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Leif Johnson will be a vital runner for the Laker distance team this season.

Distance crew to anchor Lakers

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Distance crew to anchor Lakers
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The Detroit Lakes boys' track and field team is ready to go the distance -- as in the 800, 1,600 or 3,200 meter distance races.

The Lakers will be a force in their distance races this season -- which include the 4x800 -- with a bevy of talent and depth out for the 2010 season.

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"Distance will definitely be our strength this year," said DL head boys' track coach Steve Zamzo.

The Lakers will have some top-heavy talent, as well as important depth in the distance events.

Leif Johnson will lead the way after a strong fall season in cross country, with junior Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles close in tow.

Pat and Wes Bakken will also be in distance to provide important depth, along with Luke Wiebolt, Travis King and Jason Stallman.

"We'll be in the top pack and taking a lot of third through fifth places, not necessarily first," Zamzo said. "But our depth will make our 4x800 pretty strong."

The Lakers do return reigning 200 sprint champion Charlie Wichmann, as well.

Freshman Connor Collins also returns in the sprints, along with freshman Montana Johnson.

"But we'll be pretty thin in sprints this season," Zamzo said.

Overall, the Lakers will also be young, with only seven juniors out and five seniors on the roster.

That will open plenty of opportunities for the under classmen to perform, so it will be a work in progress throughout the season for Zamzo and his coaching staff to figure who should go in what event by sections.

"We'll know where the older kids will go, but we'll have to spread out the younger ones to find their places," Zamzo said.

But DL does have experience back in some vital events, including senior Nate Duchene on pole vault and possibly the 400 dash, and sophomore Steven Labine anchoring the hurdle events.

Sophomore Nick Griffith returns as DL's high jumper, along with fellow sophomore Ryan Kalberer, who will be competing in jumps.

In sprints, juniors Erik Larson and Josh Eggebraaten will help add depth, while the latter will also do hurdles and the former the pole vault.

Juniors Bryce Dutton and AJ Johnson return in the throwing events.

The Lakers also have some motivation as a team after winning the Mid-State Conference meet last year.

"That's our goal, to defend the conference title," Zamzo said. "We also would like to do well in the (section) True Team meet."

Unfortunately, the Lakers will be road warriors all season, with no home meets scheduled, since the track at Mollberg Field is undergoing a complete renovation.

"It's due to safety issues with our track (which will start undergoing repairs in June), so we are looking forward to a new track next year," Zamzo added.

DL opens its season Saturday at the Concordia Time Trials, which is a meet that records only times, not places.

Laker schedule

Detroit Lakes boys' track and field 2010 schedule:

March

25 at Concordia Time Trials

April

6 at Bemidji

13 at Fergus Falls

16 at Moorhead

22 at Wadena

23 at Hamline Elite (must qualify)

30 at Brainerd

May

at Grand Rapids

6 at Pelican Rapids (JV)

11 Section True Team at Staples

18 Mid-State Conference meet at Park Rapids

22 True Team State at Stillwater

25 at Bemidji

June

2 Section prelims at Sauk Rapids

5 Section finals at Brainerd

11-12 State meet at Hamline University, St. Paul.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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