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Chris Murphy, Published June 05 2013

Breckenridge-C-T senior gets a boost from dad

Fargo - Even though he no longer runs to his father’s arms to catch him anymore, Breckenridge-Campbell-Tintah senior sprinter Michael Whitney runs to his father’s voice – so other sprinters don’t catch him.

“My dad,” Whitney said when asked how he knows if someone is gaining on him. “I can tell by the way he yells, ‘Go, Michael.’”

At last week’s Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 track meet, the “Go, Michael” was a demand with an exclamation point rather than a cheer with a period in the 200-meter dash. With Staples-Motley’s Brian Huber challenging Whitney in the final strides of one of the two events for which Whitney was crowned a state champion last season, the sound of his father’s voice changed the gears of Whitney.

And he was gone, leaving all runners behind him, including Huber by 0.14 seconds. Whitney took home section championships in the 200-meter dash (23.11 seconds) and the 100-meter dash (11.45) and will defend his state championships in both at the Class 1A state track meet Friday and Saturday at Hamline University. He was also part of B-C-T’s section champion 400-meter relay team that will head to state.

“I think it makes it all the more fun to have a target on your back,” Whitney said. “It’s never a given you’re going to get back to state.”

Whitney’s track career started when he was 9 years old running at the Hershey’s Track and Field Games. His answer for why he got into track was the same for who acts as his rearview mirror.

“My dad,” Whitney said. “He really loves watching me run. He loves every second of it.”

As for hearing his dad’s voice among the crowd at state track meet, Whitney has it covered.

“I don’t think I heard him last year,” Whitney said. “It’s a mental thing. Even though I can’t see him or hear him, I know he’s there.”

Haugrud defends title

When it comes to rearview mirrors, Pelican Rapids senior sprinter Sommer Haugrud is tired of being in them at section meets. Last season, Haugrud finished second in the 200-meter dash behind Sauk Centre’s Elizabeth Hemsworth by 0.02 seconds at the Section 6A meet. Haugrud responded by running 0.10 seconds faster at the state meet to take home the state championship.

This season, Haugrud finished second again at the section meet, 0.30 seconds behind Pequot Lakes’ Vanessa Lane. She qualified with a run of 26.96 seconds to defend her title, but it wasn’t exactly the way she wanted.

“It’s not ideal,” Haugrud said. “When you have someone that finishes before you, it makes you push yourself. I’m not going to put any pressure on myself trying to defend as a state champion. The goal is to do the best that I can do, but it’s still on my mind.”

It’ll be Haugrud’s final high school run with a sport she’s been in since seventh grade.

“It’s just the feeling of running and being powerful that I love,” Haugrud said."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548