Alexandria’s Mya Lesnar and McKenzie Duwenhoegger have competed alongside each other many times over the years as they both developed a friendship while turning into two of the top throwers in Minnesota.
It has now included three times together at the Class AA state meet. With Duwenhoegger being a senior, this year’s trip to Hamline University in St. Paul carried a little extra meaning, and it could not have ended any better for the duo than it did on Saturday. Lesnar won her first state title in the shot put after coming so close in recent years. Duwenhoegger was right behind her in second.
“What a dream finish,” Duwenhoegger said. “This is how we wanted to end this year, being 1-2 at state, being up there with the two of us. It wasn’t maybe the best day in shot, but just to finish like this and compete like that was a great day.”
The two were coming off good performances in the discus from Friday where Lesnar set a new PR with a 145-01 to finish second and Duwenhoegger was third at 142-03. Neither had personal records in the shot put on Saturday, but they didn’t need them. Lesnar’s winning throw came in at 43-01.50, while Duwenhoegger had a top mark of 42-04.50.
“It means the world, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates and coaches and my family,” Lesnar said. “It’s been a long road, but it feels really good.”
For Lesnar, a junior, the championship is a culmination of years of effort that has led to steady progress over her career. She broke onto the statewide scene as a freshman in 2017 by taking third in the shot put. She finished second in the shot a year ago, a finish that she was not thrilled with at the time, but one that motivated her to get back to St. Paul and finish the job.
“It’s technique. It’s grinding and lots of long days and lots of hours in the weight room, a lot of support from my family,” Lesnar said. “It takes a lot of confidence to step up to the plate. Today wasn’t my best throw, but it won.”
Lesnar came into this year’s shot put with the top seed mark by more than two feet at 44-02.75. She was confident but knew not to be overconfident with so many good throwers in the field. The top six finishers in the shot all threw more than 41 feet.
“Anything can happen, so I was ready for anything,” Lesnar said. “My mindset was there. My technique might have been a little off, but it got the job done.”
After so many years competing at this level, both Lesnar and Duwenhoegger have grown to feel more at ease at this meet. It led to another breakout day for the duo in their last meet together at the high school level.
“We’ve both thrown out of that ring multiple times,” Duwenhoegger said. “I think being more comfortable with it this year and coming in with more confidence helped today go a little bit smoother.”