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Byron's Halder turns to relays as Bears set three section records

Jun. 2—FARIBAULT — Paige Halder could have gone into the Section 1, Class 2A track-and-field meet chasing a bunch of individual goals.

After all, the Byron senior is one of the top 400 and 200 runners in the state.

Instead, the North Dakota State University commit went the opposite route. She made this final postseason all about the team.

To do that, Halder opted to compete in three relays and the high jump.

It worked out beautifully for her and her teammates. Byron set section meet records in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400. Halder anchored all three.

The 4x100 team of Lilah Kurke, Carly Halder, Ruby Rowland and Paige Halder finished in 49.29; the 4x200 team of Kurke, Carly Halder, Kailey Schneider and Paige Halder finished in 1:42.94 and the 4x400 team of Taylor Matter, Kurke, Carly Halder and Paige Halder finished in 4:03.11.

Athletes qualify for state by finishing in the top two in any event, or by standard. Halder will compete there in four events, having also made it in the high jump, her 5-foot-1 mark in the high jump hitting the state standard.

This is exactly what Byron's senior was hoping for.

There will be lots of state action not just for her but also her teammates. That's where those relays come in.

"I knew we were going to have some really good relays, and as our season progressed we just got faster and faster," Paige said. "I was thinking I'd rather bring teammates with me rather than just going by myself (in individual events). I wanted to bring as many people to state with me as I could, whether they are alternates or are actually running with me (in the relays). I want to have fun with them, whether that is staying in the hotel, or shopping, or whatever we do. It's just a time to build great bonds with my teammates."

It may also be a time for them to win some events. A year ago, Paige and teammates competed in the 4x400 at state and won it. That was after running a 4:04 in the section meet last year. This time, they were one second better than that.

Paige figures they can knock that 4:03.11 down some more and come up big once again. She also likes the Bears' chances in the other two relays.

Whatever happens, she's left a strong impression on her Byron coach, Charro Coleman. She's going down as one of the most selfless athletes he's coached with her team-first attitude.

"Paige had a chance to make it to state in a number of individual events," Coleman said. "But she made the choice to go with her teammates instead."

A year ago, it was Winona's Adriana Brenengen edging Kasson-Mantorville's Arabella Knudson at the section meet in the 200. Saturday, they traded places. Knudson was the champion, in 25.49, Brenengen runner-up (26.03).

Knudson also won the 100, making her the section's sprinting queen. She was clocked in 12:28. Those were personal bests for Knudson in both of those races

Knudson wasn't done there, however. She also qualified for state in the long jump (with a winning distance of 17-3 1/2) and the 4x100 relay (teaming with Karlynn Gustafson, Alexie Awe and Delaney Awe) to finish second in 49:55.

"I am super proud of her," K-M coach Ally Sohn said. "I think going against (Brenengen) pushed her a lot yesterday. She was nervous going into the 200 because (Brenengen) had run such a good race Thursday (in the preliminaries). But I just told her to run her race."

Advancing to state in four events as Knudson has done is uncommon. So is getting personal records in three of them. That 49:55 in the 4x100 was her relay team's best time ever.

"It is Bella's senior year and she wanted to make a statement before she heads off next year and runs at Minnesota State Mankato," Sohn said.

Brenengen has plenty to feel great about, too. She is state bound in the 200, 400 (second, in 58.07), and 4x400 relay (second, in 4:03.30).

Brenegen also helped her Winhawks to the section team title. They scored 145 points. Second place went to Northfield, with 141.

Nora Hanson made it obvious who Section 1, Class 2A's top distance runner is. The Red Wing sophomore is that person.

Hanson won the 3,200 Thursday, then became a double champion Saturday by also claiming the 1,600 (5:13.70). Hanson was 18 seconds better than anybody in the 3,200, 5 seconds better than the field in the 1,600.

The Stewartville boys have had a special school year when it comes to athletics. They won a state football championship, finished fifth at state in basketball, have one of the top baseball teams in the state, won the state True Team track-and-field championship, and Saturday finished first in the Section 1, Class 2A track-and-field meet.

The Tigers scored 190 points. Second went to Winona with 164.

Once again, it was Stewartville's field events that delivered most. The Tigers' Dylan Hoot and Carter Anderson finished 1-2 in the triple jump (43-7 3/4, 43-3, respectively). In the long jump, Dylan Scanlan was second (21-1/4), Parker Wangen third (21-0, qualifying by state standard), and Charlie Wood fourth (20-10 1/4). In the high jump, Carter Anderson was the champion (6-3) and Ridge Hatz won the discus (personal-record 166-0, doing it on his first throw). That distance barely edged Plainview-Elgin-Millville star Ashton Kisch, who flung it 164-0 for second.

"It was an awesome day for us," Stewartville coach Aaron Meyer said. "We just have some tremendous athletes going through our building right now. They have fun on this track-and-field team and they also take it seriously."

It is Scanlan who is state bound in the most events — four. He advances in the long jump, 4x100 relay (second place, 42.87), 4x200 relay (second place, 1:29.45) and 4x400 relay (fourth place, but by state standard with a 3:27.24 clocking).

Next week will mark the first time he's participated in the state meet. To go from not at all to four events is a rarity.

"I was surprised I made it in the long jump because I've only done it three or four times this year," Scanlan said.

Scanlan missed about five meets this season after undergoing mouth surgery. But thanks to his diligence, the junior has come back strong.

"I just stayed consistent, and with practices slowly got back into it," Scanlan said. "Now, I've peaked at sections."

Red Wing star sprinter Thomas Lamkin wasn't up to his usual standards and finished second in the 100 and 200. Lamkin ran a 10.95 in the 100, with Winona's Evan Maurud winning it in 10.88. Maurud also won the 200 in 22.26. Lamkin was second in 22.39.

Lamkin's best in the 100 this season is 10.67. In the 200, it's 22.03.

It was a huge day for Maurud, as he also ran the lead leg on Winona's winning 4x100 team (Maurud, Owen Grander, Jaden Blanck, Zakari Epps). They were timed in 42.41.

Winona also won the 4x400 (3:26.29; Max Horeck, Nyle Abdel-Magid, Krayton Bergstrom, Evan Bucknam) and the 4x800 (8:09.69; Brady Benedict, Phineas Van Fossen, Kedrick Boucek, Max Horeck).

On Thursday, Kasson-Mantorville sophomore David Obst went home with the 3,200 section title.

Saturday, Obst came up with more excellence. He had just enough to beat out Stewartville's Josh Langseth for first place in the 1,600. Obst was timed in 4:28.44, Langseth in 4:28.54.

Section 1, Class 2A girls and boys meet results.