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Boys track and field: Surface eager to lead Lakers in 2022

Led by new head coach Dylan Surface, the Detroit Lakes boys track and field team is excited to shake things up in a new-look Section 8-2A.

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From left to right: Mason Carrier, Brandton Marsh, Ethan Carrier and Charlie Kalina practice relay hand-offs at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse on Mar. 31, 2022.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – The Detroit Lakes track and field team welcomed a familiar face as its new head coach for the 2022 season.

Dylan Surface has his hands on several athletic programs at Detroit Lakes high school. After spending time as an assistant track coach, as well as directing the high school's speed and strength program and coaching the football team's offensive line, Surface feels ready to take the reins as head coach of the Laker boys track team.

"It taught me how to handle having a lot on my plate," Surface said of previous head coaching experiences. "If I wasn't busy doing something, I don't know what I'd be doing. We're (three) and a half weeks in now, and it's gone really well. We've had good turnout and really good buy-in from our kids."

The Lakers are in a new-look section 8-2A this season after the Minnesota State High School League did a state-wide reshuffling last summer. Detroit Lakes will compete with Albany, Alexandria, East Grand Forks, Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Melrose, New London-Spicer, Pequot Lakes, Rocori, Thief River Falls and Willmar.

Despite some snow on the ground, the Lakers have two indoor meets at Concordia-Moorhead under their belt. Even though they weren't at full strength, Surface appreciated a chance to set the tone for a group eyeing season-long improvements.


"It's a good early measuring stick," Surface said of the first indoor meets. "We have some guys that can't be there, but it's good to have our athletes learn how to compete and see how a track meet flows. We have so many new bodies out here. Even some of the older bodies haven't experienced a normal track season."

Even though the end goal is to see athletes compete for state berths, Surface wants to see his team take steps forward every day.

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Detroit Lakes boys track and field head coach Dylan Surface walks through a drill during a practice on Mar. 31, 2022 at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"I like to approach things from the standpoint of each day being an opportunity to get better," Surface said. "We talk about it every day. You have an opportunity to get better or worse. You'll never stay the same. How you do something is how you do everything. We're working on making sure we do all of those little things right."

"The best part about track is improvement is measurable," Surface said. "It's all time and distance. For this year, you can talk about winning championships or sending teams to the state meet, which are things we are more than capable of doing. Ultimately, the goal is to be as good as we can become."

Surface was a track and field athlete at Concordia College in Moorhead before transferring to Minnesota State University-Moorhead after one year. Even though he decided he was done competing, his love for athletics pushed him right into coaching.

"I coached ninth-grade football and the weight lifting team at Moorhead High School in my first year of college," Surface said. "I did track for a year in college, and I was just ready to be done being an athlete. I switched over to the coaching side of things."

Last year, the Detroit Lakes boys track and field team was a few steps behind the top teams in Section 8-2A. The Lakers finished 16th out of 16 teams with just two top-10 finishes at the section championships. However, Surface sees a group that's hungry to prove doubters wrong.

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Detroit Lakes' Evan Thomas practices the high jump at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse on Mar. 31, 2022 at a track and field practice.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"There's so much potential for Laker track," Surface said. "We have such a talented group of kids. Last year was kind of a weird year, and things didn't quite go our way. I could tell early on the season there was a fire under our whole staff to really put a good team together. It's been cool to see that over these first few weeks. To see that fire with our staff and in these kids to come out here and want to get better is exactly what we want."


The new facility for practices while the weather keeps them inside is getting Laker athletes excited. The state-of-the-art Lakeshirts Fieldhouse can support training for almost all events, including throwing and pole vaulting.

"It's huge. Having this kind of space is game-changing," Surface said. "Even when I was in Moorhead, we didn't have this kind of space. Kids are going to realize how lucky they are to have this kind of space because not many kids in this state have stuff like this."

Even though indoor practices are better than they've ever been, the Lakers are still eager to get outside for good. It's a spring that bodes potential for a boys team that can only go up.

"I'm excited to see what we can do," Surface said. "We have a lot of talented kids that can do some really cool things. We have some kids that come to mind when we talk about competing with the best. We also have some kids that will surprise me, and I think that's what I'm looking forward to the most."


Mar. 25 at Concordia-Moorhead invite, 5 p.m.

April 1 at Concordia-Moorhead invite, 5 p.m.

April 5 at Fergus Falls invite 3 p.m.

April 12 at Fergus Falls invite, 4 p.m.

April 19 at Rocori invite, 4 p.m.

April 23 at Pequot Lakes invite, 11 a.m.

May 3 at Alexandria invite, 4 p.m.

May 5 Home invite, 4 p.m.

May 10 True Team Section at Fergus Falls 12 p.m.

May 17 at Park Rapids invite 3:30 p.m.

May 21 at State True Team at Stillwater, 3 p.m.

May 23 at Bemidji invite, 4 p.m.

June 1 Section meet at Detroit Lakes High School, TBD

June 4, Section Championships at Alexandria, 9:30 a.m.

June 9-11 State at STMA

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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