Knights, Redhawks reel in relay medals
Union boys, North Tama girls notch all-state relay finishes
A busy string of days last week for both the Union and North Tama track and field teams at the 2022 Iowa High School Track and Field Championships in Des Moines ended with a medal per school on the books.
The Union Knights boys’ 4X200-meter relay composed of Michael Niebergall, Gibson Purdy, Danny Petersen, and Logan Rosauer finished eighth on Friday, May 20, in the finals with a time of 1 minute, 33.09 seconds.
Three of the four – seniors Niebergall, Petersen, and Rosauer – ended their high school track careers on Drake Stadium’s blue oval, making the lone medal for Union all the more special.
Union boys State Track and Field Championships results
-Joren Fisher, 400-meter dash, 20th with a time of 52.48
-4X200-meter relay, 8th place with a time of 1:33.09
-800-meter sprint medley (Michael Niebergall, TJ Freeland, Logan Rosauer, Danny Petersen), 19th with a time of 1:38.87
-Brock Meyer, 800-meter run, 17th with a time of 2:04.30
North Tama girls track
North Tama’s efforts were headlined by the girls’ 4X800-meter relay on Thursday, May 19, with the group of Jules Breakenridge, Ava Breakenridge, Jamie Jacobs, and Grace Lidgett taking eighth place after running 10:26.36.
Earlier in the morning, Lidgett competed in the 3,000-meter run – just missing out on a medal by five seconds by finishing ninth with a time of 11:24.81.
Lidgett repeated the feat on Sunday afternoon in the 1500-meter run – again placing ninth and missing the medal cut by 0.02 seconds with a time of 4:55.49 but setting a personal record. Her time would have placed her in medal contention in both the Class 2A and Class 3A 1500-meter runs on Saturday.
The North Tama girls track and field team will return all but one of their athletes next season, losing only Jules Breakenridge to graduation.
Head coach Katey Holbach posted on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, lamenting the loss of her senior player, writing: “Jules, you will be greatly missed by the team and myself. Thanks for your constant leadership and always working so hard. You were a joy to coach, and Hawkeye [Commuity College] will be so lucky to have you on their team.”
The fact that North Tama sent such a strong team to state with only 11 on their roster is a testament to both Holbach’s coaching and her athletes’ tenacity. To go from the dirt track they train on in Traer to Drake Stadium’s blue oval would give any high school athlete whiplash.
On Tuesday afternoon ahead of the state championships, Holbach discussed the complexity of training on a hard dirt track – the consistency of which can best be described as an unpaved rural county road in Iowa – while her athletes ran laps during warmup.
“Normally we don’t get out here until mid to late March,” Holbach said, “all the snow has to melt and [the track] has to harden up. If it’s wet, they try to do handoffs, they slip.”
If the track is not useable, Holbach said, the girls can be found running all over town or at the school.
But despite the challenges faced by the team each season while at the mercy of the weather and the condition of the facilities, with so many returning Redhawks next year, another trip to the blue oval for this small but mighty team from Traer seems likely.
North Tama girls State Track and Field Championships results
-Grace Lidgett, 3000-meter run, 9th with a time of 11:24.81
-4X800-meter relay, 8th with a time of 10:26.36
-Shae Ewoldt, high jump, 21st
-Distance Medley (Lainey Willenbring, Zoey Rausch, Jules Breakenridge, Grace Lidgett), 18th with a time of 4:32.00
-Jules Breakenridge, 800-meter run, 19th with a time of 2:33.47
-Grace Lidgett, 1500-meter run, 9th with a time of 4:55.49
Union girls State Track and Field Championships results
-Myah Pont, 100-meter dash, 18th with a time of 13.34
-Lauren Youngblut, 3000-meter run, 21st with a time of 12:17.63
-4X100-meter shuttle hurdle (Sydney Anton, Reagan Sorensen, Ava Mills, Jailyn Petersen), 15th with a time of 1:11.29
-4X100-meter relay (Myah Pont, Sydney Anton, Aubrey Gates, Kate Carlson), 23rd with a time of 52.33
-4X200-meter relay (Sydney Anton, Gracie Rathe, Aubrey Gates, Kate Carlson), 24th with a time of 1:53.72
-Ava Mills, long jump, 20th with a jump of 15-00.00