Emily Lundgren has been agonizingly close.
She’s agitated. She’s driven. She’s focused.
The Aitkin Gobblers’ senior is focused on a single goal for a single event. The five-year varsity sprinter wants to compete in the Class 1A state 400-meter dash.
It’s her favorite event, but she’s pretty good at others, too. Lundgren won all four of her events at the Aitkin Invite April 12, one day after coming back from a two-week family vacation.
She won the 100-meter dash in a personal-best time of 13.4. She won the 400 dash in 1:03.4, the 200 in 28.5 and the long jump with a 14-foot-4.5 leap.
“I hadn’t practiced getting out of my blocks at all this year and I still ran my PR in the 100 so that was exciting,” Lundgren said. “The 400 is my favorite race though. It’s what I train for. I was excited to run it and it was good to compete in it.
“My 200 went well. It wasn’t my best time but that’s all right. I’ve been long jumping since eighth grade, but that went surprisingly well because I hadn’t practiced my jumps at all. I was really close to my PR in that event.”
Lundgren has goals of running under a minute in the 400, long jumping at least 15-5, running a 13.00 in the 100 and somewhere in the low 27s in the 200.
But her main goal is to be state-bound in the 400. The top two runners and those that qualify by time standard advance to state. As a freshman she was third in the section. As a sophomore she was third. As a junior she dropped to fifth.
“That is driving me an immense amount,” Lundgren said. “It’s crazy. I have always wanted this. It’s always been a race where everyone has said I’m too short for. Typically, 400 runners are really tall and skinnier. I tell people I run the 400 and they look at me and say, ‘That’s odd. You shouldn’t be.’
“Getting third place for so many years and fifth place last year was agitating. It was so frustrating. It’s giving me the drive to practice harder and to get under 1:00.”
Lundgren’s coach Adam Carlson believes she can do it. He called her a talented athlete with a work ethic to match.
“We talk before every 400 dash,” said Carlson. “We talk strategies before it a little bit. We talk about how we want her to finish the 400. She gives it everything she’s got every single time she runs it. That’s the one event she works on.
“She runs a lot of 400s and 600s. We are working on relaxing during that last 100 meters because you can see her straining and working so hard.”
Carlson said Lundgren’s biggest improvement since she moved into the district as a freshman is her conditioning. He said she’s determined to improve and she’s willing to put the work in to do that.
“She’s the kind of track athlete you wish you had a whole roster full of,” said Carlson. “If a coach had every kid on his roster that worked as hard as she does, they would go to state every year.”
And that’s where Lundgren wants to go.
“If I get a 59 in the section meet and still don’t make it to state I’d be happy, but I wouldn’t be jumping for joy,” Lundgren said. “59 is a personal goal of mine, but state is my goal.”
Other notable performances:
Softball: Katie White, Pequot Lakes, stuck out 10 and allowed just two hits and no earned runs in a win against Pierz and struck out seven and allowed no earned runs against Crosby-Ironton.
Erin Rudbeck, Pequot Lakes, went 7-9 with a double and home run in two wins against Crosby-Ironton.
Jessica Toman, Staples-Motley, went 4-4 with four runs, four RBIs and a triple against Ottertail Central.
Track and field: Sienna Miller, Crosby-Ironton, won the long and triple jumps at the McGregor Invite.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.