NEVADA — The Roland-Story boys earned a share of the Heart of Iowa Conference championship in thrilling fashion and the Norse girls totaled seven medals Thursday at the HOIC meet in Nevada.
The Roland-Story boys trailed North Polk by two points heading into the final event — the 4 X 400-meter relay. Roland-Story was in third place for most of the race, but a great third leg by Carter Greenfield got the team in position to make a run at North Polk for second place.
Adam McIlrath took the baton and provided a tremendous final 400 for the Norsemen. They ended up running a time of three minutes, 30.91 seconds to top North Polk’s 3:31.55 for second behind Nevada.
Those two extra points put Roland-Story even with North Polk atop the final boys’ standings with 137 points apiece.
“That was a really fun race,” Roland-Story head boys’ track coach Brian Petersen said. “I don’t love the tie, but the way our kids competed today — it feels really, really good. We did everything we could to get to where we were pointwise.”
Nick Wakefield played a big role in getting Roland-Story off to a great start. He broke 10 minutes in the 3,200 for the first time, running a 9:59.92 to beat Gilbert’s Ethan Mesenbrink by 10.18 seconds for the gold, thanks to a great kick over the last 600 meters.
“I knew if I stayed with Ethan in the front we were going to push each other to try and break 10-flat,” Wakefield said. “I knew with 600 meters left I had to start going now and I always have a great kick. My last 400 I got a 67 (second) split. That’s fast.”
Wakefield later helped Roland-Story win the distance medley relay with a time of 3:46.95. Wyatt Bunn, Sam Diehl and Greenfield ran the other three legs as the Norsemen edged South Hamilton by 0.54 seconds for first.
“I knew coming off Carter’s leg, getting the handoff right at the same time (as South Hamilton), I wasn’t going to let him get the lead,” Wakefield said. “In the last 300 meters, I just attacked him and that’s what happened. It turned out pretty well.”
Diehl set up the win by putting Roland-Story in the lead on the second leg.
“I got the baton from Wyatt in pretty good position,” Diehl said. “From there I was running as hard as I could, trying to get Carter into the best position he could be.”
Roland-Story also prevailed in the 4 X 200 relay. Drake Day, Will Bunn, Jayden McDonald and Zach Twedt clocked in at 1:33.82 to beat Nevada’s 1:35.04 for first.
Nathan Bell added a victory in the discus for Roland-Story with a throw of 148 feet, five inches to beat the 146-2 by Greene County’s Tyler Miller for first. Diehl came in second in the high jump, clearing 6-2 to come in behind only the 6-4 by Greene County’s Carter Morton.
Greenfield, Grant Olson, Gradyn Dowling and Eric Dowe earned silver in the 4 X 800. They ran an 8:31.10, finishing behind South Hamilton’s 8:17.89.
Grant Olson completed the open 400 in :51.21 to take second to J.D. Elefson of North Polk, who finished in :50.91. Greenfield just missed winning the 800, clocking in at 2:07.61 to come in half a step behind the 2:07.56 of Nevada’s Jacob Sanders.
Twedt, Kyle Selby, Thorson and Drake Day earned silver in the 4 X 100 by finishing in 45 seconds flat. Nevada took first in :44.43.
Thorson, Day, Bunn and McIlrath won bronze in the sprint medley with a 1:38.61 showing. Ethan Taylor, T.J. Hocraffer, Jayden McDonald and Diehl placed third in the shuttle hurdle with a 1:04.24 showing.
On the girls’ side, Roland-Story scored 66 points to place seventh. Gilbert outclassed the girls’ field with 180.5 points and Prairie City-Monroe took second with 109.5 points.
The 4 X 800 relay was the top event for the Norse girls. The team of Reece Johnson, Maddie Morton, Juliann Clark and Kylie Tjernagel won in 10:27.81, beating North Polk by an impressive 21.80 seconds for the gold.
Roland-Story entered the race trailing North Polk by 2.11 seconds in the seeding.
“We never really had anyone to pace ourselves with in past meet,” Morton said. “This was a good goal to set and it was something that we knew would push us. That really helped a lot.
Morton gave Roland-Story the lead on the second leg. Clark then blew the race open.
“Maddie really helped with her kick at the end,” Clark said. “Knowing my pace really helped and I was trying to get it to Kylie as fast as I could.”
Tjernagel, Morton and Clark teamed with Taryn Johnston to win bronze in the 4 X 400 with a 4:22.30 showing. PCM won the race in 4:16.37 and Gilbert was runner-up in 4:18.85.
That same quartet won silver in the distance medley, clocking in at 4:39.07 to place behind North Polk’s 4:32.66.
“It’s kind of fun having a group of girls run everything with you,” Tjernagel said. “It’s a team thing. Running with the same girls really helps and we all run the same times.”
Kaitlyn Kilstofte placed third in the 3,000 with an 11:39.37 effort, coming in less than 13 seconds behind the winning effort of 11:26.77 by Gilbert’s Hannah Thatcher. Johnson ran a 5:21.07 in the 1,500 to take third behind North Polk’s Lucy Schaffer (5:15.06) and Gilbert’s Allison Weiler (5:18.09).
Jadyn Nelson jumped 4-10 in the girls’ high jump to place third and Dana Vinson won bronze in the shot put with a throw of 34-6 as the top performances in field events for the Roland-Story girls.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Gilbert 180.5 points, 2. PCM 109.5, 3. North Polk 104, 4. Nevada 103, 5. South Hamilton 74, 6. Greene County 68, 7. Roland-Story 66, 8. Saydel 26.
Boys: 1. (tie) Roland-Story and North Polk 137, 3. Nevada 129.5, 4. South Hamilton 90, 5. PCM 85, 6. Gilbert 70.5, 7. Greene County 66.5, 8. Saydel 18.5.