by Bruce Strand, Sports Editor
Lindsey Lowe’s arrival at Elk River High School coincided with the start of a girls track dynasty by the Elks, and while she’s not the only reason for it, she’s a big part of it.
The senior hurdler, sprinter and jumper has been the most versatile performer on a team that’s won conference and true-team sections all four years she’s been here. Also one of the livelier personalties on the team, the 5-foot-6, 130-pound athlete won 300 hurdles and took third in the 100 as the Elks won another title Thursday.
“We were very lucky that Lindsey came to ERHS,” said Russ Gnan, who coached her three years. “She seemed to bring a can-do attitude to our team, and even though she was only in ninth grade, other athletes fed off her, and it seemed like everyone raised their performance to another level. She was a very key addition.”
Current coach Steve Hamilton adds, “She is one of the best athletes in the school. She is so strong and so physical. This year she’s just gotten better every meet.”
The Zimmerman resident open-enrolled to ERHS after a good eighth-grade year at ZHS, including a gold in the 4×100 at conference. “I came here for sports. The caliber is so much different here,” said Lowe, who transferred with brother Nick, a hockey player. Their sister Courtney stayed at ZHS and was a gymnast for the ERZ co-op team.
Lowe made a big impact right away, qualifying Hamline Elite Meet in 300H and placing fourth with a 46.24 that was her PR until she ran a 45.68 Thursday. In conference that year she won 300H, took second in 4×400 and third in 100H. At state true-team she was third in 300H. In the section she got gold in 4×400 and fourth in 300H. She capped that year with a sixth-place medal at state in the 4×400 with school record 4:00.45.
As a sophomore she took second in 300H and fourth in 100H in conference, then had a big section with first in the 4×100 and second in 100H (to gain state in both)and third in 300H.
Lowe slipped her junior year; her only placement in big meets was seventh in 100H at conference. She had shin splints that got worse last year,hurting enough to make her cry.
“I just wasn’t as competitive last year,” she said. “Maybe it was just a poor attitude, too,” she said, laughing. But this year the pain’s gone. “They are perfect now. I don’t know why, but they don’t hurt,” Lowe said.
She pushed herself in all the workouts: “It’s my last year, and you realize you don’t have a lot of time left.”
Hamilton kept goading her to “beat the freshman Lindsey” and she’s doing that now.
At true-team state she took fourth in 300H (46.91), seventh in 100H (16.25) and 10th in a new event, triple jump (33-1).
Her individual goal this year is breaking the Elk 300H record of 45.61 that’s stood since 1998 and she got within .07 Thursday. Her other PR’s are 15.81 in 100H, 4-10 in high jump and 33-1 in the triple.
Lowe also started in volleyball as an undersized middle blocker on a good (17-12) team as a senior, notching 138 kills, 43 blocks, 17 aces and 147 serve receives. A natural outside hitter, she moved inside to block girls several inches taller because that’s where they needed her.
She was a gymnast through seventh grade when she switched to basketball because she had more friends there.
“And I regret that now. At the level I was at, it was stupid to quit gymnastics,” Lowe said. She dropped basketball after 10th grade. But six years of gymnastics did help her achieve the muscle tone and body control that’s evident in her other sports.
THE LOWE SCORECARD
Personal file — Age: 18 … Parents Sue and Gary; sisters Courtney, Alexis; brother Nick … Sports: track, volleyball … Other activities: prom squad … Academics: 3.3 GPA … College plans: Winona State, business and marketing
Favorite stuff — Class: art (clay, jewelry, drawing) … TV show: “Duck Dynasty” … Movie: “The Love Guru” … Reading: romance novels, especially John Green … Food: Acapulco and Taco Bell fare … Drink: Dr Pepper … Team: Wild … Kickback activities: fishing, wake boarding, snorkeling … Wants to visit: Bora Bora