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Reichling, Redbirds soar to silver
Photo for the Times: Duke Goetz Albany senior Jake Lincicum took fourth in the 800 Saturday at UW-La Crosses Veterans Memorial Stadium.
LA CROSSE - About seven hours after sloshing through the shot put circle, Darlington senior Jeff Reichling couldn't wait to break the news to teammates Alex Erickson and Jordan Heinberg at the WIAA Division 3 state track meet.

"We are the state runner-up," Reichling said after a rain filled state meet Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Reichling captured a silver medal in the shot put after a throw of 51 feet, 1 1/4 inches. He relied on Darlington coaches and meet officials to squeegee the shot put circle and dry the surface.

"I was hoping to come up here and get a medal," Reichling said. "It's definitely an accomplishment. I would have liked to throw it a little farther. Under the conditions, it was difficult to do so."

Fennimore won the boys Division 3 state championship with 38 points and Darlington was the runner-up with 30.

Reichling credits his success in the shot put and discus to his brother, Pat who has served as his event coach since his freshman year.

"It's as much his as it is mine," Reichling said of the silver medal. "He's always helped me to succeed."

It was far from a one man show for the Redbirds on Saturday. Erickson finished third in the 400-meter dash (:51.24) and anchored a fourth place finish in the 1,600 relay and a fourth place finish in the 400 relay.

"I didn't know if we would win it this year," Erickson said about earning a top two finish at state. "We had a lot of guys here and I think if we had all of our guys run good and perform and it happened. We are the state runner-up."

Erickson just edged Whalen for third place in the 400 by one-hundredth of a second.

"It's just a privilege to run with these guys at the state track meet," Whalen said. "Alex and I are good friends and we always joke with one another about who will win. When we run it's always close. He was the better one today."

Erickson knows that every race he has run against Whalen had been close.

"I just wanted to burn him on the homestretch," Erickson said as he just edged Whalen at the finish. "He's a heck of a runner."

The rivalry with Erickson didn't take away from the dream of winning a medal in the 400.

Whalen said he's happy with the medal, but he wanted more.

"Fourth place wasn't my expectation coming into the state meet," Whalen said. "I'm just glad to call myself a Black Hawk athlete."

Erickson teamed with Jordan Bryson, Trynton Schwartz and Heinberg to take fourth with a time of 3 minutes, 30.74 seconds.

The Redbirds' 400 relay team of Bryson, Schwartz, Tucker Wiegel and Erickson finished fourth with a time of (:45.75).

Despite running in the slower heat of the 800, Albany senior Jake Lincicum, who was the state runner-up last year, finished fourth (1:.59.18) and Heinberg took sixth (2:00:.6).

Heinberg said he knew if he could run with Lincicum that he had a chance to medal.

"It's just unbelievable," Heinberg said of the state runner-up finish as a team. "We knew we had a lot of guys who could score points."

Lincicum, who has been hampered by a calf injury the last four weeks of the season, turned in another medal performance in his final prep race.

"It would have been nice to be in the fast heat," Lincicum said. "I'm glad I got a medal. You have to do with what you got. Just being here is a win in itself. I'm just starting to get better now."