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Wadena-Deer Creek relays bring home two titles at Class A state meet

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Wadena-Deer Creek's Chase Domier and Bereket Loer share a hug after winning the 800-meter relay at the Class 1A state track and field meet. Jason Groth / Forum News Service2 / 2

ST. PAUL -- One was good, but two was better for Jonathan Pantages, Chase Domier, Bereket Loer and Hunter Hawkins. The Wadena-Deer Creek relay teams brought home not one, but two Class 1A titles from the Minnesota state meet at Hamline University.

“This is what we came here to do and we did it,” Loer said. “It feels great.”

The Wolverines opened the Class 1A competition with a win in the 800-meter relay, ending with a time of 1 minute, 29.83 seconds. They closed the meet out with a win in the 1,600 relay with a time of 3:24.26.

The Wolverines improved on their time in the 800 relay, which had them seeded first entering the race. Hawkins, who ran the anchor leg, pulled away from Watervile-Elysian-Morristown’s Taylor Glende on the final straight away, securing the first of two medals for the day.

“We all push each other so hard. We are all equal in speed and we all know we need to push each other as hard as we can because we know the other three are relying on all of us,”

Hawkins said. “During practice it’s always grinding and doing the best we can and it finally paid off for us.”

Pantages, who leads off both relays, said they had something to show when they entered the 800 as the top seed in the state.

“We didn’t want to just show it, we wanted to improve ourselves,” Pantages said. “We wanted to exceed what we thought we could do, which was our goal, basically.”

Being equal in speed helped the Wolverines as they followed up their win in the 800 relay with a win in the 1,600 relay at the end of the night. It was a race that they are not really fond of, but enjoy running when they are in the heat of the moment.

“We didn’t know what the 4x400 would bring, because we came in ranked third,” Pantages said. “We finished prelims ranked second. We knew we were close and we knew what we wanted and we came out and got it.”

Loer ran the second leg in the 800 relay and the anchor leg in the 1,600 relay, took the final exchange from Domier, who was able to build the lead before the final handoff. Loer was able to hold off a surging Wyatt Quiring from Fairmont in the final 100 meters. The Wolverines entered the final race seeded third, but improved on their preliminary time, closing the race with a time of 3:24.26.

“I’ve been told to never give up,” Domier said. “In the 4x4, that’s the most needed advice you will need. We came down here for the Hamline Elite Meet, and it is good to be back.”

Hawkins said it’s been a lot of hard work over the season and it was nice to see it pay off on the biggest stage.

“It’s been a long season and finally getting to run the race on the biggest stage of the year and getting it done,” Hawkins said. “It’s very rewarding and very honoring.”