By Jim Rueda
The Free Press
Through football, wrestling and now track, Mankato West senior Xavier Dahlgren is the kind of guy who likes to challenge himself.
The football team usually wins, the wrestling team not so much and track is usually somewhere in between. The three different levels of success have given Dahlgren a wealth of experience in how to handle both victory and disappointment.
"In sports I've always tried to push myself," he said. "I've tried to figure out who I am as both an athlete and a person.
"You really never know your limits unless you extend yourself. You have to put yourself out there but now, as a senior with experience, it's important for me to try to help others, too."
In track, Dahlgren's expertise lies in the middle distances. He usually runs the open 400-meter and 800-meter races as well as the 4x4 and 4x8 relays.
The Scarlets had a strong 4x8 team that did well last season but all three of the runners on that team have graduated. Dahlgren is the lone incumbent and one of his goals is to help rebuild that squad with new faces.
The Scarlets opened the 2013 season Monday with an indoor triangular at Minnesota State's Bud Myers Field House. They have just five seniors on the team but Dahlgren isn't ready to call it a rebuilding season.
"We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores competing last year and I think some of them are ready to step up and fill in where needed," he said. "One of my jobs as captain is to be cheerleader but if I have to crack the whip I'm ready to do that, too."
After doing his best this spring, Dahlgren is looking at a wide open future. He has no idea if he'll be in college next year or not.
"I'm still pretty undecided," he said. "I've been considering the Marines, too, so that might be a possibility."
Dahlgren delivered one first-place performance Monday, combining with Will Claussen, Jonathan Pytlak and Logan Haga to capture the 4x200-meter relay in 1:40.69.
West finished Monday's meet with four individual winners. They included Will Claussen in both the 60-meter dash (7.15) and long jump (19-feet-9.5); Ty Kolb in the pole vault (10-feet); and Logan Bristol in the high jump (6-0);
West's foursome of Jon Nelson, Defor Tyler, Jacob Jancoski and Nathan Wright finished second in the 4x800-meter relay in 9:04.64. The quartet of Russel Koenigs, Chris Olsen, Luke Ambrose and Tim King did the same in the 4x400 relay (3:54.80).
Among the individual second-place finishers for West were King in both the 60-meter high hurdles (9.57) and 60 intermediate hurdles (9.43); Zach Schwartz in the long jump (18-feet-10.5); and Evan Rector in the shot put (45-5).
West ended up winning Monday's meet with 57.5 points. Shakopee was a close second at 54.5 and Marshall was third with 44.