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State Class A girls' track and field: Osakis defends 4x400 title

Osakis senior Becka Sadlemyer closed in on the finish line as she helped her team repeat as the 4x400 Class A state champions on Saturday. Sadlemyer ran the anchor for all three Osakis relays at state. (Eric Morken, Echo Press)

Osakis senior Becka Sadlemyer didn't practice the week leading up to the Class A state track meet this past weekend.

A heel injury she suffered at the section meet limited her to just a couple of pool workouts ahead of the final meet of a standout career for Sadlemyer.

"We didn't know if she would be able to run until we had her try it out in warm-ups before the meet," head coach Lee VanNyhuis said. "We were prepared to compete without her. We knew that she was still in pain, but she ran anyways."

Not only did she run, she anchored three relays that came away with first, second and sixth place finishes for Osakis. One could never tell that Sadlemyer was battling any kind of injury with the way she reeled in Blue Earth's Krista Hassing over the final 200 meters in the 4x400 relay.

Sadlemyer admitted that they were the underdogs heading into that final race after she joined Abby Stroup, her sister Brittney Sadlemyer and Hannah Szech in taking second in the 4x200. Blue Earth was the favorite in the 4x400 after returning all four runners from a second-place team in 2012. They also posted a time of 4:00.52 in the prelims on Friday, more than five seconds faster than Osakis' 4:05.54.

"I was thinking that we had one goal out there and that was to defend our title," junior Makayla Hoglin said of lining up for the first leg. "Just because Blue Earth had the better time doesn't mean that they're necessarily going to win it, so we were going after it today."

Blue Earth held what looked to be a fairly comfortable lead after two legs as Br. Sadlemyer handed the baton off to Szech. The sophomore knew she needed to make up ground in a hurry and did just that. Szech closed the gap with a big kick over her final 100 meters to pull even with Blue Earth's Karli Olsen as she handed the baton to Becka for the final leg.

"My coaches talked to me about just putting Becka in the best place that I could," Szech said. "I just gave it all I had and she started dying at the end, so that made it a little easier on me."

Sadlemyer fell behind early against Hassing but caught her at the final corner. She blew by her from there, finishing her career by securing Osakis' second straight title in the 4x400 as the Silverstreaks finished in 3:58.34. That was more than seven seconds faster than their prelims time as they conserved some energy on Friday to surprise a Blue Earth team that finished in 3:59.65 a day later.

"About the 200 point I was thinking, 'I just did the 4x200. I can probably just do it again.' " Becka said. "It's awesome. Nobody else thought we could do it again, so just proving them wrong is great."

It was a memorable ending to another impressive season for these Osakis relay teams. Expectations are high when a group is disappointed with a second-place finish, and that's what the 4x200 group was after not being able to defend its title on Saturday.

Osakis posted the best prelims time of 1:45.33 on Friday. Chatfield was about a second behind that, and they made up that time in the finals by finishing in 1:44.79. The Silverstreaks couldn't quite match that as they finished right behind in 1:45.18.

"We have a lot to prove now," Stroup said of the fact that she, along with Szech and Br. Sadlemyer will be back trying to get their title back next year. "We have something to fight for next season. We've been together for two years now, and I think we can keep making memories from here on out."

Becka made the most of her final trip to Hamline University through a busy weekend. She competed in the long jump on Friday, falling short of the finals. Sadlemyer also ran the anchor of the 4x100 with Alexa Hoffarth, Szech and Taylor Kraemer as they finished sixth in the finals with a time of 50.86 after coming into state with the fastest seed time.

"We knew it was going to be tough," VanNyhuis said of the 4x100. "The girls did a nice job in prelims getting us a good lane for finals. We knew that we'd have to have a near perfect race to get in the top two or three."

Osakis didn't quite get there in that race, but this program continues to form a reputation as one that builds strong relays year after year. Losing Sadlemyer as the anchor will be tough to replace, but expectations will likely be high again next season as they return six of the seven athletes that competed at this year's state meet.

"We've had a lot of depth on our team since the first time the 4x400 won," Brittney Sadlemyer said. "I think our coaches really push us hard to be the best we can be, and the best we can be is apparently coming to state every year."


OSAKIS FINALS - 4X100 - Alexa Hoffarth, Hannah Szech, Taylor Kraemer, Becka Sadlemyer - sixth place, finals - 50.86; Prelims - 50.59

4X200 - Abby Stroup, Br. Sadlemyer, Szech, Be. Sadlemyer - second place, finals - 1:45.18; Prelims - 1:45.33

4X400 - Makayla Hoglin, Br. Sadlemyer, Szech, Be. Sadlemyer - first place, finals - 3:58.34; Prelims - 4:05.54

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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