Defending the crown: GMLOKS repeats as 4 x 200 champs on big day at state
ST. PAUL — The GMLOKS girls 4 x 200-meter relay team received just the nudge it needed in the preliminaries to find the fuel to repeat as state champs at the Minnesota Class A State Track and Field Meet at Hamline University Saturday.
The team of Anika Reiland, Lauren Buchholtz, Hailey Hindt and Riley Queensland captured another state title by finishing with season’s best time of 1:44.47. GMLOKS edged out second place Mesabi East, which had a time of 1:44.74. GMLOKS, which was seeded No. 4 after the preliminaries, also topped its first place time from 2018, which was 1:45.23.
“We lost one of our best runners (in Emily Hovden) from last year and yesterday was really kind of a reality shock when we got fourth,” Buchholtz, the team’s lone senior said. “It scared me, but it also motivated me. We knew what it was like to win last year and we wanted that feeling again.”
Queensland, a junior, said the team had to avoid feeling overconfident, despite the fact that it had three of the four runners back from last year’s state championship team.
“We weren’t expecting to win. It was our goal to come in and do it again. We knew it takes a lot of work and we just needed to focus and push ourselves the best that we can,” Queensland said.
Queensland had to hustle for the last 10 meters to edge out a hard charging Mesabi East team.
“I had to use as much of my energy left as I had. I had to push so we could do it as a team,” she said. “These girls are so awesome to run with and to be part of a team with.”
Hindt, a sophomore, not only filled out the state championship team in place of Hovden, she also took fourth place in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 45.37 seconds. It was the first state meet appearance for Hindt.
“The emotions were really high. I was really excited for both of the races,” Hindt said. “I feel like I’ve grown a lot this year. I’ve definitely gotten faster and stronger. The older runners warned me about how the atmosphere is different here and they really pushed me a lot in practice.”
The GMLOKS 4 x 100-meter relay team found redemption after last year’s disqualification in the finals. The team of Isabelle Olson, Reiland, Kassidy Kirtz and Buchholtz took third with a time of 50.14 seconds.
The race was dominated by Section 1A teams as Rochester Lourdes took first with a time of 49.62 seconds and Byron took second with a time of 49.81 seconds.
Kirtz, a senior, has run on the 4 x 100 team at state for the past three years and this is the first time she ever made it to the podium.
“The third time is a charm. We got on the podium this year,” Kirtz said. “I’m really proud of what we did and ending my senior year on the podium is great. I still have goose bumps thinking about it. It’s amazing.”
Olson said the 4 x 100 team was motivated ever since the team fell short by a fumbled hand-off last year.
“We all worked so hard for this and I think we’re all just really happy with how it ended up,” Olson said. “It means a lot and I’m so proud of this group.”
Hayfield sophomore Madison Johnston finished in 13th place in the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 7.5 inches in her first state meet appearance for the Vikings.
“I was really nervous and I had to do a lot of warm up throws and practice time. It was a learning curve and I’m glad that I made it. I would love to come back next year.
300-meter hurdles: Hailey Hindt (GMLOKS) (fourth, 45.37)
4 x 100-meter relay: Isabelle Olson, Anika Reiland, Kassidy Kirtz, Lauren Buchholtz (GMLOKS) (third, 50.14)
4 x 200-meter relay: Anika Reiland, Lauren Buchholtz, Riley Queensland (GMLOKS) (first, 1:44.47)
Shot put: Madison Johnston (13th, 35-7.50)