BEMIDJI – A friendship has developed between Sarah and Sadie Hamrin that extends beyond the everyday routine of being sisters.
The TrekNorth students enjoy running, and when they can pursue that interest in tandem the run becomes special.
On Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield the sisters will be able to share another 4,000 meter race when they join their Class A peers for the state high school cross country meet.
Last week at the Section 8A meet in Bagley, Sadie, a seventh grader, finished fourth overall and Sarah, a freshman, was seventh.
Those efforts were rewarded with trips to St. Olaf and the sisters will forever share the distinction of being the first TrekNorth athletes to compete at a state athletic competition sanctioned by the Minnesota State High School League.
In the Section 8A meet, Sadie was clocked in 15:50 and Sarah hit the tape eight seconds later. For much of the race, however, they ran side-by-side.
“We had planned to stay together for the first two miles and that’s what we did,” Sarah said. “But after two miles we were on our own.”
Perham dominated the team and individual results and cruised to the section team title. Park Rapids also made it to state as the section runner-up.
Individually, the top eight runners not on Perham or Park Rapids would qualify for state, and the two Sundogs continually monitored their positions.
“At the end I knew I was in seventh and that, counting the Perham and Park Rapids runners, I thought the top 15 would go to state,” Sarah said. “I figured I probably would go to state but there were many runners around our times who were on the bubble like I was.
“When I finished and knew that I was going to state I was pretty excited,” she said.
Sadie also kept track of her position on the course and used her sister as a guide much of the way.
“I checked to see where we were all of the time,” Sadie said. “We started with the pack and it was faster than I wanted to go but I used Sarah and stayed next to her until the finish.”
At the end Madeline Huglen of Roseau and Victoria Alexander ran away from the field, placing 1-2 in 15:34 and 15:35.
Sadie tied with Brynnan Covington of Perham for third as each was clocked in 15:50 but Covington squeezed past Sadie at the finish line.
Sarah hit the tape eight seconds later and, for the first time, TrekNorth would be sending two athletes to state.
Sundogs coach Mike Munson wasn’t surprised that the Hamrins own that distinction.
“They have tremendous work ethic,” he said. “At the end of the season I spent a lot of time trying to rein them in.
“Sarah’s goal at the start of the season was to qualify for state while Sadie started the year at the junior high level and, after we brought her up at midseason, her focus also was to get to state.”
The hectic pace at the state meet will be foreign to both runners, but they hope to do their best and enjoy the experience.
“My goal is to run my fastest time,” Sadie said.
“But I know I won’t be as nervous as I was for the section meet because the state is the end of the line for this year. The placement really doesn’t matter so I just want to run my best.”
Sarah’s hope is similar.
“I want to stick with my sister and, hopefully, we’ll run our best times,” she said. “I’m excited for Saturday.”
Munson also is excited for the state meet.
“Having Sadie and Sarah advance to state is another step toward public legitimacy for TrekNorth’s programs,” he said. “Sports are a way to develop discipline and resilience and those qualities are important for teenagers.
“Sarah and Sadie have demonstrated that hard work pays off,” Munson continued. “Sports can help determine who you are and, in a small school like TrekNorth, success like Sarah’s and Sadie’s can be infectious. And we have seen the students become enthused about their classmates.”
Saturday’s state Class A girls race will begin at 11 a.m.