Pequot Lakes' Vanessa Lane, left, crosses the finish line in third place as the anchor on the Patriots' 4x100-meter relay at the Class A state meet on Saturday, June 9, at Hamline University.
Winning a state track and field title can be challenging.
And defending that championship can be even more difficult. Just ask the Pequot Lakes girls' 4x100-meter relay team of Rachel Allen, Nicole Traut, Abby Palmer and Vanessa Lane.
Allen, Traut and Lane joined graduate Kendra Johnson on last year's 4x100 relay that earned the first girls' Class A state track title in program history.
In the 4x100 final on Saturday, June 9, the Patriots were edged out by two schools at the finish line despite a school-record effort by Pequot Lakes. The relay from Byron was first in 49.76 - just a step ahead of runner-up Annandale with 49.82 and the Patriots with 49.99.
"I know the girls were a little disappointed with not defending the 4x100 title," said Pequot Lakes coach Brian Kazmierczak, "but setting a record and breaking the 50-second barrier is just super."
The Patriots did have three relay teams qualify for state, and that may have been a factor in the outcome for the 4x100.
"I think we would have defended (the title) if we only had that one race because Nicole and Vanessa only had the mile (event) between the relays," Kazmierczak said. "We had more kids down at state and Abby, Nicole and Vanessa were running in multiple events.
"And it was sure fun going in multiple relays. To take three relays to state is pretty special, and having six girls medal is the most we've ever had at state."
Pequot Lakes' Mattie Lueck, left, takes a handoff from teammate Nicole Traut in the 4x200 relay at the Class A state meet on Saturday, June 9, at Hamline University. The relay set a school record in finishing sixth.
The Patriots' 4x200 of Brittny Bzdok, Traut, Lane and Mattie Lueck also set a school record by finishing sixth in 1:46.07. Osakis finished first with 1:44.78.
"The 4x200 also finished third in the preliminaries," Kazmierczak said. "I'm pretty sure this is the first time our school has sent a 4x200 to state."
Pequot Lakes' 4x400 relay Bzdok, Palmer, Chloe Bermel and Lane did not advance from the preliminaries. Kazmierczak also believes that it's the first time a Patriots' 4x400 has advanced to state.
"We took a record seven girls to state, and set records in both short relays," Kazmierczak said. "The only one not coming back next year is (senior) Mattie Lueck. So we have a very good foundation for another strong year in 2013."
Pequot Lakes tied for 28th place with 12 points. Blake led the girls' standings with 49 while Watertown-Mayer had 38 points.
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