Montgomery’s Hanne Thomsen breaks Sara Bei’s Redwood Empire record to win 3,200 state title

It’s the second state title Thomsen has won this year — she captured the CIF Division 3 cross country title in the fall.|

Montgomery freshman Hanne Thomsen made history at the CIF state track and field championships on Saturday.

The distance running star won the state title in the 3,200-meter race in a stacked field amid windy conditions at Buchanan High School in Clovis, crossing the finish line in 10 minutes, 6.89 seconds, shattering the previous Redwood Empire record of 10:11.11 set by Montgomery’s Sara Bei at the state meet in 2001.

Thomsen’s time is the eighth fastest in the nation this season and second fastest by a freshman. It’s the second state title she’s won this year — she captured the CIF Division 3 cross country title in the fall.

“It’s really an honor to be able to break an Empire record and to win a state title again, especially in track,” Thomsen told The Press Democrat on Saturday night. “It’s just so surreal.”

For most of Saturday’s race, Thomsen hung in the back of the lead pack, around third or fourth, letting Albany’s Sophia Nordenholz dictate the pace. With around two laps to go, the top three was comprised of Nordenholz, Newbury Park’s Sam McDonnell and Thomsen.

With around 600 meters to go, Thomsen passed McDonnell, who finished third in 10:12.76, and settled into second behind Nordenholz.

Heading into the final lap, Thomsen made her push, passing Nordenholz and holding her off to win the race. Nordenholz took second with a time of 10:10.49.

“I’m super happy with my time and everything,” Thomsen said. “Going into it I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to do because there are obviously a lot of amazing girls in the race. On the last lap, I pushed through. I can’t believe I won. I’m super happy.”

Thomsen is the first state champion in track and field from Montgomery since Bei, now Sara Hall, who won the state title in the 3,200 in 2001. Thomsen’s previous PR was 10:12.03, which she ran at the Arcadia Invitational earlier this year.

“I knew (10:06) was possible — it was something we had talked about the last couple weeks — but it was not something I was sure could happen today given the wind,” Montgomery head coach Melody Karpinski said. “It’s really, really windy here, so that time is even more incredible because the wind is so strong. They had to run into it on the backstretch the whole time.”

Thomsen was one of three Sonoma County athletes competing in Saturday’s final events, along with West County seniors Ellie Roan and Carolina Dawson.

Dawson finished 10th overall in the 12-person field for the girls 800-meter finals, running a 2:16.20.

Roan fouled on all three of her throws to finish 12th in the 12-person girls discus field.

You can reach Staff Writer Gus Morris at 707-304-9372 or On Twitter @JustGusPD.

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