Track: Winger girls' 4x200 place ninth
ST. PAUL – There was plenty of room for optimism for Red Wing's 4x200-meter relay team. After all, they qualified for the state finals by one-hundredths of a second in the prelims Friday.
So, the group of Paige Patterson, Madisyn Lyons, Emily Hart and Tyler McGrath were hoping to surprise one more time.
“We got pretty lucky getting into finals by getting in by .01 seconds. We thought we can actually compete against these girls,” McGrath said. “It was nice jumping up a couple spots from where we were seeded. We were excited and optimistic.”
Ultimately, the Wingers' foursome stayed true to its finals seed, placing ninth with a time of 1 minute, 45.93 seconds in the Class 2A championship at Hamline University.
“Medaling at the state meet is quite an accomplishment with the quality of track and field we have in Minnesota,” said Red Wing head girls' track coach Jesse Nelson. “I'm happy they broke the school record to get into the finals. You can't ask for more than that.”
A day after running a school-record time of 1:45.02, the Winger girls were anxious to try and duplicate that once again.
“I was just as nervous as I was (Friday),” Patterson said. “We were hoping for another school record but we were just happy to get a medal this year. That would be enough, and another school record would be icing on the cake.”
But, as the final team to qualify for the 4x200, the Wingers were not in optimal position in lane nine.
“Being in lane nine was hard, but I stayed with them most of the time on the final 100 stretch,” Hart said. “I'm not blaming it on the lane, but I'm blaming it on the lane. You can't chase anyone, which is a huge part of sprinting races. And the wind played a factor.”
McGrath added, “Everyone just hates lane nine.”
North St. Paul set a Class 2A state record with a first-place time of 1:39.20, followed by St. Michael-Albertville (1:40.80) and Minnetonka (1:42.91).
“We were stuck in lane seven the day before so we've always been in the outer lanes,” said Lyons, who also placed 10th in the triple jump on Saturday with a top distance of 36 feet, 6 inches. “We were close enough where the girls next to me, I was able to chase with them. Then there's one team that runs insane, so you can feed off them. And the crowd gives you the momentum to keep going.”
Red Wing wasn't supposed to be in a position to medal. Between a school record and some surprise hardware, the Winger girls had plenty to celebrate after their race.
“I'm more than happy about it,” Patterson said. “This is my third year at the state meet and I hadn't gotten a medal in anything yet.”