Saving their best for lastThe Osakis relay teams ran their best times of the season at the state meet to capture two titles. The Osakis 4x400 relay team went into the Class A state meet with the fastest seed time and the belief that they were the team to beat.
By: Eric Morken, The Osakis Review
The Osakis 4x400 relay team went into the Class A state meet with the fastest seed time and the belief that they were the team to beat.
Believing and proving it on the track are two different things though. The Silverstreaks not only did that in the 4x400, they did it in the 4x200-meter relay on their way to two state titles at Hamline University on Saturday.
“There are a lot of mental thoughts about it coming in,” Makayla Hoglin said after running the first leg of the 4x400. “You don’t just come here and do your best. You come here and know you have to do your best.”
This group of athletes did that by running their fastest times of the season to post school records in both races. Cali Sadlemyer, Hannah Szech and Becka Sadlemyer joined Hoglin to win the mile relay in a time of 3:57.95. That was almost two seconds faster than the second-place team from Blue Earth Area. It marked the fifth straight year that Osakis has finished in the top three in the 4x400 at state.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” head coach Lee VanNyhuis said of both relays. “The average person has no idea how much work it takes to be able to do what these girls did. They didn’t win the championships at Hamline. They won it in the months of hard work preparing for that opportunity.”
Szech and Becka Sadlemyer also ran the final two legs in the 4x200 relay with Abby Stroup and Brittney Sadlemyer. Becka got the baton from Szech with ground to make up over the final 200 meters. She saw Esko’s Erika Shady coming around the final turn and said she knew it was her job to reel her in.
Sadlemyer was able to do that over the final 100 meters. She passed Shady and held her off by less than a second as Osakis won the title with a time of 1:44.78.
“There’s a lot of pressure,” Becka said of anchoring both relays in a state meet. “But being a [junior this season], I think I’m able to handle it. It’s a good pressure.”
Sadlemyer provided the veteran presence in an otherwise young group in the 4x200. Stroup and Br. Sadlemyer are both 8th graders and Szech is just a freshman. It was Stroup and Brittney’s responsibility to keep the team in contention through the first two legs.
“I was very nervous,” Stroup said. “But being an 8th grader, I really wanted this in my first year here. I had a lot of faith in my other girls. I just wanted to start it off strong.”
Youth wasn’t going to be an excuse for this team. Confidence overshadowed any doubt they might have had against the state’s best.
“There’s a lot of other schools here that we hadn’t really ran against,” Br. Sadlemyer said. “But we knew we had a good chance of doing really well, and we showed that we could.”
The 4x400 relay team had every reason to believe it was the team to beat after coming in with the only sub-four minute seed time. Hoglin kept Osakis close in the first leg of the finals before handing the baton over to C. Sadlemyer.
Calista has already gone through graduation ceremonies but she put the official finishing touches on her high school career by giving her team the lead going into the final 800 meters.
“Before the race, the coaches said to me, ‘Try to get the team in first place at the end of the corner,” she said. “I was just trying to do that…I felt like if I could get myself as close to the lead as possible that they would finish it up for us.”
That’s exactly what her teammates did. Szech maintained the lead and Becka held off the shadows she saw over her shoulder down the stretch to wrap up a memorable day.
Both Szech and Be. Sadlemyer broke into smiles when the phrase “two-time state champion” was put in front of their names. Cali also ends her career as a two-time champion after being a part of the 4x400 team that won in 2009.
Szech said she didn’t know how to put that feeling into words. Becka had a way to describe it for all of them.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s probably one of the best feelings you can have as an athlete.”