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State track and field: Relays dominate the final day for area Class A teams

Osakis junior Tianna Stanek runs the anchor of the 4x100-meter relay at Hamline University on Saturday. Stanek joined Tessa Stanek, Makenzie Lien and Grace Walter in finishing fifth at state in the event. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)1 / 5
The Osakis 4x100-meter relay team of (left to right) Tessa Stanek, Makenzie Lien, Grace Walter and Tianna Stanek with their fifth-place medals that they won at the Class A state meet on Saturday at Hamline University. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)2 / 5
Minnewaska's Kristin Glover hands the baton to anchor Ellie Danielson during the 4x800-meter relay at the Class A state meet on Saturday. Glover and Danielson joined up with Bailey Schoen and Makena Thoen to take fourth in the event with a time of 9:40.88. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)3 / 5
Osakis' Elizabeth Pahl competes in the shot put during Saturday's Class A state meet at Hamline University. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)4 / 5
Minnewaska senior Nolan Weisel runs the second leg of the 4x200-meter dash at the Class A state meet on Saturday. Weisel joined teammates Nathan Pitzen, Jackson Meyer and Sam Nyquist in taking fourth in the finals. (Eric Morken / Echo Press) 5 / 5

The Osakis girls 4x100-meter relay team huddled up together one last time in the infield at Hamline University after taking fifth place to wrap up the season on Saturday.

Three of these four girls will be back, but Grace Walter is a senior. She was fighting back tears as she tried to describe exactly what it meant to finish top five at state with this group of girls in the last race of her high school career.

“It was so much fun finishing off my last season with these girls,” Walter said. “They’ve pushed me as an athlete and as a person to be the best that I can possibly be. Tianna, Tessa, Makenzie and Lauren (Scherr), they were just so supportive with me being the only senior in this relay. It was just super great being here with them.”

Those five have shared the duties of running in this relay much of the season, and the Stanek sisters in Tianna and Tessa, along with Makenzie Lien got the finals run. They were sixth after the prelims on Friday, and were thrilled to move up a spot on the podium after the finals.

“We all knew we were going to push harder this time,” Tianna said. “We all had it in us, so we were just prepared. We were ready to go and kick some butt out there today.”

Osakis finished in a time of 50.99 seconds. Tianna, a junior, had to fend off MacKenzie Haraldson of Pipestone Area as the two finished as close as could get.

“Honestly, I don’t hear anything,” Tianna said. “I’m just focused on that end line. It’s crazy. I’m pushing it through, trying to chase someone down, always.”

It was Tianna’s job to close things out and her younger sister’s job to get things started fast. Tessa, an eighth-grader, ran the first leg before handing off to her classmate in Lien.

“I just knew we got this,” Tessa said of getting the race off on the right foot. “We’re already here. We had made it this far, just push through my best and go as hard as I can go.”

This group is sad to see Walter go, but happy to send her out with a top-five finish at state. Now they will look ahead to what figures to be a bright future again next season.

“I think we got it pretty good,” Lien said of returning three of four runners. “We still have two other very fast people. The upcoming athletes are going to be very helpful to the team.”

Stanek takes ninth in the 200 dash

Tianna Stanek added to her day by running in the 200-meter dash and taking ninth in that event. She came in with a prelims time of 27.14 and lowered that to 26.94 in the finals.

T’Nia Riley of Minneapolis North won the championship in the 200 and did so in a new state-record time of 24.44 seconds.

Pahl adds to her big weekend

Osakis junior Elizabeth Pahl finished fifth in the discus on Friday. On Saturday, she added an eighth-place finish in the shot put.

Pahl came into the state meet with a seed mark of 38-08. She went even further on Saturday, marking a top throw of 39-05. Beth-el Algarin of Pierz won the Class A state title with a throw of 44-01.25.

Lakers fourth in 4x800, 4x200, Johnsrud competes in high jump

The Minnewaska girls 4x800-meter relay team ran its way to a fourth-place finish as the Lakers cut almost five seconds from their seed time (9:45.28).

Freshman Bailey Schoen, seventh-grader Makena Thoen, freshman Kristin Glover and sophomore Ellie Danielson ran a time of 9:40.88. The Lakers made up a lot of ground over the final two legs of the race as Glover reeled in the pack, and Danielson helped put things away for the young team from Minnewaska.

The team from Luverne won the state title after shattering their seed time. Regan Feit, Jadyn Anderson, Tenley Nelson and Brooklynn VerSteeg came in with a time of 9:45.35 and won the championship in 9:29.56.

The Minnewaska boys 4x200 team also took home a fourth-place finish. Nathan Pitzen, Nolan Weisel, Jackson Meyer and Sam Nyquist cut into their prelims time by almost a second as they ran the finals in a school-record time of 1:31.77. The team from Wadena-Deer Creek won the title in 1:29.83.

Minnewaska senior Jackson Johnsrud qualified for the state meet in the high jump at 6 feet, 3 inches but did not register a height in the finals.

Strese throws in the discus

Ashby-Brandon-Evansville senior James Strese came into the Class A state discus competition seeded fifth with a throw of 152-02, but Strese was not able to advance to the finals.

He fouled on two of his three prelim throws. He connected on one throw of 125-01 to finish 15th in the field.

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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