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PREP TRACK: Coming out of a big shadow

Analisa Huschle was all that stood between Deidre Hahn and two titles in the Minnesota Section 8A girls track meet last spring. Hahn isn't alone in that respect. For the past several seasons, Huschle was a dominant sprinter and jumper, not only i...

Analisa Huschle was all that stood between Deidre Hahn and two titles in the Minnesota Section 8A girls track meet last spring.

Hahn isn't alone in that respect. For the past several seasons, Huschle was a dominant sprinter and jumper, not only in the section but in the state of Minnesota as well. But Hahn wasn't necessarily happy to see Huschle graduate last spring and take her track skills to the University of South Dakota.

"It's always fun to face a challenge, and (Huschle) definitely was a challenge," said Hahn, a junior at Warroad High School. "I enjoyed competing against her. She pushed me to work harder.

"When you saw Analisa at a meet, when you knew you were competing against her, you were definitely more focused."

Hahn hasn't needed Huschle to push her toward excellence this spring. She's proving to be one of the top sprinters and jumpers in Minnesota's Class A ranks.

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According to the Minnesota high school track honor roll kept by the website raceberryjam.com, Hahn has the best Class A long jump in the state this spring, a personal-record 17 feet, 7ยฝ inches. Hahn also is ranked high in the 100 (12.8-seconds season best), 200 (26.4-seconds season best) and high jump (5-foot season best).

Along the way, she's been picking up several wins -- opportunities that usually weren't there in the past when Warroad was at meets that included Bagley-Fosston's Huschle.

"I think everybody in the section is glad Analisa graduated," Warroad coach Alan Rybolt said. "She's a fantastic athlete. There was no question she was going to win four events in every meet she was in around here. Now other kids have an opportunity to step up and get some wins. I think you'll see a few more kids have better performances.

"But Deidre is a girl who competes with herself. She wants to improve on her own performances. It's the drive within the individual, to better performances. You'd like to see all kids have that. Realistically, you only see a handful who have that kind of drive."

Hahn isn't new to the Section 8A scene. In addition to finishing second in the 100 and long jump at the section meet last season, she's had four third-place finishes in open events at the sectional over the past three seasons.

Rybolt said the 5-foot-4 junior's performances have been better compared to a year ago at the same time. In the long jump, for instance, her previous personal record was 17-3.

"Usually you see taller girls doing well in the long jump,'' Rybolt said. "But she takes advantage of her speed and she has tremendous lift in her legs. And Deidre is highly competitive.''

Competitive -- but, Hahn admits, she's not a workout warrior. "I don't work out a lot,'' she said. "I guess I'm not as dedicated as I should be. My older brothers had a lot of power in their legs. I guess maybe I inherited that.''

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Hahn doesn't regard herself as the athlete to beat in the section. There were other talented young runners and jumpers that also were sitting behind Huschle in recent seasons.

"I enjoy the bigger meets, where there's good competition,'' she said. "Maybe I'll be able to pull away and win some events at the section. I want the blue ribbons, not the red ones.''

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@gfherald.com .

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