—by Todd Thorson

The Roland-Story track teams were near the top of the leader board at the 2A state qualifying meet held at Ogden last Thursday (May 9), and managed to come away with 17 events eligible to take part in the state track and field championships. Eleven girls’ events and six boys’ events qualified to participate at the state meet, which will be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines beginning Thursday (May 16) and running through Saturday (May 18).

The Norse girls will take part in six individual and five relay events at state, while the boys qualified in two individual and four relay events. A total of 35 Roland-Story track athletes (19 girls and 16 boys), including relay alternates, are on the state meet roster this year; one of the Norsemen’s largest contingencies ever.

Overall, the girls gave first Des Moines Christian a run for their money, finishing second with 117 points behind only Christian’s 130 total. Panorama was a strong third with 96 points. The boys had to settle for third place with 69 points, trailing CMB (107 ½) and North Polk (103) in the team standings. The middle of the boys’ pack of teams was highly competitive, as the three through eight slots were separated by only 19 points.

Kayla Johnston qualified in two individual events, posting a first place finish in the 100 meter dash with a time of :12.62 (converted to :12.86 for seeding purposes) and a runner up post in the 200 meter dash with a time of :25.99 (converted to :26.23). Kayla’s finishes were the fifth and third best times in the state in Class 2A. Mickenzi Monthei also qualified in her two individual specialties, the 100 hurdles and the 400 hurdles. Mikenzi finished second in both events, crossing the finish line in :16.46 (converted to :16.70) and 1:10.43 (converted to 1:10.67), respectively. Her times were the 17th and 15th best in the state. Lauren Himan came in second as well in the high jump, qualifying for state with the eighth overall best leap of 5 ft. 0 in.

Three of the girls’ relay events finished first at the district meet – the shuttle hurdle (1:09.99, converted to 1:10.23), the 4 x 100 (:52.64, converted to :52.88) and the 4 x 200 (1:52.28, converted to 1:52.52). In respective order, they were the ninth, 12th and 18th best times in the state. Members of the shuttle hurdle team included Alyson Riesberg, Lexi Crutchfield, Kirsten Waline and Mikenzi Monthei (with alternates named as Alexa Whipple and Natalie Vance). The 4 x 100 was made up of Mikenzi Monthei, Lexi Georgius, Libby Faga and Kayla Johnston (with alternates Kristen Waline and Taylor Olson). The 4 x 200 was comprised of Taylor Olson, Libby Faga, Lauren Himan and Kayla Johnston (with alternates Kirsten Waline and Lexi Crutchfield).

Kayle Knutson and Bryce Holmgren both qualified for the shot put, finishing third and fourth , respectively, at Ogden with tosses of 38 ft. 4 ½ in. and 36 ft. 4 ½ in.

And rounding out the girls’ qualifiers was the 4 x 400 relay team and the 4 x 800 relay team, as they finished fourth and fifth, respectively at the Ogden meet with times 4:23.82 and 10:23.82. After conversion the two squads had their times adjusted to 4:24.06 and 10:24.06, which put them at the 20th and 21st best times in the state. Members of the 4 x 400 squad included Lexi Crutchfield, Anna Halstead, Lauren Himan and Anna Himan (with alternates Alexa Whipple and Tara Rylant). The 4 x 800 team was made up of Chelsey Tinken, Sarah Lunn, Anna Halstead and Anna Himan (with alternates Nicole Tryon and Tara Rylant).

For the Norse boys, Charlie Steehagen came in second in the 100 meter dash with a time of :10.88 (converted to :11.12), which was the third fastest time in the state, earning him a trip to Des Moines this week. Ryan Skaar claimed the high jump title at Ogden with a leap of 5 ft. 10 in., which was the 20th best leap in the state, and also sending him to Drake Stadium as well.

