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Freeman's Collin Helma goes out with a bang and earns third 400-meter title

“It was great,” Helma said. “I had that year off and it felt good to run it again. … It was great to finish out the senior year with a bang.”

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Freeman's Collin Helma, right, edges Hanson's Thailan Hallman, right, in the 400-meter dash on Saturday in Rapid City. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

RAPID CITY -- Collin Helma returned to the top of the podium for one last time.

The Freeman sprinter captured his third Class B 400-meter dash in his final high school track and field on Saturday. Helma won the event in 2018 and 2019, but couldn’t win the 2020 due to the pandemic.

“It was great,” Helma said. “I had that year off and it felt good to run it again. … It was great to finish out the senior year with a bang.”

Helma, who was the 2018 Class B state meet MVP, was also slowed by a pulled hamstring with less than a month left in the season.

Helma was still the favorite entering the event with a time of :50.16 seconds, while Hanson’s Thailan Hallman was right behind at :50.67. Hallman proved to be his toughest opponent on Saturday.

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Helma covered the distance in :49.43 seconds, while Hallman was right behind in :49.58.

“It was good,” Helma said. “I went off with a bang and just ran my best to finish it off.”

Helma also had another opponent in the event: the wind. There was a constant whipping wind all day at O’Harra Stadium, but Helma and other runners battled the elements in the quarter-mile run.

“It was different, but when you are running you have your mind set on finishing and you don’t really notice it too much,” Helma said. “But it definitely could have just gone away and it would have been a lot better.”

Helma will not compete in college and prepare for life in his family’s diesel mechanic shop by attending Lake Area Technical College.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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