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Cannon Falls' Emi Trost breaks away from the pack during the first lap of the 800-meter dash Friday in the Class 1A state track and field championship meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.

State Track: Trost with strong outing in 800 prelims

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ST. PAUL - On the feet that have helped her become one of the state's top distance runners, Cannon Falls' Emi Trost carries some extra motivation.

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Sprawled across her purple Nikes, Trost has the words of one of her favorite Bible verses: Philippians 4:13.

"'I can do anything,'" Trost said, pointing to her running shoes, "'through Christ who strengthens me.' I run for my lord."

Every uplifting bit helps for Trost, who secured her place in the 800-meter finals during Day 1 of the Class 1A state track and field championship meet Friday at Hamline University.

Taking the lead just 200 meters into her heat, Trost blew away the field with a time of 2 minutes, 14.35 seconds. That time was over four seconds faster than the second-place finisher in the heat.

Coming into the state meet as the top seed, Trost will look to win gold today when the championship race takes place at approximately 6:12 p.m.

"(Friday's win) helps a little bit," Trost said of her confidence heading into the 800 championship. "It just helps you kind of go like, 'I can do this.'"

Trost will also compete in the 1,600 today, where she enters as the No. 2 seed behind The Blake School's Claire Flanagan. Flanagan and Trost have finished 1-2 in the Class 1A state cross-country meet the past two years.

Trost wasn't the only area runner to qualify for a final as the Lake City 4x200 relay team of Brandy White, Taylor Koller, Bailey Cronin and Braeden McElmury took an eighth-place time of 1:47.55 in the prelims.

"They ran well, but it'll be a tough go tomorrow," said Tigers' head girls track coach Maribeth Kozlowski. "They're going to have to finish strong in order to reach our goal of being on the podium."

Just over 25 minutes after their 4x200, three of Lake City's runners - White, Koller and McElmury - had to go back onto the track, along with teammate Shannon Ting, to try and qualify for the finals in the 4x100.

Early on, the Tigers looked in control as White got off to a fast start, putting Lake City in first during the first exchange.

"I wasn't sure how ready they were, but Brandy started fast and led her leg to start the race," Kozlowski said. "She did the best she could."

The Tigers would fall back into the pack, finishing their heat with a time of 51.11. However, when the official times went up, Lake City found itself on the outside looking in, placing 10th. But, there was some controversy as Martin County West got the final spot in today's final with a time of 51.11.

After protesting the result, meet officials looked at the replay, giving the edge to Martin County West by the slimmest of margins.

"(MCW) came in at 51.103 and we finished with 51.105," Kozlowski said.

The Tigers will run the 4x200 finals at 4:50 p.m. today. Lake City will also have the 4x800 relay team of state newcomers Taylor Heitman, Madi Green, Abby Ziebell and Morgan Dammann competing at 3:30 p.m. today.

Also around the area, Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Lucas Ziemba competed in the 100 dash, finishing 13th with a time of 11.41. While it was enough to best Ziemba's state-qualifying time of 11.59, the stacked field was too much for the Cougars' senior.

"You could tell before the race who had been there before," Ziemba said. "And they were really fast; Ryan Pitts (of Caledonia/Spring Grove), who won our section, is really fast and he finished third."

Ziemba will have another chance to get on the podium today, competing in the long jump. In the thrower's circle, Z-M teammate Maddie Lindhart will compete in the shot put. Both field events are slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.

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