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Lakers nab final state wild card

Jake Bettcher and the Laker boys track team will make a fourth consecutive trip to the Class AA state True Team championships in Stillwater this week after earning a wild card spot to advance. Robert Williams / Tribune

A new rule this season in True Team track and field allowing three more wild card teams has kept a Detroit Lakes boys state streak of four years in tact. The Lakers earned the final wild card edging out Mankato West by one-half point to claim the final spot.

The Coaches Association ran a meet on paper comparing all the teams who did not win a section title last week to determine the top four wild cards. The Lakers came in having only lost to Perham by less than 10 points at the 8AA meet, but were not a lock for a spot.

“The kids are really excited about continuing the streak, so much of our season is geared towards this day it feels good to get in,” said head coach Bill Kvebak. “I was a little worried about getting in with the wild card; our sprinters were slower than they have been all season. Since we had a fairly strong headwind right in their faces, I thought that might hurt our times a little. The competition at the state meet really gets us ready to compete at our section meet and it adds another meet at the end of the year other teams just don't get.”

A couple of interesting scenarios could have played out to get to the final numbers. If the meet was tabulated in order of events the discus would be last.

Mankato West’s Garett Shumski held the top spot with a throw of 158-feet, but the Lakers had both Jay Nielsen (2nd, 149-04) and Jake Kerzman (5th, 142-04) in the top five giving the Lakers a big bump in points scored with the other Mankato West thrower in 63rd place.

Event points were not listed in the wild card results but somewhere on that sheet is a Laker who by one finish added a half-point to the total and could be credited with the win.

However, the Lakers got a little luck from both Mankato teams to move on.

Mankato West disqualified a relay and an 800 runner. If either of those score the Lakers would not have advanced. Mankato East, in eighth place, disqualified two relays and would have likely scored enough points to beat DL.

The one thing the wild card plays out is the meaning of True Team in that every finish matters and it certainly did for Detroit Lakes by the slimmest of margins and with a bit of good fortune.

Detroit Lakes history at True Team dates back to the inaugural year, 1987, when the Laker boys won the Class 3A state championship. The state championship was the first-ever state title in Detroit Lakes’ athletic history. That team has since been inducted into the Laker Hall of Honor.

This year’s squad is making the program’s sixth appearance at state. It’s the fourth in a row and fifth in the last six seasons.

The state meet will be held at Stillwater high school Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19.

DL boys State True Teams

1987-3A- Champions

2013-2A-6th place

2015-2A-9th place

2016-2A-6th place

2017-2A-6th place


Class AA Wild Card Standings (Top four advance)

*1) Fairmont 1475

*2) Hutchinson 1425.5

*3) Stewartville 1424.5

*4) Detroit Lakes 1374

5) Mankato West 1373.5

6) Big Lake 1369.5

7) Becker 1357

8) Mankato East 1344

9) Monticello 1270.5

10) Waseca 1261

11) Winona 1258.5

12) Annandale 1238

13) Pine Island 1221.5

14) St Thomas Academy 1202.5

15) St Paul Highland Park 1160

16) Byron 1145.5

17) Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 1135.5

18) Grand Rapids 1130.5

19) East Grand Forks 1069.5

20) Mora 976

21) Glencoe-Silver Lake 932.5

22) Foley 925.5

23) Chisago Lakes Area 920.5

24) Academy Of Holy Angels 893.5

25) DeLaSalle 890.5

26) Pequot Lakes 882

27) North Branch 881

28) Delano 868

29) Totino-Grace 748

30) Simley 707

31) Fridley 706

32) South St. Paul 660.5

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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