Osakis athletes, coaches compete with a heavy heart in Sebeka

Lee VanNyhuis gives his athletes a chance to connect at a meet in Sebeka if they wanted to, with many in Osakis grieving the unexpected death of a fixture in their school community.

Osakis' Brennan Gustafson competes in the long jump at a home quad on April 15, 2021. Gustafson was part of the first-place 4x400-meter relay group for Osakis in Sebeka on May 6 and added a fifth-place finish in the long jump to help the Silverstreaks to second place as a team on the boys' side. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

The Osakis track and field team competed in Sebeka at the United North Central meet on the evening of May 6 with heavy hearts and a shorthanded roster.

The Osakis community was hit hard on May 6 by the unexpected death of Kyle Imdieke. Imdieke was a teacher and assistant coach in basketball, as well as the Silverstreaks’ offensive coordinator and assistant head coach in football.

Osakis Public School announced through its Facebook page on Thursday morning that grief counseling would be available for students and staff through the days to come for those who need someone to talk to. Others in Osakis and neighboring towns went to social media with posts showing support, well wishes and prayers to the Imdieke family and Osakis community.

“Today was a hard day for a lot of people,” Osakis head track and field coach Lee VanNyhuis said. “We decided to attend the meet, for those that still wanted to compete. Some kids need an escape for a few hours from an otherwise hard day. I first connected with Kyle through sports, and it was important to me to give the kids the opportunity to connect with each other.”

VanNyhuis gave his athletes the option of whether or not they wanted to compete in the meet. Many of them chose not to, and there were some athletes who are also still out due to having to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“With the reduced numbers, we had quite a few younger kids step up during the meet and do a nice job against older, more experienced athletes,” VanNyhuis said. “With all of the unpredictability of the season, their role is very important.”

Osakis finished first in the girls meet with 79 points and second in the boys meet with 67. Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale won the boys meet with 93 points.

Tessa Stanek had a couple of first-place finishes to pace the Osakis girls in the 100-meter dash (13.53) and 200-meter dash (28.35). Kiley Kranz was also a double winner in the throws by taking the discus (109-01) and the shot put (34-08.25).

Bella Weisser won the 800-meter run in 2:45.62, and Lexi Spychalla took the 1,600 in 6:24.43. The Osakis 4x100 girls relay team of Shiann Holmquist, Kaelyn Walker, Haily Walker and Stanek also won in 55.54 seconds.

Duncan Vandergon won the 100 and 200 dashes for the boys in times of 11.51 and 23.98. Ben Paulson also paced the Silverstreaks with first-place finishes in the shot put (46-07.50) and discus (136-07).

The 4x400 relay group of Zackery Bruder, Brennen Gustafson, Issac Loverink and Jarron Kurth won in 4:04.79, as well.

“Jarron, Zackery, Lexi, and Bella gave us a spark in the mid-distance that we really needed,” VanNyhuis said. “We need to continue developing those events to complement the sprints.”

SEBAKA TEAM RESULTS - GIRLS - 1. Osakis - 79; 2. Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale - 65; 3. United North Central - 51; New York Mills - 32; BOYS - 1. BHV - 93; Osakis - 67; UNC - 33; NYM - 27


OSAKIS GIRLS POINT SCORERS - 100-METER DASH - Tessa Stanek - first, 13.53; Shiann Holmquist - fourth, 14.54; 200 DASH - Stanek - first, 28.35; Holmquist - fifth, 30.95; 800-METER RUN - Bella Weisser - first, 2:45.62; 1600 RUN - Lexi Spychalla - first, 6:24.43; 100-METER HURDLES - Mara VanNyhuis - third, 18.06; 300 HURDLES - VanNyhuis - second, 52.85; 4x100 RELAY - Shiann Holmquist, Kaelyn Walker, Haily Walker, Tessa Stanek - first, 55.54; 4X200 RELAY - second, 2:04.48; 4X400 RELAY - Lexi Spychalla, Brooklyn Dropik, Kaelyn Walker, Bella Weisser - second, 4:32.81; HIGH JUMP - Raechel Weir - second, 4-06; Kaylee Thompson - third, 4-04; Alexis Johanson - third, 4-04; LONG JUMP - Stanek - third, 14-08.50; Kaelyn Walker - fifth, 13-10; TRIPLE JUMP - Weisser - fourth, 28-11; VanNyhuis - fifth - 28-11; SHOT PUT - Kiley Kranz - first, 34-08.25; Madison Douvier - second, 29-09.75; DISCUS - Kranz - first, 109-01; Douvier - fifth, 76-02.25

OSAKIS BOYS POINT SCORERS - 100 DASH - Duncan Vandergon - first, 11.51; 200 DASH - Vandergon - first, 23.98; Brennen Gustafson - fourth, 25.64; 800 RUN - Jarron Kurth - second, 2:23.96; Isaac Ruegemer - fifth, 2:54.27; 1600 RUN - Kurth - second, 5:13.86; Zackery Bruder - third, 5:14.56; 3200 RUN - Noah Schultz - third, 14:29.83; 4X400 RELAY - Zackery Bruder, Brennen Gustafson, Issac Loverink, Jarron Kurth - first, 4:04.79; 4x800 RELAY - Issac Loverink, Trenton VanNyhuis, Christian Nathe, Noah Schultz - second, 11:03.46; LONG JUMP - Vandergon - fourth, 17-08.50; Gustafson - fifth, 17-03; TRIPLE JUMP - Kurth - second, 32-01; Trenton VanNyhuis - third, 31-00; SHOT PUT - Ben Paulson - first, 46-07.50; Isaac Hetland - third, 40-05.50; Ryan Engstrom - fifth, 34-10.25; DISCUS - Paulson - first, 136-07; Hetland - fourth, 102-00

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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