LAKEVILLE – Putting newcomers into a relay race is a risky endeavor. But Red Wing wanted its best for the 4x200-meter relay, so it was time to get a little creative.
“We had eight girls run the 200 and he picked the top times,” said Wingers junior Madisyn Lyons. “We were going off a guesstimate time, so we didn't know where we'd end up.”
When the practice experiment was over, two newcomers, Paige Patterson and Lyons, would start the race with two 4x200 stalwarts in Emily Hart and Tyler McGrath.
“I think all of us felt so nauseous,” Patterson said. “We were all so nervous. I had to completely change my start for this race. I had so much adrenaline, I couldn't think. I just ran.”
As it turned out, the foursome of Patterson, Lyons, Hart and McGrath proved to be state quality as the relay team is headed to state after placing second in the Section 1AA championship meet with a time of 1 minute, 45.67 seconds Saturday at Lakeville South High School.
“Obviously, it turned out pretty well,” Patterson said with a laugh.
“Our first day of practice, we'd never done a hand-off all year,” Lyons added. “We were hitting (the baton) off each others' hands, running into each other. But it ended up turning out really well. All the adrenaline worked out really well.”
The two more confident about the race were the two most experienced in the 4x200.
“It was actually really easy to combine with me and Tyler's style, I would call it,” Hart said. “They didn't need anymore pointers from us.”
McGrath chimed in, “We were really optimistic with Paige and Maddy. Me and Emily were really comfortable with each other.”
Going into Saturday's championship, there was some weariness over who would get the final spot. Four teams – Lakeville North (1:46.97), Lakeville South (1:47.14), Red Wing (1:47.54) and Hastings (1:47.70) – were all within a second of each other for the final automatic spot after Owatonna had a seed time of 1:44.56.
But the field wasn't the immediate concern.
“We had the school record we were shooting for,” McGrath said. “We had a goal, we weren't paying attention to the girls in third and fourth. We were paying attention to how fast we were running.”
“I think (the school record) is 1:45.54,” Hart said. “We didn't miss it by much.”
With the state bid out of the way, now the Wingers' foursome has some more time to mesh together before taking on the biggest race of the year.
“Not only do we have a race off our backs, I think we're going to be more confident with the hand-offs,” McGrath said.
Around the track
Along with the three state entrants, the Red Wing girls' track team had seven total medalists on the way to a sixth-place team finish with 59.5 points.
Farmington was the section champion with 95 points, followed by Lakeville South (93) and Rochester Century (83).
Ella Scott neared the top of the podium in the 300 hurdles, placing fourth in 48.31 seconds. Elle Thorson also got a medal for the Wingers in hurdles, placing seventh in the 100 hurdles at 16.95.
The 400 yielded two top-10 finishes for Red Wing was Hart was fifth (59.98), followed by Taylor Heise (1:01.41). McGrath had the final individual medal, placing eighth in the 200 at 27.05.
All of the Red Wing girls' relays placed in the top eight, with the 4x800 (Grace Johnson, Adelle DeSutter, Cecelia De Jong, Grace Dube; 10:05.13) taking fifth. The 4x400 (Scott, Hart, DeSutter, Heise; 4:13.07) was sixth and the 4x100 (Patterson, Nicole Oberding, Breck Bergin, McGrath; 52.37) placing eighth.
The Red Wing boys finished with a pair of top 10 results on Thursday, led by the 4x800 relay team. The team of Weston Wyatt, Asa Beckner, Bryan Zucker and Tucker Wallin placed fourth in the 4x800 with a time of 8:25.13.
Wyatt also competed in the finals of the 800, placing fifth with a time of 2:03.29.
As a team, the Winger boys placed 14th with a score of 16. Lakeville South won the boys' championship with 151.25, followed by Lakeville North (116.5) and Rochester Century (92.5).