The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines had something to prove on the final day of the Class 1A Championships at Hamline University in St. Paul.

All three of the events the Wolverines competed in on the second day saw marked improvement as the 800m relay team finished third with a time of one minute, 30.62 seconds, while the 1600m relay team closed out with a time of 3:24.09 for second place. Bereket Loer jumped to third with a personal record when he finished with a time of 50.53 seconds. Along with Folkestad’s placing in the shot put, the Wolverines finished fourth as a team with 32 points.

Hunter Hawkins was a key member of last year’s dual winning state championship relay teams said the Wadena-DC relays are starting to turn into a dynasty.

“It feels great. Improving on the seed times was awesome, especially with the jump that we had from where we started. Our goal is to race against our time,” Hawkins said. “Relays in Wadena have just become a dynasty, and I’m glad I can be a part of the relay dynasty in Wadena.”

Loer said everyone on the relay teams hold each other accountable and they push each other hard in practice.

Hunter Hawkins sprints towards the finish. Photo courtesy of Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools
Hunter Hawkins sprints towards the finish. Photo courtesy of Dana Cantleberry/WDC Schools

“We have a very like-minded team and a very like-minded coach,” Hale said. “I’m very honored to have that.”

The 800m team consisted of Isaac Hale, Dawson Lupkes, Loer and Hawkins.

“It was really fun, and I had a great season with these guys, all the way through,” Lupkes said. “I’m glad I did it.”

After running in the 800m relay, Loer turned his sights on the 400m dash. He finished third with a time of 50.53 seconds from the outside lane.

“I just reacted better than a lot of people in the race with the temperature and the wind,” Loer said. “Some people, it held them back, but you have to push through the adversity. I was better today than a couple of other guys and I’m thankful for it.”

Loer said he just wanted to do his best and that it was a bonus to make it to the finals. Loer captured three medals on the day for the Wolverines.

“It’s the best feeling to know you did your best at the biggest stage,” Loer said. “You can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Hale, Loer and Hawkins were joined by Lucas Hinojos on the 1600m relay, which closed with a season record and a second place finish. Hinojos was an alternate last year and was excited to run at state.

“I am feeling really good about this. Last year, coming as an alternate and watching us do great things,” Hinojos said. “Now, being able to actually compete and do well is very nice.”

Loer said the coaching staff put them in the position to succeed, and they just did it.

“It’s continuing on with the dynasty with the Wadena relays,” Hawkins said. “It’s awesome to be apart of it.”