Desera Engholm saved her best for last.
After two throws in the discus at the state meet Friday, June 7, the Patriot senior was firmly in second place with a top throw of 124 feet, 7 inches. With the final throw of her high school career, she recorded a throw of 131 feet, 4 inches to claim the state title at Hamline University in St. Paul.
"I wanted to start off a little stronger, but my focus was on staying calm," Engholm said. "If I had freaked out, it would have gone a lot worse.
"It was probably the best performance, by far, of my whole season. The discus was a little rocky, but I was confident. I knew some people were panicking but I was feeling confident in what I was doing."
The following day, Engholm recorded a 43-foot-11.25-inch throw in the shot put to claim another state crown.
"It was an amazing weekend for her," girls track coach Jamie Wagner said. "We talked about just going out and performing our best. She obviously did that ... What happened on Friday freed her up to have the day she had Saturday. She had five throws in the shot put that were better than any other athlete in the state all weekend - Class A, Class AA, it didn't matter.
"It is incredible, what she has been capable of. The consistency she has and the toughness it takes to come back and win on your final throw ... That is what great athletes do. That has been the calling card of her career."
Thanks to Engholm's efforts, the Patriot girls finished fourth overall at the state meet. Also earning points for the team were the 4x400 relay team of Mirjana Ganley, Carly Chaney, Cassidy Chaney and Lydia Hubbard, which took seventh overall, and the 4x800 relay team, which took fourth. Three of the 4x400 runners were also members of the 4x800 team, with Calia Chaney replacing Ganley.
"I think they were a little disappointed in the outcome in terms of where they placed, but honestly, in terms of times, I was really pleased," Wagner said. "They ran 4:02 on Friday night (in the 4x400 relay). That's four seconds faster than they have run all year ... We competed really well. To come away with two medals is nothing to hang your head about. I'm super proud of them."
The Patriot boys were represented at the state meet as well, as the 4x100 relay team of Vinnie Sposito, Carter Sjoblad, Joe Keiffer and Bode Magnuson finished 11th overall with a preliminary time of 45.19.
Also representing the Patriot boys was Russell Pierzinski in the high jump. The junior cleared a height of 5 feet, 10 inches for 14th overall.
"The opening height was a height he had never jumped," boys coach Dave Guenther said. "It would have to be a personal best and on his third attempt, he made it. To me, success comes in small steps and to make it down there is a success story."
Pine River-Backus senior Nathaniel Wosmek - the lone state competitor for the Tigers - finished 11th overall in the 300-meter hurdles, running the preliminaries with a time of 41.83.
300 hurdles: 1-Jade Reicks (St. Peters) 38.69, 4-Zachary Becker (Prz) 40.75, 9-Carter Moulzolf (Prz) 41.17, 11-Nate Wosmek (PRB) 41.83
4x100 relay: 1-Jordan 42.72, 9-Pierz (Ryan Stangl, Moulzolf, Colton Kasper, Alex Gross) 44.75, 11-Pequot Lakes (Vincenzo Sposito, Carter Sjoblad, Joe Keiffer, Bode Magnuson) 45.19
Discus: 1-Desera Engholm (PL) 131-4
4x400 relay: 1-Belle Plaine 3:59.23, 7-Pequot Lakes (Mirjana Ganley, Carly Chaney, Cassidy Chaney, Lydia Hubbard) 4:02.71
Boys team scores: 1-Jordan 87, 3-Pierz 36, 4-Wadena-Deer Creek 32, 52-Pillager 4
High jump: 1-Yahya Madar (Mounds Park Academy) 6-10, 14-Russell Pierzinski (PL) 5-10
Girls team scores: 1-Blake 57, 4-Pequot Lakes 34, 64-Crosby-Ironton 2, 71-Pillager 1
4x400 relay: 1-Pelican Rapids 3:59.56, 6-Pequot Lakes (Mirjana Ganley, Carly Chaney, Cassidy Chaney, Lydia Hubbard) 4:03.52
4x800 relay: 1-Luverne 9:22.92, 4-Pequot Lakes (Lydia Hubbard, Cassidy Chaney, Carly Chaney, Calia Chaney) 9:33.97
Shot put: 1-Desera Engholm (PL) 43-11.25