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Lake City's Taylor Heitman (front) takes off down the track after getting the baton hand-off from teammate Madi Green during the 4x800-meter relay in Thursday's Section 1A championship meet at Paul Giel Field in Winona. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

Track and Field: Lake City relays rule at section finals

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WINONA, Minn. — Lake City went a perfect 4-for-4 on Thursday.

In Day 2 of the Section 1A track and field championships at Paul Giel Field, all four of the girls’ relay teams clinched spots at state.

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“That was our goal last year, thinking that we had to go for four, and our 4x4 was third last year by a couple hundredths of a second,” Tigers’ head coach Meribeth Kozlowski said. “We left there going, ‘What happened?’ So it was a goal, but we didn’t know if they would make it.”

The Lake City 4x800-meter relay team of Liv Kozlowski, Madi Green, Taylor Heitman and Morgan Dammann opened the meet with a first-place finish with a time of 9 minutes, 50.96 seconds. Later in the meet, the Tigers’ 4x100 team of Victoria Corey, Braeden McElmury, Shannon Ting and Brandy White (50.71) and the 4x200 team of Ting, White, Bailey Cronin and McElmury (1:46.03) each placed second. Both finishes were better than the state standard times of 50.94 and 1:46.80, respectively.

Then in the final race of the day, the 4x400, Lake City completed the state foursome by winning the race with a time of 4:04.33.

“They’re experienced girls, they’ve run a lot of relays and they work together really well,” Meribeth Kozlowski said of the winning 4x400 team of Dammann, McElmury, Green and Cronin.

Not to be outdone, the Lake City boys got its 4x100 relay team into state by the slimmest of margins. The Tigers’ team of Matt Kjos, Edwin Vazquez, Elijah Hodgell and Elijah Kroll finished in fourth, missing the automatic section bid. But the relay beat the state standard by .01 seconds to reach state.

It wasn’t the first time this season that Lake City’s 4x100 had reached a benchmark by the skin of its teeth.

“The last two years we’ve been working on breaking our school record, which was 44.90, and last Tuesday we ran 44.86,” Tigers’ head boys coach Lukas Brott said. “They did a good job.”

Z-M, Cannon Falls

Elsewhere across the track, Zumbrota-Mazeppa had a pair of girls qualify for the state meet, starting with junior thrower Maddie Lindhart. Competing in the shot put on Thursday, Lindhart reached state for the second straight year with a first-place throw of 38 feet, 2 ¾ inches.

Lindhart will compete in two events at state after placing second in the discus on Tuesday with a distance of 116-4.

“It was an amazing ride last year, so it made me work even harder this year,” Lindhart said about getting back to state.

Another Cougar joining Lindhart at state is eighth-grade runner Skyler Jacobson, who placed second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:25.47. Jacobson comes in with some state experience after reaching the state cross-country championship meet as a seventh-grader.

A state champion will also return to the state meet, as Cannon Falls senior Emi Trost won the 3,200 in 11:02.78 on Tuesday. Trost won the 800 in last year’s Class 1A state meet, and is also the reigning Class 1A state cross-country champion.

The state track and field championships will take place on June 6-7 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

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