Le Mars boys win state qualifying meet, advance 12 events to state

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) The Le Mars Community boys track and field team won the Class 3A state qualifying meet they hosted on Friday. The Bulldogs also will send 12 events to the state meet.

LE MARS — The Le Mars Community boys track and field team had a successful night hosting the Class 3A state qualifying meet. Along with winning a team title, the Bulldogs also qualified 12 events for the state meet.

“I think we scored in pretty much everything across the board,” Le Mars Head Coach Caleb Van Otterloo said. “The guys really, really ran well. We got an absolutely beautiful night and it was fun to see some really, really good times from not only us, but times from other schools as well that are top or near the top in the state. It was just a wonderful night overall.”

Field events provide good start

The team got off to a good start with wins in three of the four field events. In the throws, Brandon Vander Sluis came away with a pair of wins. He won the discus with a toss of 170-01 and the shot put with a mark of 60-07.25. Both of those marks are the best among the 3A state qualifiers.

Sione Fifita came away with a win in the high jump as one of three to finish the event with a top height of 6-02. The 6-02 height is tied for the fifth best among all of the state qualifiers.

Van Otterloo said those two will look to draw from their prior experiences at Drake Stadium heading to the state meet. The two made the Drake Relays a few weeks ago while Vander Sluis was state champion last year in the discus.

“Just the experience of going to Drake earlier this year with a few events and then last year down at state and Brandon the defending state champ in the discus and currently leading Class 3A in the shot put, not to add any pressure, but we’re expecting big things from him down there and I know he’s expecting to throw well and do well as is the entire team,” Van Otterloo said.

Individual races do well

The Bulldogs picked up four more individual event qualifications in the running events.

Cael Kass won the 400 meter dash with a time of 50.71 as his time is the fifth fastest among the state qualifiers.

The team added two more event wins in the hurdles. Reece Spieler won the district with a 15.57 time in the 110 hurdles. The time is right in the middle of the 24 state qualifying field.

Konnor Calhoun had the fastest time in the 400 meter hurdles as he raced to a 57.29 time which is the 10th fastest among the state qualifiers.

The team added an at-large qualifying spot in the 800 as even though Alex Allen was fourth at the district meet, his time of 2:02.39 is the 13th fastest of the state qualifiers and better than four district champions.

(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, Alex Allen starts his 800 meter run. Diving across the finish line in a time of 2:02.39, Allen was able to secure an at-large bid to state despite finishing fourth in the district.

“Alex Allen in that open 800, just a sophomore and he’s running 2:02 which is right around our sophomore record, diving across the finish line doing absolutely everything he can to try and get down to Des Moines,” Van Otterloo said. “It’s just that type of effort from our guys that really is awesome.”

Relay reign

Of the seven relay events, Le Mars is moving on to state in five. The team won the shuttle hurdle relay with a time of 1:01.69 from Ryan Sadoski, Calhoun, David Leusink and Spieler. The team is the third fastest of all the state qualifying teams.

The Bulldogs were the runner-up in the 4x100, but their time is the second-best of all the state qualifiers. Bishop Heelan won in a time of 42.74 to enter state as the fastest time. The Le Mars group of Sadoski, Fifita, Leusink and Kass ended in 43.01 which is next best. Four total teams from the district advance in the event as Spencer and Sioux Center also move on with their times being in the top 10 among the state qualifiers.

The 4x200 team of Sadoski, Fifita, Leusink and Beau Wadle grabbed the next-to-last at-large spot with a time of 1:32.63.

(Sentinel Photos By Allen Hamil) Above, Beau Wadle grabs the baton from David Leusink in the final exchange of the 4x200 relay for the Bulldogs. The team finished fourth in the district, but their time of 1:32.63 was able to snag one of the last at-large spots to the state meet.

The 4x400 team didn’t make the top two for an automatic qualifying spot, but Spieler, Allen, Teagen Kasel and Kass ran a time of 3:28.45 which was the best among the non-auto bids and 10th fastest overall.

The team also qualified in the sprint medley with Sadoski, Fifita, Spieler and Kass. Their time was 1:35.71 to take the second place automatic spot behind Spencer’s 1:35.07. The Bulldogs enter state with the seventh best time.

Van Otterloo said if the team does their best, the scoring at state should fall into place.

“As long as we go down and compete and run well, it will be a successful meet for us,” Van Otterloo said.

Team scores: Le Mars 135, MOC-Floyd Valley 126, Bishop Heelan 108.5, Spencer 107, Sioux Center 87, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 84, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 79.5

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