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Pete’s Point: Pequot Lakes seniors overcome setbacks to advance to state meet

Pequot Lakes senior Vanessa Lane qualified for state in four events despite recovering from a series of injuries this spring. Photo by Pete Mohs1 / 2
Pequot Lakes senior Isaac Allen has overcome illness this season to quality for his fourth straight Class A state track meet. Photo by Pete Mohs 2 / 2

Some high school track and field athletes are forced to overcome an injury in order to advance to the state meet. But two Pequot Lakes seniors, Vanessa Lane and Isaac Allen, both rebounded from multiple setbacks this spring to gain a ticket to this weekend’s Class A state meet at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Both Lane and Allen showed great determination in dealing with multiple physical setbacks during the regular season, and then turned in admirable showings at the Section 6A meet on Thursday, May 29, to qualify for state.

Lane had overcome multiple injuries over the past month, including a strained hip flexor, a pulled quad and hamstring and swelling behind the knees. She was sideline in early May for the first time in her track career, but returned just before the postseason. Lane’s comeback continued as she advances to state in four events, which is believed to be a record for the Pequot Lakes girls’ program.

“(The injuries) started with the Hamline Elite meet (in late April),” Lane recalled. “I did miss a couple meets, but I did everything I could to heal faster. The spring sports season is pretty short, so you don’t have a lot of time to recover. The injuries did build my determination. I still can’t run without some pain. I just have to deal with it.”

The injuries have slowed Lane a bit, but she continues to win and still has one of the fastest 100-meter times in the state. At the section, Lane was the champion in the 100 and 200 dashes and was the anchor on the first-place 4x100 relay as she joined teammates Chole Bermel, Sarah Rudlang and Rachel Allen.

The was successful in those events despite a scary fall during the long jump competition early in the section meet.

“I landed wrong and my knee buckled,” she explained. “It was scary at the time, but it was more embarrassing. I was a little sore, but it was nothing new for me to deal with.”

Lane continued with the long jump event, and did finish second to also qualify for state.

She now returns to state as the defending champion in the 100 dash and as a member of the 4x100 relay.

“There’s always a little pressure,” Lane said of defending the title. “It’s my last high school event, so I’m going to do my best. I will treat it like any other meet, and not think about the pressure.”

Allen recovers from illness

Isaac Allen’s setbacks this spring involved battling mononucleosis for a month, along with strep throat and an ear infection.

“I missed four weeks of school, and almost five weeks of track this spring,” Allen explained. “Then I started going back to practice,and I had no energy. I started feeling better at the section meet. I was lucky that (the coaches) put me in the 4x100 relay.”

Sophomore CJ Borleis qualified with the 4x100 at the subsection meet, but he was then replaced by Allen on the relay for the section. The relay was edged out for first place by Ottertail Central by just 2/100th of a second at the section, but the top two relays advance which meant Allen would be making his fourth trip to state.

“CJ (Borleis) was really understanding,” Allen said of the relay lineup change. “He was a good sport, and will go to state as an alternate.

“This is the fourth trip to state with the 4x100 for Tyler and me, but its actually the fifth straight year that the 4x100 has advanced.”

Allen’s veteran running ability helped on the relay, although he said there was a little mixup with a baton handoff exchange with Tappe.

“Tyler’s my second cousin and we grew up together,” Allen said. “We’ve done a lot of (baton) handoffs over the years, but our handoff was too early. It’s something we need to work on.”

Pequot Lakes boys’ coach Dave Guenther was excited to have Allen back in the lineup.

“It was a great to see Isaac come back from his illness,” Guenther said. “He had started out the year doing so well, and then became ill and came back slowly to compete at subsection meet. We had him as a (4x100) alternate at subsection to give him time to get stronger. It helped because Isaac ran a great leg of the 4x100 at the section.”