If you are a fan of near misses, then following the Lancers through the Section 1A Track and Field Championships would have been your cup of tea. With the top two finishers in each event qualifying to advance to the State Meet, La Crescent-Hokah had five third place, two fourth place, and six fifth place finishes over the two days of competition. In only one case, when Amanda Iverson broke the 21-year old school record in the 100 meter dash, was her third place finish fast enough to better the pre-set State qualifying standard, making her the Lancers sole entrant into this weekend’s State Meet.
Tuesday’s preliminary session at Winona’s Paul Giel Field saw finals contested in six field events along with the 3200 meter runs. In the girls discus, an event in which she qualified for State one year ago, Lancer senior Payton Dryden’s throw of 109-9 was good enough to advance her from prelims to finals, but she was unable to better that mark over her final three throws and settled for a fifth place finish, while her throw was almost ten feet short of the qualifying standard. On the track, junior Jake Boudreau ran his second personal best in the 3200 meter run in five days of 10:09.45, which left him in fifth place.
In track preliminaries, only two events failed to advance to Thursday’s final as one of the top eight efforts. Junior Mitchell Dryden false started in the 110 meter hurdles and the girls 4x400 team of Cali Esser, Kiara Keip, Molly Franzose, and Lola Baudek’s time of 4:21.02, while a seasonal best, was only tenth best in the field of twelve teams.
On Thursday’s final day, it didn’t take long for the procession of close calls to begin for the Lancers. In the boys 4x800 relay, the Lancer quartet of Dane McCormick, Thomas Lechnir, and Jake and Alex Boudreau wound up in a three-way battle for two spots. While their time of 8:21.33 was a ten second season’s best, they were beaten to the finish line by Pine Island and St. Charles and their time was six seconds shy of the qualifying standard.
It appeared the third place jinx would continue when Iverson got edged out in the 100 dash by two All-State sprinters, but the Lancer faithful were relieved just seconds later when her time of :12.55 flashed on the scoreboard. Not only did Iverson break Jolene Harlos’ school record of :12.78, which she set in 1998 en route to a seventh place State finish, but it also bettered the State standard of :12.71, which sent the Lancer soph on to the State Meet.
Romy Whitford, John Benfield, Kaine Johnson, and Russell Drye ran their fastest 4x100 of the season of :44.61, but came up one-tenth of a second short of second place as the string of third place finishes continued. Minutes later, senior Jacob Hogan ran a :51.16, the fifth fastest 400 meter effort in Lancer school history, but settled for third and missed the time standard by seven-tenths of a second. In the 300 hurdles, it appeared that junior Drew Wieser had broken the third place jinx as he charged home over the final three hurdles to post a personal best of :41.88. However, as the times and places appeared on the scoreboard, a dive to the finish by an athlete in lane seven left Wieser in third, just .08 of a second out of third.
Iverson flirted with her second school record of the afternoon when she posted a :26.33 in the 200 meter dash, missing Harlos’ :26.13 record by just two-tenths, but that time only left Iverson in fourth place and three-tenths short of the qualifying standard. The Lancers’ other fourth place finish was in the meet’s final event, the boys 4x400 relay, where Alex Boudreau, Thomas Lechnir, Wieser, and Hogan ran 3:31.08, but could do no better than fourth with that time.
Along with the two fifth place efforts on Tuesday, Emmarie Byom came close to matching her school record when she leaped 33-7 to take fifth in the girls triple jump, then Iverson and Byom joined Riley Fuchsel and Esser to run a seasonal best of :51.65 in taking fifth in the 4x100, Lola Baudek also ran a season’s best of :47.78 in taking fifth in the 300 hurdles, and Mitchell Dryden has his own personal best in the boys 300 hurdles where he took fifth in :42.33.
Byom added a sixth in the 100 hurdles in :16.36 and Emily Ludwig was just behind her in seventh in :16.55 to complete the scoring effort for La Crescent-Hokah for the meet. The Lancer girls’ total of 41 points placed them 11th in the field of 26 teams that scored at least one point, while the boys fared slightly better, totaling 48 points to place eighth of the 23 teams that scored.
Iverson will compete in the State Class A Prelims at Hamline University in St. Paul this Friday at 3:54 pm. The top two finishers from each of the two prelims heats, plus the next five fastest times, will comprise the nine-runner field for Saturday afternoon’s 100 meter dash final. This marks the nineteenth consecutive year that the Lancers will be represented in the MSHSL State Track and Field Championships. Iverson last competed at State in 2017, when she anchored the Lancer 4x100 relay to a third place finish. This is her first time competing at State as an individual.