Pine River-Backus sophomore Megan Porta qualified for the Class A state track and field meet in the Discus after she placed in the top two at the Section 6A meet at the University of Moorhead on Thursday, May 30.
The Tigers had three athletes compete in the section meet. Porta was joined by Brandon Mager, who qualified in the triple jump and the 300-meter hurdles, and T.J. Lukanen, who qualified in the 3200 meter (2-mile run).
Porta qualified for the section meet by placing first in the discus at subsection meet on May 23 after a throw of 99 feet. Porta had won the discus event in every track meet this season and held a personal-best of 105 feet, but qualifying for state at this level of competition was going to be difficult since only the top two athletes qualify. Six athletes from other subsections came into the section meet with longer throws than Megan, with four athletes exceeding throws of 107.
Head track coach Tom Demars felt confident that Porta had a chance of cracking the top two spots, despite so many other top-level throwers. Before the meet he said, “I think Megan can qualify [for state] if she can get beyond 110 feet, something she has done several times in practice.”
It would take a personal best for Porta to advance. During her warmup throws, Porta was throwing extremely well and it was becoming clear that she could have a big day. She had several throws that landed between the 110- and 120-foot lines painted on the field, but it would be a matter of throwing equally strong during competition.
In the first flight (her first three throws), she was able to qualify for the finals with a throw of 114 feet, giving her the second best throw of those in the finals. Miranda Lockhart of Perham led the way with 115 feet, Porta had 114 feet, and Megan Biegler of Ottertail Central had 109 feet.
Lockhart was able to increase her lead with a throw of 116 feet and Biegler edged closer with a throw of 111. However, Porta chose the perfect time to have her best throw ever, with a distance of 114-6, which would prove to be enough to place her second on the podium and punch her ticket to state on Friday June 7, at Hamline University in St. Paul.
Mager and also competed at sections in two events. This was his first year in track, and showed improvement throughout the season. In fact, he only started doing both of his section events last in the season.
Lukanen competed in the 3,200 run, an event that he has done well in all year. Lukanen has won the event at several meets and ran a personal best 10:44 at the subsection to advance.