—by Todd Thorson

There have been times over the years when the State High School Track and Field Championships have had to contend with inclement weather, but not this year. The three-day run of the state high school meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines went off without a hitch, as athletes and fans basked in the glow of warm sunshine and near perfect conditions. With 17 events (11 girls’ and 6 boys’ events) having qualified for the Norsemen this year, there were plenty of exciting and rewarding moments to cherish last Thursday through Saturday (May 16-18). A total of 35 R-S track stars were on the state roster this year, so the Norsemen’s contingency of parents and fans inside the stadium was plentiful, cheerful and supportive, not to mention quite vocal.

The Norse girls had two fourth place finishes to bring home – the 4 x 200 and the shuttle hurdle relay teams; the 4 x 200 competing on Friday and the shuttle hurdle on Saturday. The girls’ 4 x 100 relay team grabbed the eighth and final slot in Friday’s prelims and qualified for the final on Saturday, where they ended up finishing seventh overall. Lauren Himan finished sixth in the girls’ high jump, while Ryan Skaar was eighth in the boy’s high jump. The boys’ 4 x 200 relay finished eighth in Friday’s final, while the boys’ 4 x 800 relay team finished 13th overall in Thursday’s action. The girls’ 4 x 800 relay team came in 19th overall. Kayla Johnston and Mikenzi Monthe each ran in two individual events, with Mikenzi finishing 13th in the 400 hurdles final. Kaylee Knutson placed ninth in the shot put, and teammate Bryce Holmgren was 18th in the same event, which was held Thursday. Charlie Steenhagen competed in the 100 meter dash prelims, also held on Thursday. Both the boys’ and girls’ 4 x 400 relay squads ran in Friday’s prelims, but failed to make Saturday’s finals. The 4 x 100 boys’ relay also ran in the prelims on Friday and didn’t make the finals.

Detailed results from each day of the state meet are as follows:

Day One

The girls’ 4 x 100 shuttle hurdle relay team qualified for Saturday’s 2A final by posting the fifth best time in prelims on Thursday, clocking in at 1:08.40. They placed second in the fourth heat. Six heats of four teams each were run, as 24 shuttle hurdle teams qualified for the state track and field championships, which ran Thursday through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Members of the shuttle hurdle squad included Alyson Riesberg, Lexi Crutchfield, Kirsten Waline and Mikenzi Monthei. Garner-Hayfield/Ventura was the last of the eight teams to qualify with a 1:09.57 finish. Treynor posted the top qualifying time of 1:06.88.

Kayla Johnston ran in both the 100 and 200 meter dash prelims on Thursday, coming up just short of reaching the finals in both events. Kayla finished second in Heat 2 of the 100 meter dash, ninth overall, with a time of :13.087. In heart-breaking fashion, Kayla’s post was 3/1000ths of a second away from the eighth and final qualifying spot. The top eight advanced to Saturday’s final. And in the 200, she finished fifth in Heat 3 at :26.81, which was the 12th best time; 22/100ths of a second away from a spot in the finals.

In other action Thursday, Kaylee Knutson finished ninth in the 2A shot put final, tossing the sphere 37 ft. 6 in. Teammate Bryce Holmgren was 18th with a heave of 35 ft. 1 ½ in.

The boys’ 4 x 800 relay team of Jerald Fritz, Trent Elliott, Zach Hovick and Matthew White finished 13th with a time 8:23.33. The girls’ 4 x 800 came in 18th with a finish of 10:17.21. Team members were Chelsey Tinken, Sarah Lunn, Anna Halstead and Anna Himan. And Charlie Steenhagen finished sixth in Heat 3 of the 100 meter dash prelims with a time of :11.85, missing the qualifying cut off by 39/100ths of a second. Charlie’s time was the 22nd best overall.

Action for 2A continued on Friday afternoon, with Ryan Skaar and Lauren Himan competing in the high jump competition at 2 and 4:30 p.m., respectively. Mikenzi Monthei took part in the 400 meter hurdles final at 3:40 p.m. and the 100 meter dash prelims at 5:20 p.m. The boys’ and girls’ 4 x 200 relay teams ran in the finals at 4 and 4:30 p.m. respectively. The R-S girls’ and boys’ 4 x 100 relay prelims opened the evening session with 6:20 and 6:40 p.m. post times. And the Norse boys’ 4 x 400 team closed out the evening, as the prelims for that event began at approximately 7:40 p.m.

