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Chris Murphy, Published June 08 2013

Perham's 3,200 relay title sparks boys' second-place finish at state track

ST. PAUL – Perham’s boys 3,200-meter relay team may have won because of the hair, but they certainly didn’t win the Class 1A title by a hair at the Minnesota state track and field meet Saturday at Hamline University.

The Yellowjackets wanted to make a statement, so all four members shaved their heads. After seeing no one within distance of the finish line in the second heat and the clock keep ticking past Perham’s time of 7 minutes, 57.58 seconds, Brady Speicher wiped away tears and made a statement.

“We wanted to be different, since we were in the slow heat,” Speicher said about the new haircut. “We wanted people to know who we were and we weren’t afraid of them.”

Perham, made up of Speicher, Dalton Dahms, Billy Beseman and Nick Carignan, was put in the “slow” heat, which runs first at state, because of their time of 8:18.72 at the section meet.

“I put an asterisk next to our qualifying time,” Speicher said. “Dalton was hurt at sections, so he didn’t run. We wanted to come in and show the Minnesota (State) High School League that their system is flawed and what they are doing is not right for the (3,200 relay). We ran the third-best time coming into today at sub-sections, but they put us in the slow heat because of our section time.

We wanted to show them that it’s not all about sections, it’s about sub-sections and the whole season that matters.”

Perham destroyed the first heat, finishing 20 seconds ahead of any team. It finished with the foursome’s best time, a school record by one second. and fell short of the Class 1A record by .97 seconds. All that was left, was waiting for the second heat.

“If I had any hair, I would have pulled it out,” Speicher said. “You don’t want to cheer against other teams, but you want to win so bad.”

And Perham did just that. The relay team includes three seniors who had been running together since seventh grade and running the 3,200-meter relay since freshman year. Additionally, there’s Beseman, a sophomore who helped them become a sixth-place team last season.

“We wanted to go out with a bang,” Dahms said. “We came in knowing that if were in the fast heat, we could have gone out there and done it, but we said it didn’t matter what heat we were in. We wanted to show the state that we can run in whatever heat you put us in.”

For the three seniors, it was the perfect ending to their high school running careers.

“I could not think of a better way to go out with my boys,” Carignan said. “We do everything together.”

Together, Perham finished tied for second with Murray County Central and behind Foley in the boys team rankings. Keeghan Hurley’s third-place finish gave Perham its final points, but not without some inspiration from the relay team.

“When I saw them do that, I just wanted to jump on the track and start running,” Hurley said. “It’s an individual sport, but at the same point we’re all here for each other, doing it for each other.”

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