Unbreakable bond helps carry Stewartville throwers to greatness

·4 min read

Jun. 5—LAKEVILLE — Peyton Byrne and Tor Lunaas have an unbreakable friendship that occasionally gets tested.

In fact, every track-and-field meet it is put to the test. That's what happens when best friends are competing in the same event, in this case the discus and shot put, and hate to lose.

"We push each other and are always trying to one up each other," said the 6-foot-3, 260-pound Byrne, who like Lunaas (6-1, 210) is a junior.

But much more than fierce rivals, these are cheerleaders. And that cheering, more than anything, is for each other.

"It is awesome when we get to be there for big milestones by each other," Byrne said. "We are best buds. We push each other, but we are also always encouraging each other."

Never did the latter show itself more than on Saturday, as they both competed in the discus in the Section 1AA meet at Lakeville South High School.

This was a state-qualifying meet, with the top two in each event headed to state this week at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

Well, the "best buds" will have some excellent company at St. Michael-Albertville — each other. Byrne won the discus with a throw of 157-feet-1. Lunaas tossed it 155-1, which was third, but good enough to reach state by standard. Plainview-Elgin-Millville's Ashton Kisch was second (155-5).

"Today, I was clapping for Tor all the time," Byrne said. "When he threw it (155-5), I think I was more excited about his throw than any of mine."

The two will have plenty of time to be hanging around together at the state meet. That's because they've qualified in not one state event, but two. Both also made it in the shot put, which was conducted Thursday. Byrne was first (52-5) and Lunaas second (48-11 3/4).

Byrne surprised himself with his own discus showing. He hadn't been producing the last five weeks in the event, stuck at 140 feet or less during that stretch.

But Saturday, something clicked for him. He thinks it was the good vibes from Thursday.

"I"d been in a (discus) drought," he said. "But I think winning the shot put gave me a lot of confidence, and it carried over to today."

Byron is known for its excellent crop of girls sprinters. The Bears also have a top-flight boy sprinter, Trent DeCook.

The senior strutted his stuff Saturday, winning the 200 in 23.34 seconds, and landing second in the 100 with an 11.34 time. Waseca's Kyle Ahlschlager got him in the 100 (11.23).

"It was a good day for me," DeCook said. "There was a bit of a head wind which made it kind of tough, but I was pretty happy with what I was able to do. My expectation was to win the 200, and I was hoping for a top-two in the 100. I thought our 4x200 relay team had a chance (to get to state), but we didn't quite do it (finishing third)."

The 6-2 DeCook, also a football and basketball player, had made it his season-long goal to advance to state in track and field. He's going, thanks to his grind.

"I pushed myself every day at practice," he said. "I just always showed up ready to work hard."

Kaiden Peters is one of the top all-around athletes in southeastern Minnesota. The 6-1 Plainview-Elgin-Millville junior averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds in basketball, was a Post-Bulletin All-Area choice in football and now is showing himself to be one of the area's top track-and-field athletes.

Peters got things done in the 400 Saturday, winning the one-lap race in 50.68 seconds. Just behind him was Winona's Brayden Draheim in 51.77. Peters also high jumped 6 feet, nearly making the state-meet cut there, too.

It was a busy and splashy meet for Austin's A'triel Terry. The junior won the high jump (6-3), ran legs on Austin's winning 4x400 relay team (3:29.62) and second-place 4x100 team (44.09), and finished third in the 200.

Red Wing junior Aaron Freier won the 800 (1:59.07) and Winona's Myles Rasmussen won the 1,600 (4:39.29).

Byron won the 4x800 relay (Carson Pieper, Noah Schrooten, Jaxon Bounton, Ben Zimmerman-Moreno) in 8:20.38. Carter Anderson of Stewartville was second in the high jump (6-2) and Austin's Joe Walker won the long jump (21-9 1/4).

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