The Patriot track and field had 18 athletes head down to Minnesota State University Mankato on Saturday, March 30, where the girls finished 12th and the boys 27th in the MSU Varsity Showcase.

"This was a meet where you had to make a certain standard in order to qualify, so we took the guys down to go up against some of the best in Minnesota and Wisconsin," boys coach Dave Guenther said. "I was pleased with how well they did, setting outstanding performances so early in the season. It's not so much about place here, but to see how you do against a higher level of competition. It was a very impressive meet to participate in."

Pequot Lakes thrower Desera Engholm was the Patriots' only first-place finish, winning the shot put with a distance of 41 feet, 9.5 inches, breaking the previous school record - also achieved by Engholm - by 2 feet, 2 inches.

"Desera Engholm clearly stood out," girls coach Jamie Wagner said. "She won the meet by almost 2 feet. Her last throw was so much fun to watch. She knew it was good and celebrated as soon as it hit the ground. She had already won the meet, she was the last competitor to throw and her previous throw of 40'4" was in first place. We challenge them all to compete against themselves and she did an amazing job of that, leading us with her effort even when it wasn't about the end result any longer ... That's a warrior spirit and I love it."

The girls also had a fifth-place finish from the 4x800 relay team of Calia Chaney, Carly Chaney, Kenzie Lampi and Ellie Flaws. The 4x400 relay team (Carly Chaney, Lydia Hubbard, Cassidy Chaney and Mirjana Ganley) finished sixth, Cassidy Chaney took eighth in the 400-meter race and Carley Chaney finished ninth in the 800-meter race.

"It was a fun atmosphere with a lot of high level competition," Wagner said. "This was a new meet experience for Pequot Track and Field, but it was a success. Most every athlete we brought with us had significant improvement from Tuesday. That is the primary goal from meet to meet: find a way to get better. I thought our athletes rose to the challenge in a cool way."

For the boys, senior Jayden Benzick led the team, taking sixth in the pole vault with a height of 12 feet. Russell Pierzinski was next with a ninth-place finish in the triple jump, jumping 39'3".

Patriots 4th in Bemidji

Both the boys and the girls teams managed to secure a fourth-place finish at the Lions Invitational at Bemidji State University on Tuesday, March 26.

"We had a nice start to our year with some pleasant surprises," Wagner said. "At this point in the year, we are mostly looking to get out and compete while staying healthy and for the most part, that was the case. The indoor surface can be hard on legs ... We didn't have a full complement of athletes but of the group we took with us, it was exciting to see some first-time varsity track athletes have quality performances.

The boys' only first-place finish came from senior Sean Ryan, who ran the 800-meter race in 2 minutes, 10.67 seconds. Both Benzick in the pole vault and the 4x400 relay team of Ryan, Evan Mykkenan, Caleb Davis and Brooks Anderson. Jesse Clausen and Ethan Johnson finished back-to-back in the 3200-meter run, finishing less than a second apart to take third and fourth, respectively.

The girls had top finishes from Engholm in the shot put and the 4x800 team of Carly Chaney, Lampi, Flaws, Calia Chaney.

Calia Chaney also finished second in the 1600-meter race, Britt Kratochvil took second in the high jump and Sydnie Wgeishofski was second in the triple jump.