Four relay teams made it to state, with the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 both finishing first in the district meet (13th and 9th overall in the state) with times of :44.99 (converted to :45.23) and 1:33.38 (converted to 1:33.62), respectively, and the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 coming in second (24th and 21st overall) with posts of 3:37.00 (converted to 3:37.24) and 8:30.40 (converted to 8:30.64). The 4 x 100 team included Dylan Halder, Blake Morgan, Joe Gast and Charlie Steenhagen (with alternates Andrew Schlatter and Alex Teig). The 4 x 200 consisted of Blake Morgan, Rob DePenning, Andrew Schlatter and Charlie Steenhagen (with alternates Colton Finley and Alex Teig). The 4 x 400 team was made up of Rob DePenning, Trent Elliott, Parker Witthuhn and Blake Morgan (with alternates Charlie Steenhagen and Matthew White). And the 4 x 800 squad included Jerald Fritz, Trent Eliott, Zach Hovick and Spencer Dedic (with alternates Matthew White and Cody Nelsen).

"We performed as well as we ever have at a district meet to get our six events in," said Boys’ Coach Brian Petersen. "The kids have worked hard all season and getting to the state meet is an example of that hard work."

Rounding out the district girls’ standings were East Marshall (66), CMB (57), South Hardin (53), South Central Calhoun (51), West Marshall (50), North Polk (45), South Hamilton (36), West Central (20) and Ogden (19).

The rest of the boys’ district field look like this: West Marshall (66 ½), South Hamilton (60), South Hardin (56), Des Moines Christian (50), Panorama (50), South Central Calhoun (43), West Central (41), East Marshall (38) and Ogden (17).

2A State Track Schedule

(R-S entries)

Thursday, May 16 – Girls’ Shot Put, 2 p.m.; Girls’ 100 Meter Dash prelims, 4:20 p.m.; Boys’ 100 Meter Dash prelims, 4:35 p.m.; Girls’ 4 x 800 final, 4:50 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 800 final, 5:40 p.m.; 200 Meter Dash prelims, 6:20 p.m.; Girls’ Shuttle Hurdle prelims, 7:40 p.m.

Friday, May 17 – Boys’ High Jump, 2 p.m.; 400 Meter Hurdles, 3:40 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 200, 4 p.m.; Girls’ High Jump, 4:30 p.m.; Girls’ 4 x 200, 4:30 p.m.; 100 Meter Hurdles prelims, 5:20 p.m.; Girls’ 4 x 100 prelims, 6:20 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 100 prelims, 6:40 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 400 prelims, 7:40 p.m.

Saturday, May 18 – Girls’ Shuttle Hurdle final, 11:10 a.m.; Girls’ 100 Meter Dash final, 12:15 p.m.; Boys’ 100 Meter Dash final, 12:25 p.m.; Girls’ 200 Meter Dash final, 1:25 p.m.; Girls’ 4 x 100 final, 3:05 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 100 final, 3:20 p.m.; Girls’ 4 x 400 final, 3:35 p.m.; Boys’ 4 x 400 final, 4:05 p.m.

History of the State Track Meet

(Information taken from John Gillis’ (NFHS) article, which appeared in the May IHSAA Bulletin)

The Iowa High School Track and Field Championships are held every May at historic Drake Stadium in Des Moines. It brings together athletes from both the boys’ Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU).

Drake Stadium has a capacity of 14,557, and was built in 1925. In 2005, the stadium underwent a significant renovation, including reconfiguring the track, in which its lanes were widened from 42 inches to 48 inches. In addition, the $15 million project included new venues for the weight events, permanent lights, a video scoreboard, artificial grass on the infield and other various improvements to seating, restrooms, concessions and the press box.

The year 2005 was also significant, in that it marked the 100th anniversary of the IHSAA’s first state track meet. It was also the first year that the co-ed state track meet was held. For many years, two state track meets – boys and girls – were held on separate weekends in May. Now, with it held on just one weekend, the state meet is better fit to serve its students, schools, officials, parents and spectators.

Crowds of 35,000 to 37,000 have flocked to the state track championships each and every spring; and that doesn’t even include the more than 4,000 athletes, 1,200 coaches and managers and 300-plus media personnel. Drake Stadium seems to be the perfect fit for these championships, as its accommodations are unprecedented and the venue is centrally located. The state track meet may, in fact, be one of the largest high school meets in the nation at one site.

