Winning a state title isn’t easy. Just getting to state as a team is hard. GMLOKS 4×200 runners Riley Queensland and Hailey Hindt had hopes in basketball (and even volleyball), but strong Grand Meadow squads fell short. Kingsland’s Lauren Buchholtz was a star volleyball and basketball player, but her teams weren’t strong enough to contend for state. Schoolmate Anika Reiland mostly played junior varsity basketball and volleyball. But combine the foursome on the track. Give them a baton and tell them to run, fast, each in increments of 200-meters, and you’ve got yourself a winner, a state title. For a second straight year, the GMLOKS girls 4×200 relay team had no equal in Class A. Team King/GM made the finals by qualifying second (1:45.41) in their heat to Stewartville (1:45.27). They were fourth overall, also behind Rockford (1:45.20) and Mesabi East (1:45.36). Reiland (8th), Hindt (sophomore), Buchholtz (senior), and anchor Queensland (junior) saved themselves for the one that counted. With a season-best time (1:44.47), the top seed coming in bested Mesabi East (1:44.73), Rockford (1:44.97), and Stewie (1:45.23) for the state title. This year’s GMLOKS 4×200 ran faster than last year’s title team (1:45.23), faster than last year’s section meet record-setting run (1:44.54). The dynasty continues. It’s the 4×200’s fourth straight appearance in the state finals, the third top three finish in a row (3rd in 2017). GM got some help in the prelims. Second-seed The Blake School (1:45.43) got disqualified per a bad exchange. GMLOKS’ other state relay, the girls 4×100 (Isabelle Olson, Reiland, Kassidy Kirtz, Buchholtz), got some retribution for last year, when they were a top team but got disqualified in the finals per a bad exchange. There was no bad exchange this year. Olson (junior), Reiland (8th), Kirtz (senior), and Buchholtz (senior) simply qualified second (50.28) in their heat behind W-E-M (50.08). They were fourth overall, also behind Byron (49.23) and Lourdes (49.37). Section 1A than dominated the finals, as Lourdes (49.62), Byron (49.81), and GMLOKS (50.14) went 1-2-3. GM’s time (50.14) was their second best of the season, only behind their section finals pace (49.67). Southland’s Kirtz finishes her relay career having been a part of back-to-back-to-back 4×100 state qualifiers. She finally reaches the podium (teams in 2017 and 2018 did not). Four-by-two runner Hailey Hindt also had the 300-meter hurdles to attack. With the fourth best time overall, she won her preliminary heat (45.97), including besting section adversary Emma Breitsprecher of LFCMC (46.83). In the final, Hindt got faster (45.36), but so too did the three gals who finished ahead of her. Belle Plaine’s Jaylen Struck-Schmitz (43.11) repeated as state champ, with Concordia Academy’s Shaina Zinter (43.43) taking second, Breitsprecher (44.91) third, and Hindt (45.36) a respectable fourth in her first state meet. She had three 300-hurdle runs under 46 seconds this year, the section finals (season-best 45.09) and her two state runs. Three-event state qualifier Buchholtz (4×100, 4×200) also took on an individual event, the Long Jump. She scored on just one leap, her last of three, going 15’2”. It left her in the back of the field (18th of 19). Lauren went a season-best 17’1 ½” at sections. The Blake School’s Robbie Grace went 19’1 ½” to claim a state title. Buchholtz finishes a splendid track and field career having qualified for state seven times (400 in 2016, 4×200 from 2016-2019, 4×100/Long Jump in 2019). She went to state every year from freshman thru senior years and was a part of the two 4×200 state title relay teams. GMLOKS tallied 26 total “team” points, good enough for tenth place (of 78 scoring teams).