Small but mighty Redhawk girls track takes first at Lew Lundy

Corrected high jump scoring error topples Lynville-Sully

Junior Lainey Willenbring (left) gets a good start off the starting blocks thanks to North Tama track teammate Gabe Kopriva (seated) during the 800-meter sprint medley relay on April 19, as part of the Lew Lundy Relays held in Montezuma. The relay team composed of Willenbring, Shae Ewoldt, Breanna Sebetka, and Jamie Jacobs took fifth in the event. The Redhawk girls took first overall for the meet, beating out Lynnville-Sully by half a point following a scoring error correction. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

Following a string of canceled meets due to rubbishy weather, the small but mighty North Tama girls track team finally got their season off to a stellar start last Tuesday, April 19, during the Lew Lundy Relays in Montezuma – winning the meet outright after a delayed points correction and by taking several top five finishes.

“It was awesome to win the meet,” head girls coach Katey Holbach said in a text message interview following the meet. “We went in knowing we had a good chance, but that we’d have to fight for every point because with only nine girls competing, we can’t fill an entire lineup – even when we make every girl [compete in] four events.”

Although not officially their first meet of the season – the team previously competed in the GMG Relays on April 11 in South Tama, taking fifth out of seven teams – it felt like it due to all the weather cancellations which have made for a haywire spring track season for teams across the state of Iowa.

Due to a scoring error in the high jump, the Redhawks actually left Montezuma that night thinking they had medaled second out of the eight teams competing – only realizing they had taken first place thanks to the keen eye of North Tama athlete Karisa Kladivo.

“We left thinking we got second by two points and while we were happy with how most of our events went, it was a bummer to know we were so close,” Holbach said. “The next day when they sent results, Karisa Kladivo noticed we only got eight points in high jump even though we won [the event], so we should have gotten 10 [points]. They had to rescore the high jump and that shifted our points and [Lynnville-Sully’s] points.”

Redhawk high jumper Breanna Sebetka clears the bar in the Montezuma High School gym during the Lew Lundy Relays on Tuesday, April 19. Sebetka medaled first in the event for North Tama, earning 10 points and propelling the nine-member Redhawks girls’ track team to a meet victory. –Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

After the scoring error was corrected, Lynnville-Sully was knocked out of the top spot and dropped to second with 108.5 points leaving the Redhawks as the singular winner of the relays with 109 points.

Anchored by a strong distance cohort, the Redhawks recorded several top five finishes across both field and running events on the Montezuma track including senior Jules Breakenridge who finished first in the 800-meter run, junior Lainey Willenbring who finished first in the 100-meter hurdles, senior Grace Lidgett who finished first in the 1500-meter run, and Breanna Sebetka who finished first in both the 400-meter hurdles and the high jump with a winning jump of 4-feet-8-inches.

North Tama’s 1600-meter distance medley runners also took first with a winning time of 4:41.18.

In addition to their first place finishes, North Tama also captured eight additional top five finishes.

“[F]inding out that our nine [athletes] outscored teams with 20 or more girls was a huge win for us,” Holbach said. “It showed the girls just how good they are, and with the season already half over and only our second outdoor meet, it was what we all needed.”

-Photo by Ruby F. Bodeker

“It’s also good to see them win against good competition. [Lynnville-Sully] and Baxter have really good athletes, so they didn’t make it easy for us and that’s good. We need those hard events to prepare for conferences and districts.”

Though they may be small in numbers, the North Tama Redhawks certainly are mighty and sometimes that makes all the difference.

In the wake of their Lew Lundy championship, the Redhawk girls competed in the Spartan Girls Invite in Grundy Center on April 21, where they took sixth out of eight teams including Aplington-Parkersburg which took first, fielding a roster of more than 20 athletes.

The following day they traveled to Brooklyn to face the BGM Bears but due to the rough winds both the shot put and discus field events were canceled.

This week both the Redhawk girls and boys track teams were set to compete in Belle Plaine on Monday, April 25, followed by Grundy Center on Friday.

North Tama’s Breanna Sebetka (right) passes the baton to anchor Jamie Jacobs (left) during the final leg of the Lew Lundy Relays’ girls 800-meter sprint medley relay on April 19 in Montezuma.

Story update: The small but mighty North Tama girls track team took first Monday night in Belle Plaine with only 9 girls competing and by beating 10 other teams.