Lynnville-Sully’s track and field athletes and coaches who will settle in at the state meet May 18-20 are: Front row, from left, Alaina Roberts, Morgan Hay, Olivia Norrish, Kinsley Tice, Abby Squires; middle, coach Megan Pothoven, Morgan Jones, Tatum Huyser, Carsyn McFarland, Kate Harthoorn, Natalie Roberts, Elise Alberts, Greenlee Smock, Allie Van Wyk; back, Hendrick Lowry, coach Kevin Johnson, Corder Noun Harder, Bryce Richards, James Gruver, Isaac Ver Ploeg, Conner Maston, Dawson James, Jack Bowlin, Caleb Rea, Gentry Walston, CJ Nikkel, Kyle Squires, Jaiden Richards, and coaches Jeff Corbett and Darin Arkema.
Lynnville-Sully boys and girls track athletes qualified for the state track meet in a total of 12 events after Thursday’s state-qualifying meet at BGM on May 11. Twelve athletes along with 12 alternates, and the L-S coaching staff will spend three days, May 18-20, at Drake Stadium’s Blue Oval in Des Moines for the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships. Pella Christian will be represented at the Class 2A state meet by locals Trevor Veenstra and Bailey Vos.
Six Hawks punch tickets to state track
Steady rain on Thursday, May 11, did nothing to damper the Lynnville-Sully’s boys track and field team’s determination to dominate at the state-qualifying meet hosted by BGM. The veteran Hawks powered through the weather and speedy competition, which resulted in the qualification of six athletes in six events for the 2023 Iowa High School Track and Field Championships May 18-20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“The Hawks came with great mindset tonight and focus on the task at hand and seized the opportunity to compete against some great opponents that helped push us to a number of season and personal bests,” said head coach Darin Arkema.
The Hawks finished the night with four automatic qualifications by placing first at the state-qualifying meet. By Friday afternoon, they learned two more events were in the top 14 across Class 1A, bringing their total to six events that will be competing for hardware at the state meet.
The sprint medley team of junior Corder Noun Harder and seniors Bryce Richards, James Gruver, and Conner Maston got the running events off to a fast start. The Hawks crossed the finish line in 1:34.14, three seconds ahead of the competition and breaking its season-best time by over two seconds. The sprint medley team automatically qualified for state with its first-place finish and currently sits with the second-fastest time among Class 1A qualifiers. The sprint medley team will run at state on Saturday, May 20, at 9:50 a.m.
Lynnville-Sully’s next state qualification came in the 400m dash. For the second meet in a row, two Hawks battled it out to the finish line. Maston won the event in 50.61 and received the automatic qualification. Senior James Gruver was right behind him for second place. Both will represent L-S at the state meet, Maston with the fourth-fastest time among Class 1A competitors and Gruver with the fifth-fastest time. The speedy pros at the quarter mile will run at the Blue Oval on opening day of state, Thursday, May 18, at 1:40 p.m.
Lynnville-Sully will be back at the state track meet to defend their state title in the 4x200. The Hawks boast two returning sprinters from last year’s championship quartet in Maston and Noun Harder, and added Richards and senior Caleb Rea to the mix for the qualifying meet. The Hawks ran a season-best time of 1:32.40, which was good for second place. On Friday, the Hawks learned the 4x200 also qualified and holds the sixth-fastest time in Class 1A. L-S will run in the 4x200 on Friday, May 19, at 11:30 a.m.
Gruver continued his dominance in the 400m hurdles, crossing the finish line in first in a time of 56.32. Gruver will run the 400 hurdles on the Blue Oval – the second time he’s done so this spring – on Friday, May 19, at 12:20 p.m. Gruver’s state-qualifying run puts him in seventh place in Class 1A.
The speedy quartet of Squires, Richards, Rea, and Noun Harder got second place at BGM in the 4x100 with a time of 45.36. The group had to wait until Friday afternoon to know that time was good for a state bid. The Hawks slid in at the #17 spot and will run prelims on Friday, May 19, at 1 p.m. The 4x100 final is on Saturday, May 20, at 3:40 p.m.
The Hawks’ final state qualification came in the final event of the night – the 4x400. Lynnville-Sully’s team of Rea, Noun Harder, Gruver, and Maston maintained control of the entire race. The group crossed the finish line well ahead of its competitors with a three-second improvement over the season-best time in 3:28.59. The Hawks will have the second-fastest time in Class 1A, just five-tenths of a second off the lead, when they run the 4x400 prelims on Friday, May 19, at 2:10 p.m. If the Hawks qualify for finals, they will run the 4x400 again on Saturday, May 20, at 4:20 p.m.
Coach Arkema and coach Jeff Corbett will accompany a veteran crew of Gruver, Maston, Rea, Richards, Squires, and Noun Harder to the state meet, along with a loaded squad of speedy alternates ready to fill in if needed. The Hawks look forward to three great days of competing among the fastest athletes in the state and hope many fans can join them at the Blue Oval. Tickets for the state meet must be purchased online at www.iahsaa.org/tickets.
The state-qualifying meet on Tuesday was full of gutsy performances by Lynnville-Sully athletes. Although they did not all earn a state qualification, coach Arkema is proud of all of the Hawks, many who hit season and personal bests in what was their final meet of the season. As a team, the Hawks finished in second place with 116.5 points, behind track and field powerhouse Lisbon. BCLUW was right on the Hawks’ heels, finishing just three points short of L-S for third place.
