Crooks Wins 3rd Straight Shot Put Title, Schupbach and Knapp Medal in 3000 Meters on Day One of State Track

by Tyler Lance
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Day one of the high school state track and field meet from Drake Stadium in Des Moines is in the books, as a couple of state medals and one state title highlighted day one’s area performances. (Interviews at the end of the post)

Bishop Garrigan’s Audi Crooks continued her stranglehold over the class 1A shot put, taking her third straight state championship with a throw of 44-00.75. Crooks took the lead on her first throw and never relinquished it, with her fifth throw being her longest of the morning. She was the only competitor in the class 1A field to throw over 40 feet. With the win, Crooks is now just the seventh girl in Iowa high school history to win the state title in the shot put at least three years in a row. Among the previous six was former Bishop Garrigan athlete Renetta Seiler, who won the class 2A shot put in 1993 and 1994, and the 1A shot pout in 1995.

North Union’s Oliva Merrill competed in her second straight state meet, narrowly missing the finals by placing 9th with a throw of 36-04.50.

On the track, some of the best performances of the day came in the girls 3000 meter run. In class 1A, West Bend-Mallard freshman Tyra Schupbach welcomed herself to Drake Stadium for the first time by finishing sixth in 11:06, beating her previous season best of 11:28, and earning a state medal. After starting the race aggressively to get in good position, Schupbach expertly positioned herself, staying within medal position from the first step of her race to the last. With the top four runners in the race breaking away from the field, Schupbach went with the chase pack and pulled away from most of the field by the mile mark of the race.

Schupbach wasn’t the only West Bend-Mallard freshman to have a big day, as Maddie Fehr punched her ticket to the finals of Saturday’s 200 meter dash. Fehr advanced by a narrow margin, as her time of 26.63 seconds was good for eight place in the preliminary round, just sixth hundredths of a second ahead of ninth place.

In the afternoon session, Algona’s Moriah Knapp battled through 80+ degree temperatures to earn a state medal in the class 3A 3000 meters, placing 6th in 10:49. Ballard’s Paityn Noe embarked on record-breaking pace, as the rest of the runners in the pack were content to let her go and battle for second. Through the first couple of laps, the remaining 23 runners after Noe remained in a tightly bunched line jockeying for position. Knapp began moving her way through the field around the third lap, moving up to fifth place. Approaching the mile mark, the second through fourth place chase pack pulled away from Knapp, as she battled with Clear Lake’s Addison Doughan for 5th place the rest of the race, with Doughan ultimately pulling ahead of Knapp late. Moriah Knapp Interview

Although it wouldn’t result in a state medal, Algona senior Ryan Stundahl posted a career best time in his first appearance at the Blue Oval, as Stundahl completed the boys class 3A 3200 meters in 10:10, one second ahead of his career best, which was initially set last week. Stundahl’s effort was good for 16th place.

Multiple athletes competed in the preliminary round of their events, with several area athletes booking their ticket to Saturday’s finals by coming in the top eight in the prelims. North Union senior Bryer Prochniak continued to state his case as a state title contender in both the class 1A 100 and 200 meter dashes. Prochniak doubled up, placing fourth in the 200 meter preliminaries in 22.38 seconds, while finishing 3rd in the 100 meter preliminaries in 11.13. Prochniak has been at state in those same two events in each of the past two seasons, medaling in both last year.

Bishop Garrigan senior Cal Birkey also competed in both events, however did not advance to finals, placing 21st in the 200 meters in 23.44 seconds and 15th in the 100 meters in 11.63 seconds.

North Union senior Shelby Fraker continued a strong day by the Warrior sprinters, running a season best 100 meter time of 13.08 in the girls class 1A preliminary round. Fraker finished 7th place, securing one of the eight finals berths for Saturday. Fraker finished just fifth in heat three, but that heat proved to be the most competitive of the prelims, as five of the eight athletes qualifying for Saturday’s finals came from the third heat.

In the girls class 1A shuttle hurdle relay, Bishop Garrigan ran into some adversity, but was still able to advance to Saturday’s final. With the Golden Bears in the lead, Reagan Murphy, the third leg of the relay, tripped over one of the final hurdles, but the combination of Murphy quickly getting to her feet and a good anchor leg by senior Molly Joyce allowed the Golden Bears to finish with the sixth best time in the preliminaries in 1:10.00. The relay team of Murphy, Joyce, Zoe Montag, and Emmi Bartolo will be in the slower of two heats in Saturday’s timed finals.