Day Two

The R-S girls’ 4 x 200 relay team gave an impressive showing on Friday afternoon during Day Two of the State High School Track and Field Championships in Des Moines. The 4 x 200 squad of Taylor Olson, Libby Faga, Lauren Himan and Kayla Johnston turned in a time of 1:48.06, which was good enough for fourth place; just 12/100ths away from third. The winning time was turned in by Cascade, who blistered the track to the tune of 1:43.92.

The girls’ 4 x 100 lived to see another day, turning in a :51.50, second in Heat 1, which qualified them for Saturday’s final. Their time was good enough for the eighth and final spot by just 6/100ths of a second. Members of the 4 x 100 team included Mikenzi Monthei, Lexi Georgius, Libby Faga and Kayla Johnston. They ran in the final on Saturday afternoon.

Lauren Himan leaped 5 ft. 2 in the 2A high jump competition on Friday, good enough for sixth place overall. And Ryan Skaar managed an eighth place finish in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6 ft. 2 in.

Mikenzi Monthei ran in two events on Friday – the 400 hurdles and the 100 hurdles. In the 400 hurdle final she finished sixth in Heat 2 with a time of 1:10.05, placing her 13th overall. The winning time was a 1:03.71. In the 100 hurdle prelims, Mikenzi came in 18th overall with a :16.93; finishing sixth in Heat 2 and just missing a place in Saturday’s final.

The Norsemen boys competed in the 4 x 200 relay and managed a fine eighth place finish with a time of 1:32.50; only a second out of third place. Members of the 4 x 200 were Blake Morgan, Rob De Penning, Andrew Schlatter and Charlie Steenhagen.

In other preliminary action Friday night, the 4 x 100 boys came in fourth in Heat 1 with a :44.80, placing them 12th overall; just 28/100ths out of the eighth and final spot for Saturday’s final. Members of the squad were Dylan Halder, Blake Morgan, Joe Gast and Charlie Steenhagen. The 4 x 400 prelims saw the Norse come in fourth in Heat 1 with a 3:29.89, which put them 15th overall and out of the final, unfortunately. Team members consisted of Charlie Steenhagen, Rob De Penning, Trent Elliott and Blake Morgan. And the 4 x 400 girls’ relay team of Lexi Crutchfield, Anna Halstead, Lauren Himan and Anna Himan competed in the prelims on Friday as well, finishing 21st overall with a time of 4:19.33.

Action began Saturday morning at Day Three of the state meet - the final day of competition at Drake Stadium. The R-S shuttle hurdle girls took to the track at around 11 a.m. They had qualified Thursday with the fifth best time; a 1:08.40. The team consists of Alyson Riesberg, Lexi Crutchfield, Kirsten Waline and Mikenzi Monthei. Also, the girls’ 4 x 100 team, which got into the final by just 6/100ths of a second, competed in the second to last event of the meet at approximately 3:05 p.m.

Day Three

The third and final day of the State High School Track and Field Championships was again blessed with ideal weather, as the meet closed out its three day run at Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Saturday. The Roland-Story girls competed in two events on this day, as both the shuttle hurdle team and the 4 x 100 relay squad qualified in their respective preliminary heats held on Thursday and Friday.

The shuttle hurdle girls came in an impressive fourth on Saturday morning, moving up one spot from their fifth place finish in the preliminary round, with a 1:08.57 post. Team members were Alyson Riesberg, Lexi Crutchfield, Kirsten Waline and Mikenzi Monthei. Aplington-Parkersburg won the event over preliminary heat winner Treynor, 1:06.90 to 1:07.45.

In the second to last event of the meet Saturday afternoon, the 4 x 100 girls of Mikenzi Monthei, Lexi Georgius, Libby Faga and Kayla Johnston managed to place seventh with a clocking of :51.48. The Norse edged I-35 by 3/100ths of a second and were just 1/100th of a second behind sixth place finisher Northeast (Goose Lake). Western Christian (Hull) won the event with a :49.92. R-S had qualified for the eighth and final 4 x 100 spot on Friday with a time of :51.50.

The Norsemen girls finished 16th in the 2A team standings with 15 points. Western Christian won the title with 58 points. Des Moines Christian was second with 48 points.

Congratulations to all of the Roland-Story track athletes You made all of us proud!