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State Track: Lake City newcomers reach the podium

(From left) The Lake City 4x800-meter relay team of Abby Ziebell, Morgan Dammann, Taylor Heitman and Madi Green receive their eighth-place medals after running a time of 9 minutes, 56.58 seconds.1 / 4
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Maddie Lindhart unloads a throw during the shot put prelims in the Class 1A state track championship meet Saturday at Hamline University.2 / 4
Lake City's Bailey Cronin (right) takes the baton from teammate Taylor Koller during the 4x200-meter relay finals Saturday at Hamline University.3 / 4
Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Lucas Ziemba gets airborne during an attempt in the boys' long jump prelims during Saturday's Class 1A state track championship meet at Hamline University.4 / 4

ST. PAUL - The large crowd of the state track championship meet can be an intimidating situation for any newcomer. Let alone four newcomers in a single relay like Lake City had in Saturday's 4x800-meter relay final.

"It was very nerve-wracking," said Lake City's Madi Green.

"I cried," teammate Abby Ziebell said, cracking a laugh afterwards.

Sporting three freshmen and an eighth-grader, the Tigers' 4x800 team of Taylor Heitman, Green, Ziebell and Morgan Dammann ran well beyond their experience, reaching the medal stand with an eighth-place time of 9 minutes, 56.58 seconds at the Class 1A state championship meet at Hamline University.

Benson/Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg won the 4x800 title, sneaking past Waseca by .29 seconds with a winning time of 9:38.56.

A week ago at the Section 1A championship, Lake City snuck into the state meet by .06 seconds. After that close finish, the Tigers' confidence was building.

"I didn't think we'd be here," said Dammann, the Tigers' 4x800 anchor. "We didn't have our team until sections. Once we ran at sections, I knew that we would do well."

Lake City's 4x800 time on Saturday was 2.22 seconds quicker than its state-qualifying time.

"We just did what we've been doing," Heitman said. "We've been told that a lot this year."

Lake City secured another spot on the podium after the Tigers' 4x200 relay finished in seventh place. The foursome of Brandy White, Taylor Koller, Bailey Cronin and Braeden McElmury finished out the season with a time of 1:46.75. Chatfield clinched the 4x200 championship at 1:44.79.

In the shot put, Zumbrota-Mazeppa sophomore Maddie Lindhart was also performing in her first state meet . Although she came in as the No. 4 seed with a state-qualifying throw of 37 feet, 3 ¼ inches, Lindhart admitted she was very anxious stepping into the thrower's circle for warm-ups.

Securing a spot in the finals on her final throw, Lindhart completed her first state meet with a ninth-place throw of 35-10.

"It's awesome," Lindhard said, taking a glance at the medal around her neck. "All I wanted to do was make it to state, so this is just icing on the cake."

Katelyn Weber of St. Clair won the shot put with a toss of 42-8 ½, being the only Class 1A competitor to crack the 40-foot mark.

With her 35-10 throw coming in prelims, Lindhart was unable to improve on that mark, keeping her low on the standings. But, that improvement will come with time as Lindhart is already looking towards her junior season.

"New season starts on Monday," Lindhart said.

A day after missing the podium in the 100 dash, Z-M's Lucas Ziemba was still chasing a medal on Saturday in the boys' long jump. On his final jump in the prelims, Ziemba put up his best mark with a leap of 19-11. The jump was not enough to put Ziemba into the finals, placing the Cougars' senior in 11th.

Staples-Motley senior Brian Huber was the long jump champion, edging Christ's Household of Faith's Kendall Strandlund by an inch with a first-place leap of 22-7.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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