Several day one’s events were timed finals. In class 1A, Bishop Garrigan’s Abbie Capesius used a big surge on the back curve to win heat one of the girls 400 meters in a personal best time of 1:00.78. The junior’s time would ultimately end up placing her in 13th.

Bishop Garrigan had junior Justin Bauer in the boys class 1A 400 meters, as Bauer posted a time of 51.54, narrowly missing his personal best by two-hundredths of a second. Bauer’s time was good for 12th place overall.

In class 3A, Algona had two runners making their first state appearances in the boys 400 meters. Sophomore Ashton Moreno took 21st place in 52.06, while freshman Evan Allie was 16th in 51.32.

The 4×800 meter relay was contested as a timed final on day one as well. In class 1A, West Bend-Mallard’s girls 4×800 of Abi Schmidt, Tiffany Fehr, Allison Fehr, and Kierstin Montag knocked 12 seconds off of their season best, running 10:12. The Wolverines got faster splits on each leg of their relay, with Schmidt running a 2:37 on the lead leg, Tiffany Fehr covering her 800 meters in 2:35 on the second leg, Ashley Fehr clocking a time of 2:32 on the third leg, and Montag anchoring the relay in 2:26.

In class 3A, Algona’s girls 4×800 meter relay battled through a late lineup change to finish 24th in 10:33. The Bulldogs turned to sophomore Lauren McLaughlin to fill in for Moriah Knapp, who was unable to run in the 4×800 after completing the 3000 meters a short time earlier. Andi Jensen led off the relay with a split of 2:40, followed by a 2:41 from McLaughlin, and 2:35s from Malyn Davis and Macy Knapp.

Back over in the field events, it was a frustrating day for Bishop Garrigan’s Molly Joyce, who had won the previous two girls class 1A long jump titles. Joyce, who came in as one of the favorites to contend for the title this season, fouled on her first three attempts and did not make it to finals.

In the boys class 1A shot put, it was a narrow miss by North Union junior Colin Rasch, who was making his first state appearance, as he missed making the finals by one spot, finishing ninth with a throw of 48-06.75.

Algona had two athletes competing in the boys class 3A discus, as freshman Max Nevitt and junior Shriji Patel finished 20th and 21st respectively. Patel’s best throw of the competition was 131-06, while Nevitt’s best mark was 136-09.

In the class 3A boys high jump, Algona senior Caleb Omdahl tied for 17th with a height of 5-11. Omdahl cleared his second attempt at 5-11, while missing all three tries at 6-01, narrowly grazing the bar on his second try.

Algona also had Madison Ehrig representing them in the girls class 3A high jump. Ehrig cleared 5-00, finishing in a five-way tie for seventh. Ehrig cleared her first attempt at 4-10, and took two tries to get over 5-00. Ehrig nearly cleared 5-02 on her third and best attempt at the height, but grazed the bar on the way over.

State track and field will pick right back up starting at 9 A.M. on May 19th with day two of the competition.

Athlete Interviews

Abbie Capesius – Bishop Garrigan – 400 meters

Audi Crooks – Bishop Garrigan – Shot Put

Bishop Garrigan – Girls Shuttle Hurdle Relay (Emmi Bartolo, Zoe Montag, Reagan Murphy, Molly Joyce)

Bryer Pochniak – North Union – 100 meter preliminaries

Bryer Pochniak – North Union – 200m preliminaries

Caleb Omdahl – Algona – High Jump

Colin Rasch – North UnionShot Put

Madison Ehrig – Algona – High Jump

Evan Allie/Ashton Moreno – Algona – 400 meters

Justin Bauer – Bishop Garrigan – 400 meters

Molly Joyce – Bishop Garrigan – Long Jump

Moriah Knapp – Algona – 3000 meters

Ryan Stundahl – Algona – 3200 meters

Shelby Fraker – North Union – 100 meter preliminaries

Tyra Schupbach – West Bend-Mallard – 3000 meters

West Bend-Mallard Girls 4×800 meter relay (Abi Schmidt, Tiffany Fehr, Allison Fehr, Kierstin Montag)

Cal Birkey – Bishop Garrigan – 100 meter preliminaries

Cal Birkey – Bishop Garrigan – 200 meter preliminaries

Algona – Girls 4×800 meter relay (Andi Jensen, Lauren McLaughlin, Malyn Davis, Macy Knapp)

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