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Girls track and field: Detroit Lakes looks to shake things up in new-look Section 8-2A

After a frustrating 2021, the Detroit Lakes girls track and field team is hoping to take advantage of a more favorable section this spring.

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Detroit Lakes' Ella Paulson practices the pole vault during a Mar. 31, 2022 girls track and field practice at Lakeshirts Fieldhouse.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – A handful of Detroit Lakes girls track and field athletes were mere seconds from clinching sports at the state meet last year at the Section 8-2A championships. It's what's fueled the start of a promising 2022 campaign.

The Lakers competed in two indoor meets at Concordia-Moorhead. It's a large group of new faces led by seniors that are ready to prove themselves in a different-looking Section 8-2A than in years past.

"One of the things that stands out about this team is there are so many ninth and 10th graders," Detroit Lakes girls head coach Maggy Doll said. "We have some really great senior leaders that have their own experiences. A lot of them haven't had a normal season because of the pandemic. The ones that have had it were freshmen when they did."

Abby Larson finished two places outside of a state bid in the 100-meter dash last spring at the Section 8-2A championships in Fergus Falls. The Lakers had a pair of top-eight relays and an eighth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles from Rylee Johnson.

Detroit Lakes didn't send a track and field athlete to the state meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School in 2021. This year, Doll is confident that will change.

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"We had a couple of girls that came really close, and you can already see them working so hard because they know what it's going to take to get there," Doll said. "The kids are really hungry. I want us to be the team that loads the bus up full of Lakers and competes for state championships. I think we're closer to that this year. We have a girl in every spot, and we haven't had that in a few years."

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

What will also help the Lakers' chances at sections is the departure of teams like Moorhead and Bemidji. A third track and field class was added during the Minnesota State High School League's state-wide section realignment. That leaves Detroit Lakes with Alexandria, East Grand Forks, Fergus Falls, Little Falls, Melrose, New London-Spicer, Pequot Lakes, Rocori, Thief River Falls and Willmar.

"I think the girls feel like there's more opportunity coming into this season," Doll said. "There were times where we went into meets, and we knew we were going to have a hard time competing with the Moorheads. There are still some really strong teams like Alexandria and Rocori, and they will be really good."

Both the boys and girls teams are benefiting from the newly built Lakeshirts Fieldhouse. It's changed the way track and field teams can practice while the Minnesota weather keeps them inside.

"You have no idea how much better it is to have this space this year," Doll said. "We were practicing in hallways and on the street. The fact that we can pole vault in here is amazing. We are so fortunate to have the facilities we have, and I think that's another reason why our athletes were excited to get to practice."

As excited as Doll is to get the outdoor season underway, she's thrilled to be back with her team in a normal capacity for the first time in two seasons.

"We didn't get a season two years ago, and last year was a challenge in a lot of ways," Doll said. "All of our meets were dual meets. We lost the normal flow of a track meet. There's nothing like being at a meet with hundreds of kids and feeling that energy only track provides… I'm most excited for normalcy. It feels like things are coming together for us in a lot of ways at the right time."

DETROIT LAKES TRACK AND FIELD SCHEDULE

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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