has proven highly effective and will continue to be enforced,” the statement said.