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Twice as nice for Wadena-DC relay teams

Jonathan Pantages, Bereket Loer, Chase Domier and Hunter Hawkins pose with their medals from their second Class A Championship win after the 1600m relay. The four runners won the 800m relay as well during the Championships at Hamline. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal

One was good, but two was better for Jonathan Pantages, Chase Domier, Bereket Loer and Hunter Hawkins when the Wadena-Deer Creek relay teams brought home not one, but two Class A Championships on June 9 at Hamline University.

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

Chase Domier and Bereket Loer share a hug after winning the 800m relay.

The Wolverines opened the Class A Championships with a win in the 800 meter relay, ending with a time of one minute, 29.83 seconds. They closed the meet out with a win in the 1600m relay with a time of 3:24.26.

The Wolverines improved on their time in the 800m 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, secured 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.”

Hunter Hawkins races towards the finish in the 800m relay.

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 800m relay with a win in the 1600m 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 800m relay, ran the anchor leg in the 1600m relay, took the final exchange from Domier, who was able to build the lead before the final hand off. 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.

Wadena-DC's Bereket Loer runs the second leg of the 800m run.

“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.”

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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