Bishop Garrigan and North Union 4×100 Meter Relays Highlight Day Two of State Track

by Tyler Lance
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Survive and advance could be the motto of day two of the Iowa high school state track and field championships from Drake Stadium in Des Moines, a day full of relays and events in their preliminary round. Several area teams, including North Union and Bishop Garrigan’s girls 4×100 meter relay teams not only survived, but thrived during the day two competition.

The girls 4×100 meter relay is contested in three heats against time to determine which eight teams would run in Saturday’s finals. Neither North Union nor Bishop Garrigan were on many school’s radars, with North Union’s relay ranked 11th and Bishop Garrigan’s ranked 15th in the class 1A field coming into the meet. However, both schools would run a clean relay and post season bests to advance. The Warriors 4×100 of Ella Ulrich, Naomi Jones, Libby Stevens, and Shelby Fraker circled the blue oval in 51.37 seconds, finishing third in heat two and seventh overall to advance. The Golden Bear 4×100 of Emmi Bartolo, Reagan Murphy, Zoe Montag, and Abbie Capesius emerged with a new school record of 51.41 to secure the eight and final spot in Saturday’s finals, taking third in heat three.

Bishop Garrigan didn’t stop with just the 4×100, as around an hour later, the 4×400 meter relay consisting of Montag, Capesius Murphy, and Molly Joyce ran their season best of 4:09.80, to finish seventh overall and earn one of the eight qualifying spots in the finals. Joyce anchored in a blazing 59.6 second split, the fastest 400 meter relay split of her decorated career.

Joyce’s strong anchor leg capped off a big day for the senior, as she also punched her ticket to finals in the class 1A 100 meter hurdles with a time of 15.46, placing 4th in the preliminaries. Joyce was also a finalist in the event last season, as she will look to improve upon her eighth place finish. Murphy also raced in the 100 meter hurdle prelims, finishing in 11th place in 16.15.

Bishop Garrigan senior Audi Crooks was the only local field event contestant of the day, competing in the class 1A girls discus throw. Although Crooks was unable to defend last years class 1A state title in the event, she finished as a state medalist, taking 4th place with a throw of 117-09. Crooks was in sixth place after her first three throws, advancing to finals with a mark of 111-11. After fouling on her fourth attempt, Crooks posted a mark of 115-00 on her fifth try, and her final mark of 117-09 on her sixth toss to move up to fourth place.

In addition to the day’s preliminaries, the 1600 meter medley and 4×200 meter relay both contested timed finals. In the girls class 1A 4×200 meters, the North Union quartet of Ulrich, Jones, Stevens, and Fraker set a new season best of 1:49.12. The time was good enough to place North Union 14th after coming into the meet seeded with the 20th best time.

The Warriors also qualified their boys 4×200 meter team of Landon Price, Gavyn Morphew, Preston Guerdet, and Bryer Prochniak to state. The foursome took 18th place in 1:34.92.

In the girls class 1A 1600 meter medley relay timed final, West Bend-Mallard’s team of Hannah Fehr, Shaylee Wise, Maddie Fehr, and Kierstin Montag placed 14th in the timed finals in 4:24.55.

Montag continued her busy state meet in the 400 meter hurdles with another strong performance, producing a personal best time of 1:09.28 to finish 13th.

In the final event of the morning session, Bishop Garrigan’s boys 4×400 meter relay of Caden Roethler, Andrew Lichter, Trayton Cink, and Justin Bauer took 19th in the preliminaries in 3:36.74.

In the afternoon class 2A/3A session, it was a busy day for Algona in the relay events. The Bulldog boys 1600 meter medley relay with Porter Reffer, Alex Manske, Caden Weber, and Gavin Weber got the afternoon started with 20th place finish in the timed finals in 3:42.37. The Weber brothers were able to run on the same relay together one final time in their career with the senior Caden on the 400 meter leg handing off to the freshman Gavin on the 800 meter leg.

Algona also ran in the timed finals of the boys class 3A 4×200 meters with the relay of Porter Reffer, William Weichert, Lamorn Ulfers, and Alex Manske.

The Bulldog girls team had just one event competing on the afternoon, with the 4×100 meter relay finishing 24th in the prelims. The team of Ava Henry, Summer Thompson, Ella Lawson, and Natalie Johnson clocked in with a time of 52.13 in the final state race for the seniors Henry and Lawson, and the first state race in the careers of the freshmen Thompson and Johnson.

Algona’s boys 4×100 meter relay battled through the tough draw of lane eight in their preliminary heat to run 44.51 and finish 17th with the team of Reffer, Ulfers, Manske, and Allie.

Capping off the day was Algona’s 4×400 meter relay, who missed out on qualifying for Saturday’s finals by just over two seconds, crossing the line in 3:27.70 for 11th place. Sophmore Ashton Moreno, senior Caden Weber, senior Caleb Omdahl, and freshman Evan Allie made up the relay team for the Bulldogs.

A record 16,045 fans stopped by Drake Stadium to take in Friday’s action. The final day of competition begins on Saturday morning at 9 A.M.

Athlete Interviews

Algona – Boys 4×100 meter relay (Porter Reffer, Lamorn Ulfers, Alex Manske, Evan Allie)

Algona – Boys 4×200 meter relay (Porter Reffer, William Weichert, Lamorn Ulfers, Alex Manske)

Algona – Boys 4×400 meter relay (Ashton Moreno, Caden Weber, Caleb Omdahl, Evan Allie)

Algona – Boys 1600 meter medley (Porter Reffer, Alex Manske, Caden Weber, Gavin Weber)

Audi Crooks – Bishop Garrigan – Discus

Bishop Garrigan – Boys 4×400 meter relay (Caden Roethler, Andrew Lichter, Trayton Cink, Justin Bauer)

Bishop Garrigan – Girls 4×400 meter relay (Zoe Montag, Abbie Capesius, Reagan Murphy, Molly Joyce)

Molly Joyce/Reagan Murphy – Bishop Garrigan – 100 meter hurdles

Kierstin Montag – West Bend-Mallard – 400 meter hurdles

North Union – Boys 4×200 meter relay – (Landon Price, Gavyn Morphew, Preston Guerdet, Bryer Prochniak)

North Union – Girls 4×100 meter relay (Ella Ulrich, Naomi Jones, Libby Stevens, Shelby Fraker)

North Union – Girls 4×200 meter relay (Ella Ulrich, Naomi Jones, Libby Stevens, Shelby Fraker)

West Bend-Mallard – 1600 meter medley (Hannah Fehr, Shaylee Wise, Maddie Fehr, Kierstin Montag)

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