State nothing new for this group of Lakers
There will be plenty of state experience on the side of the Detroit Lakes track and field team during the Class 2A meet at Hamline University Friday and Saturday.
After qualifying for state True Team meets, competing in numerous Hamline Elite meets and Class 2A state events, the seasoned Lakers will have two girls’ relay teams and two individuals, while the boys will have a runner in the 3,200-meter race.
The Lakers qualified both the girls’ 4x100 and 4x200 teams from Saturday’s Section 8-2A meet in Thief River Falls, while junior Shay Nielsen will be heading to state as a shot put and discus thrower, and junior Lindsey Heinecke earned her berth in the 200 dash.
Junior Matthew Lundstrom also will be going to state as a 3,200-meter runner, which comes on the heels of his fall season cross country state appearance.
The majority of the Lakers who will be in state have a solid amount of state experience, which is an obvious advantage for the DL athletes.
“Having that experience helps me not get so stressed out like I have before when I was down there,” Nielsen said, who is competing in her fourth shot put state event, but her first in discus.
Nielsen has been one of the top shot put throwers in the state all season, as her third seed heading into state proves, after her throw of 42-02 at the section meet.
She now has added discus to her state conquests, which she earned last week in Rocori with a throw of 127-11.
“I was not picturing going to state in discus at the start of the season because at the start of the season, things were not clicking right,” Nielsen said. “But right around state True Team, things started clicking and getting outside to practice helped my technique and footwork.”
DL head girls’ coach Mike Labine said Nielsen improved in her discus in each and every practice, which eventually led her to the state meet, in which she holds a seventh seed.
“Shay is one of those athletes who just responds to competition and she just was better and better in it each week,” Labine said.
Nielsen will be looking to place in the top nine in each throwing event and improve on her shot put state placing from a year ago of eighth.
The goal in shot put to earn a top two or three spot will be a throw of 45-0, with her best currently being 43-8, while the mark Nielsen is seeking in discus is 130-0.
Heinecke is also a seasoned state sprinter, and she will be adding two more appearances Friday, when she takes part in the 4x200 relay and the 200 dash events.
The Laker junior had to earn her 200 dash state berth the hard way, by running under the state-standard time of 25.66, doing it by .01 of a second and a third-place finish.
Heinecke was actually sprinting on tired legs after running both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays, but she was able to push through.
“I could have been faster in the 200, but I wanted to run both relays,” Heinecke said. “I knew I could run under the state standard (time), but .01 was pretty close.”
Heinecke will not run in the 4x100 state event, instead being replaced by junior Sarah Halbakken, so she can focus on the 200 and 4x200.
“The mission was to qualify for state (in the 4x100) and now that we did that, Lindsey can concentrate on her 200 and 4x200,” Labine said.
The 4x100 squad also will include juniors Addie Kay Johnson, Hailey Jorgenson, Halbakken and anchor Allison Berg.
“The chemistry was all there and Ally (Berg) was able to hold off everyone,” Jorgenson said.
“We were all so determined to make state that we all knew what to do.”
The foursome finished with a second-place time of 50.27, with Alexandria winning at 48.74 and Sartell finishing behind DL by .28 of a second.
“It feels a little better because we were not even expected to go to state,” Berg added.
The 4x200 team came into the section meet as the top seed and that’s where they finished, with an event-best time of 1:45.45, with St. Cloud Tech in second at 1:46.08.
The foursome included Johnson, junior Kyley Foster, Berg and Heinecke.
For Foster, it was her only event she was able to take part in Saturday after missing the majority of the season with an injury.
“I was terrified and almost forgot the feeling which comes with that kind of competition,” Foster said.
It was the second time the foursome ran together in the 4x200, but there were no snags Saturday, as they led the entire way.
“The handoffs still can be better, but it was smooth for most of the race,” Heinecke said.
The Lakers were seventh in last year’s state 4x200 race and the team wants to make finals again.
“They know they will need to cut time to make the second day, but there is still room for improvement,” Labine said.
“I feel their best race is still yet to come.”
Lundstrom will be running the 3,200 run, in which he excelled at during the regular season, even breaking a long-time DLHS record in the event.
“Matt is having a phenomenal season and his confidence is through the roof,” said DL head boys’ coach Bill Kvebak after Lundstrom qualified last Wednesday.
The Class 2A meet will start at 9 a.m. each on Friday and Saturday at Hamline University.
Section 8-2A finals at Thief River Falls, Saturday, May 30
DL girls results (*state qualifier) – 200-meter dash: *3. Lindsey Heinecke 25.65…1,600 run: 4. Megan Ostlie 5:17.36; 15. Mackenzie Ostlie 5:39.56; 24. Samantha Foltz 5:48.04…4x100: *2. DL A (Addie Kay Johnson, Hailey Jorgenson, Heinecke, Allison Berg) 50.27…4x200: *1. DL A (Johnson, Kyley Foster, Berg, Heinecke) 1:45.45…4x800: 13. DL 11:09.60…Pole vault: 19. Molly Lyngaas 7-07…Triple jump: 9. Darci Molander 33-02.5…Shot put: *1. Shay Nielsen 42-02; 24. Madeline Hoffert 31-01; 36. Elizabeth Lembke 28-01
DL boys results – 800 run: 4. Jacob Fritz 1:58.97…1,600 run: 29. Aaron Johnson 4:58.99; 36. Zack Buboltz 5:08.02; 37. Connor Haugrud 5:09.11…4x200: 11. DL 1:38.26…4x400: 6. DL 3:34.94…4x800: 5. DL 8:09.97…High jump: 13. Isaac Clem 5-07…Triple jump: 27. Jesse Livermore 35-06; 32. John Wiebolt 34-09…Discus: 26. Ty Heinecke 111-03; 29. Carson Tunheim 104-08