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Track: Mental gains help Lyons take off

Red Wing's Madisyn Lyons opens the 4x200-meter relay for the Winger girls during Saturday's Section 1AA championship in Lakeville. Along with helping the 4x200 reach state, Lyons will also compete in the long jump and triple jump. Joe Brown / RiverTown Multimedia

LAKEVILLE – The physical tools have been there for Madisyn Lyons. But the gains she's made on the mental end, that is what has helped the Red Wing junior separate herself from the pack.

Before she takes a leap into the jumper's pit – whether in the long jump or triple – keeping Lyons' mind right has been the focus of the coaches.

“(Coach Jesse Nelson) pushes us not just physically but mentally. He pushes us towards a positive mentality,” Lyons said. “Every time before I jump, he's always there and he always knows what to say to us. He always wants us going with a positive mindset. I think that helps way more than the weight room and the physical part of it.”

Being a state entrant in the long jump and triple jump, as well as the second leg in the state-bound 4x200-meter relay, it's hard to debate the results.

The big difference, according to Nelson?

“Confidence and belief in herself that she can try these other events and just take advantage of her athleticism,” Nelson said back in May. “After some big jumps last year, I think that has carried over.”

He continued, “She's a great athlete and just a great competitor. Watching her at a meet, it's kind of fun just to see her compete so hard in all her events.”

This year, though, the mindset has changed from competing to excelling. That was especially important in the long jump on Saturday when she avenged her third-place showing from a year ago by getting second with a distance of 17 feet, 3.75 inches.

“I was kind of determined to get it. I was about a fourth of an inch from the qualifier last year, so that got me going,” Lyons said.

The second-place triple jump of 36-7.5 came as a bit of a shock.

“I wasn't jumping that well and then my last jump came out of nowhere and I jumped a foot better than I had all season,” she said.

Lyons will have some ground to make up in the state field. She's seeded 12th in the triple jump and 23rd in the long jump.

In years prior, Lyons' mindset was happy-go-lucky, just glad to be at Hamline University. Now, her mind is focused on bringing home hardware.

“I'm going to try and make it to finals and just keep going,” Lyons said. “I'm happy with making it to state, but I want to not just be happy, but to compete. And I'm excited for the 4x2 because it's a new opportunity.”

The Class 2A girls' long jump will take place at 9 a.m. Friday while the triple jump is at the same time Saturday.

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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