North Tama & Union track and field athletes headed to state
Two dozen local athletes set to participate in state championships
Two dozen local athletes from across North Tama and Union high schools punched their tickets to state this past Thursday, May 12, at district meets and will be lacing up their track spikes to head south to Des Moines May 19-21, for the Iowa High School State Track & Field Championships.
North Tama Girls
The continuing story in the 11-member North Tama girls track team is the tenacity of this small, but mighty group of athletes. Meet after meet this season – with each athlete competing in four events each – the team has managed to capture seven top-five team finishes and dozens of individual gold and silver medals.
Anchored by distance runners Jules Breakenridge and Grace Lidgett, the team took first place in both the Lew Lundy Relays in Montezuma on April 19, and the Belle Plaine Coed Invitational on April 25.
On Thursday, May 12, in Hudson at the coed Class 1A State Qualifying Meet (site 5), North Tama’s 4X800-meter relay team composed of sisters Jules Breakenridge and Ava Breakenridge, Jamie Jacobs, and Lidgett secured the only automatic state qualifier for the Redhawks by sweeping the competition in a thrilling race. Much of North Tama’s success in that race was owed to sophomore Jacobs’ third leg performance.
Jacobs executed a comeback for the Redhawks on the backside of the second leg of her run, pulling ahead of BCLUW in the final moments before passing the baton to anchor Lidgett who in turn was able to pull well ahead of the nearest competitor – winning the race for North Tama with a time of 10:33.69 and besting runner-up BCLUW by more than 17 seconds.
Jacobs’ impressive run did not go unnoticed by many in the local press on the field who were overheard commenting on her performance nor by North Tama girls’ head coach Katey Holbach, who – in a post-meet interview with the Telegraph – said it was no coincidence her athlete performed the way she did that night in Hudson.
“[Jacobs] chose to not [compete in] long jump so she could put all of her focus on the 800 and get her time down,” Holbach said. “I knew she could do it and it was just getting her to believe in herself and trust the training … we practiced 200 splits all week so her body could feel the pace she needed to run consistently.”
“I’m so proud of her for seeing that BCLUW runner and chasing her down and not giving up” Holbach continued. “She battled her the whole way.”
The quartet is set to compete in the girls’ Class 1A 4X800-meter run in Des Moines on Thursday, May 19, beginning at 11:20 a.m. The 1A state record for the race is held by a team from Valley Community High School in Elgin – a finish of 9:28.33 set on May 17, 2007.
Late Friday night – following the completion of several state qualifying meets that had been postponed from Thursday to Friday due to the extreme temperatures – the Redhawks learned they would be adding five more events to their state ticket including Jules Breakenridge in the 800-meter run; Lidgett in both the 1500-meter and 3000-meter runs; Shae Ewoldt in the high jump; and the distance medley team composed of Lainey Willenbring, Zoey Rausch, Jules Breakenridge, and Lidgett which will be looking to break their own school’s state record.
North Tama holds the state record for the Class 1A girls’ distance medley with a time of 4:05.37, set on May 18, 2007, by the Redhawks quartet of Blaire Dinsdale, Morgan Halupnick, Sara Stoakes, and Brooke Dinsdale. In Hudson last week, North Tama’s distance medley team crossed the finish line with a time of 4:27.39. The winners of the race Nashua-Plainfield finished with a time of 4:21.37.
The Redhawks girls’ distance medley team is set to run in Des Moines on Friday, May 20, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
In a truly stunning showing in the long jump field event during the coed Class 2A State Qualifying Meet held in Grundy Center last Thursday, Union sophomore Ava Mills surpassed her personal record by a dizzying two feet – taking second place with a jump of 15-feet-7.75-inches and thereby automatically punching her ticket to state.
Mills is set to compete in Des Moines on Thursday, May 19, beginning at 4:30 p.m. as part of the first flight. The state record for the Class 2A girls’ long jump is held by Dani Stipe of Kuemper Catholic – a jump of 18-feet-11.5-inches set on May 18, 2006.
In addition to Mills in the long jump, the Union girls track team is also bringing a strong ticket to state much like North Tama, including Myah Pont in the 100-meter dash; Lauren Youngblut in the 3000-meter run; the 4X100-meter shuttle hurdle team composed of Sydney Anton, Reagan Sorensen, Mills, and Jailyn Petersen; the 4X100-meter relay team composed of Pont, Anton, Aubrey Gates, and Kate Carlson; and the 4X200-meter relay team composed of Anton, Gracie Rathe, Gates, and Carlson.
The Union boys’ track team will also be well-represented at state. State qualifiers include Joren Fisher in the 400-meter dash; Brock Meyer in the 800-meter run who is set to miss his own high school graduation reception on Saturday, May 21, in order to compete at state; the 4X200-meter relay team composed of Michael Niebergall, Gibson Purdy, Danny Petersen, and Logan Rosauer; and the 800-meter sprint medley team composed of Niebergall, TJ Freeland, Rosauer, and Danny Petersen.
“It was a really solid night,” boys’ head coach Scott Denner said in an email of his team’s performance at Grundy Center Thursday night. “We were able to PR in almost every single event.”
Union’s Nolan Miehe, a senior, had a shot at making it to state this year in the 400-meter hurdles, Denner said but injured his leg after the second hurdle. Despite the injury, however, Miehe continued on, finishing the race.
“It was both heartbreaking and inspirational to watch,” Denner said of his athlete.
2022 Iowa High School State Track & Field Championships
The 2022 Iowa High School State Track & Field Championships will take place Thursday, May 19, through Saturday, May 21, in Des Moines at Drake Stadium. Medals will be awarded for the first eight finishes in every event. Boy individual and relay champions will also receive a hat for their accomplishments. Three trophies will be awarded in each class including both a boys’ and girl’s wheelchair trophy.
Spectator tickets cost $10 per day for the state meet and must be purchased via Hometown Ticketing: https://www.iahsaa.org/tickets/