The IHSAA’s association with Drake dates back to 1908, when it was called Haskin Field. The field was used nearly every year it was available. From 1940 to 1972, the various classes were sent to other sites around the state. Since 1973, all four track classes have been run at Drake Stadium.

The Iowa High School Track and Field Championships is one of the most successful events of its kind in the country, in terms of attendance. As is the case with many state tournament facilities around the nation, Drake Stadium possesses a large and rich history.

For more information about high school athletics and for John Gillis’ complete state track story go to www.nfhs.org)

HOIAC Track Highlights

Girls

Gilbert and Roland-Story battled it out at the Heart of Iowa Conference track meet held in Story City last Monday night (May 6). The Tigers prevailed by only 10 points, piling up a 152 total to 142 for the Norsemen. Greene County and PCM finished a distant third and fourth, respectively, with 95 and 87 points. Gilbert had six title to their credit, while the Norse had four first place finishes. R-S also managed six runner up finishes.

Claiming championships for Roland-Story were Lauren Himan in the high jump with a leap of 5 ft. 3 in. and Kaylee Knutson in the shot put (35 ft. 9 ½ in.). Kayla Johnston was a double winner on this day, taking the 100 meter dash crown with a time of :12.94 as well as the 200 meter dash title with a finish of :26.42.

Runner up finishers for the Norsemen included Libby Faga in the long jump (15 ft. 6 in.), as she just missed first place by an inch and a quarter, Anna Himan in the 800 (2:34.07) and Mikenzi Monthei in the 400 hurdles (1:09.49).

Three relay events also finished second – the 4 x 100 (1:08.53), the 4 x 200 (1:49.74) and the 4 x 100 (:51.12).

Coming in third for the Norse were Anna Halstead in the 800 (2:36.01), Mikenzi Monthei in the 100 hurdles (:16.66) and the distance medley squad (4:33.76).

The 4x 800 (10:38.94) and the 4 x 400 both finished in fourth place. Bryce Holmgren came in fifth in the shot put (34 ft. 0 in.), as did Alexa Whipple in the 400 meter dash (1:06.80) and Sarah Lunn in the 1600 (5:30.93). And placing sixth for R-S was Natalie Vance in the high jump (4 ft. 10 in.), Lexi Georgius in the 100 meter dash (:13.56) and Taylor Olson in the 200 meter dash (:28.33).

Rounding out the girls’ HOIAC field were CMB (67), North Polk (56), South Hamilton (42 ½), Saydel (40), Colfax-Mingo (32) and Nevada (26 ½).

Boys

A tough, competitive field at the HOIAC meet in Story City made the going a bit tough for the Roland-Story boys, as they struggled to climb the team standings throughout the competition held in Story City on Monday (May 6). The Norse finished seventh among a log jam of teams. Gilbert and North Polk finished one-two with 114 and 104 ½ points. CMB was third with 94, followed by Nevada (74), South Hamilton (70), Greene County (61), Roland-Story (59), Colfax-Mingo (46), Saydel (40) and PCM (39 ½).

The Norsemen posted only two victories, as Ryan Skaar captured his specialty event, the high jump, with a leap of 6 ft. 2 in., and the 4 x 100 relay team turned in a winning time of :44.65. Team members included Dylan Halder, Blake Morgan, Joe Gast and Charlie Steenhagen. Steenhagen, incidentally, also finished second in the 100 meter dash with a post of :11.45.

Also finishing in the runner up spot were the 4 x 800 (8:20.74) and the distance medley (3:45.26). The distance squad just missed first place Gilbert by a little over a second. Members of the 4 x 800 were Jerald Frtiz, Trent Elliott, Zach Hovick and Matthew White. The distance team included Blake Morgan, Charlie Steenhagen, Rob De Penning and Jerald Fritz.

Coming in fifth for the Norse were Andrew Schlatter in the shot put (44 ft. 1 in.) and Spencer Dedic in the 1600 (4:53.01).