DIAGONAL — A senior with much to prove and a sophomore well on her way as a competitor lead the small Diagonal track and field team.
Made up of nine athletes, Maddie Lohmann comes back ready to take aim at another state appearance, this time a a senior.
Following not too far behind is sophomore Erin Sobotka, who has worked to better her mid and long distance racing skills.
While the boys crew of Blake Alden, Kade Klommhaus and Clayton Hansen should compete well in mid-distance races, it is Sobtoka and Lohmann that will set the bar high for the girls team that includes Cassie Lohmann, Kayla Bentley and Emily Newton.
The duo, capable of running the 4x800 relay, to mid-distance races, to the 3,000 meter run, look to one another throughout training and meets alike.
“I really like running with Erin. We’ve known each other forever,” Lohmman said. “It’s nice to have someone to stay close to you. We both excel in the same areas. It’s nice to have that.”
At last Tuesday’s meet in Afton, Lohmann was a placewinner in the 800 meter run and Sobotka took fourth in the 1,500 meter run. Both joined Bentley and Newton on the 4x800 team that took fourth at East Union.
Sobotka picked up fourth again in the 1,500 at Central Decatur Thursday, while Lohmann worked back into shorter races.
Lohmann is still looking to find her pace in the longer distance races after a disappointing finish to the cross country season.
She experienced trouble from hyperventilation and dehydration at the unseasonably warm state qualifying meet in Mount Ayr last fall, causing her miss state a year after making a trip to state in cross country and track the previous spring. Both were the first such appearances for the newly-rejuvenated programs at Diagonal.
“I think it motivates me to keep moving forward and learn from my mistakes. To motivate me to get better, put it behind me,” Lohmann said.
For Sobotka, who has often been in Lohmann’s mirror, she looks forward to keep improving.
“It pushes me to want to pass her, but usually she’s like half a lap ahead of me. I know some meets I’m not going to keep up to her,” Sobotka said.
With end results still in mind, the duo will just continue doing what they do as Lohmann tries to set an example for younger competitors while Sobotka learns what it means to run against the best.
“I’m always nervous, though at the end I’m always pretty proud how I ran,” Sobotka said.
At the conclusion of a long night in often unpredictable Midwest spring weather conditions, sometimes it’s just nice to get in Diagonal’s team van, which fits the whole team, and head to Casey’s or Subway for a snack. The team aspect has always been the best part of competition for the two, as they look forward to what the rest of the short spring season will bring.