In field events, freshman Jack Bowlin hit 19’ again in the long jump. He finished in fifth place with a leap of 19’1”. Freshman Isaac Ver Ploeg hit a big PR in the discus by over five feet to finish sixth with a toss of 116’4”. Freshman Connor Deal has shown steady improve-ment in the high jump all season long and nearly cleared 5’10”. He tied for fourth place with his 5’8” jump. In the shot put, Squires and freshman Dawson James grabbed valuable points for the Hawks in sixth and seventh places.
Senior Zach Morningstar had an incredible 3200m run performance in his last meet as a Hawk. “Zach believed in himself and executed a race strategy to near perfection,” said coach Arkema. Morningstar and the lead runner from BCLUW pulled away from the pack early in the race. With 300 meters to go, Morningstar surged to the lead and held it just until the home-stretch. He couldn’t hold off the charge and finished sec-ond. Morning-star, who had never run the 3200m under 11 minutes in his career, blew that mark by 22 seconds. “He gave it everything he had,” said coach Arkema. Morningstar later ran the mile in 5:06.43 for fourth place.
Both sophomore Terran Gosselink and freshman Ethan Dunsbergen set new PRs in the 800m run for fifth and eighth places, respectively. In the 1600m run, sophomore Hendrick Lowry “gave it all he could,” said coach Arkema. Lowry finished second in a time of 4:50.49.
Other events in which the Hawks earned points in were: The 4x800 that freshman Michael Spooner, Dunsbergen, Gosselink, and Lowry ran in 9:32.11 for fifth place; the distance medley team of senior Gentry Walston, Ver Ploeg, Bowlin, and Spooner placed fifth in 4:10.18; and Walston placed seventh in the 400m hurdles in 1:01.16.
At left, James Gruver sprints around the track in the 200m leg of the sprint medley. L-S set a new personal best time in 1:34.14 for first place and an automatic bid to the state track and field championships.
Statebound! Hawks dream big of Blue Oval success
Lynnville-Sully’s girls track team pushed six events to the state track meet after qualifying at the district meet held at BGM on Thursday, May 11. The girls placed second in the district with 103 points. A tough Lisbon team won the title with 139 points.
Three events were automatic qualifiers in their respective events. Senior Greenlee Smock battled a BCLUW distance runner in the 3,000m run, keeping on her tail until the final 150 meters of the race where she sprinted ahead to capture the win. She crossed the finish line in first with a time of 11:48.94. Smock will run the 3,000 finals at state on Thursday, May 18, at 9:40 a.m.
Junior Carsyn McFarland was the Hawks’ second automatic qualifier of the night, taking gold in the 100m dash in 12.99 seconds. McFarland will run in heat two of the 100m dash prelims on Thursday, May 18, at 12:50 p.m. If she makes finals, she will run again on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.
Senior Abby Squires was the last Hawk to punch her ticket to state at the qualifying meet. She placed first in the discus with a toss of 98’9.5”. At state, Squires will throw on Friday, May 19, at 9 a.m.
Since first-place winners are the only automatic qualifiers, the Hawks had to wait until Friday to know if any of their other student-athletes would make it to the Blue Oval by finishing in the top 14 in Class 1A. The wait was worth it with three more events making the cut – the distance medley, 4x100, and freshman Tatum Huyser in the high jump.
The distance medley team’s second-place finish went down to the wire with freshman anchor Kate Harthoorn edging out the BCLUW runner at the finish line by .01 seconds. Harthoorn, along with McFarland, junior Morgan Jones, and Huyser, ran the race in 4:32.18, which was good for a state berth. They will run bright and early on Friday, May 19, at 9 a.m.
Huyser hit her personal best jump of 5’1” in the high jump to earn bronze at the district meet and an opportunity to compete at state. The freshman will jump on Friday, May 19, at 11:30 a.m.
The 4x100 team of McFarland, freshman Morgan Hay, Jones, and Huyser placed second in the district with a time of 52.33, giving them a chance to compete at the state meet. The will next run at state in the 4x100 relay prelims on Friday, May 19, at 12:40 p.m. Finals for the 4x100 relay is at 3:25 p.m. on Saturday.
The Hawks narrowly missed a state berth in two events. Sophomore Olivia Norrish ran a personal best time of 2:35.16 in the 800m run and placed third. Junior Elise Alberts finished sixth in the open 800 with a time of 2:45.03. Another event the Hawks had hopes might make state was the 4x800 squad of Norrish, senior Kinsley Tice, Alberts, and Harthoorn. The quartet ran a season-best time of 10:39.81 and placed third, but it wasn’t enough in this year’s highly competitive field.
In the 4x200 relay, the team of McFarland, Smock, Jones, and Huyser placed second with a time of 1:51.72 seconds, just missing the Blue Oval by .03 seconds.
Also earning points for the Hawks at the District meet was Hay in the 100m dash with a time of 14.25, a season best for her good for seventh place. Junior Natalie Roberts placed fifth in the 200m dash with a time of 30.27 seconds. Freshman Laura Fikse was eighth in the 400m dash with a time of 1:11.22 seconds. Smock ran the 1500m run in 5:34.77 for fourth place while teammate Norrish crossed the finish line in seventh in a time of 5:50. Senior Allie Van Wyk ran the 100m hurdles in 18.39 for seventh place. The 4x400 meter relay team of Alberts, Tice, Fikse, and Harthoorn finished sixth in a time of 4:46. The sprint medley team claimed fourth place for the Hawks in a time of 2:08.74 with sophomore Alaina Roberts, Hay, N. Roberts, and Fikse bringing the baton around the track.
Tickets for the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships May 18-20 must be purchased online. A great resource for information regarding Iowa high school girls state track and field is https://ighsau.org/sports/track-field/.