Le Mars girls qualify six events for state track meet

Tuesday, May 17, 2022
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, Stella Hector takes off after receiving the baton from Jenna Allen in the 4x200 relay. The Bulldogs finished third in the district, but their time of 1:47.19 was good enough to qualify for state and is the 13th best time among the state qualifiers.

LE MARS — A beautiful night for running led to some quality results for the Le Mars Community girls track and field team on Friday as they hosted the Class 3A state qualifying meet. Le Mars Head Coach Tami Dunn said it turned out to be a good night for her team as six events went on to qualify for state.

“What a great night and what a nice review for our track,” Dunn said. “We ran a nice meet and I’m so happy we had some good fast times and I think it went really well for us tonight.”

Two individual events advance

The team had two individual events move on. Lilly McNaughton got one of those early in the meet in the long jump competition. She secured the second of the automatic qualifying bids with a jump of 17-feet, trailing event winner Ayda Den Herder of Sioux Center by five inches. McNaughton will enter the state field near the middle of the competitors with her jump.

“I really liked how Lilly looked in the long jump,” Dunn said. “She got to 17 feet. Her legs are fresh and that’s always good for a jumper and she’s ready for the challenge.”

Madi Huls picked up the other individual qualifying event with a second place finish in the 100 meter dash. Her time of 13.71 trailed only the 13.32 from MOC-Floyd Valley’s Tierney Huss. Huls will enter state with the second-slowest qualifying time.

Le Mars finds success in relays

The Bulldogs got four of their state event entries in the relays.

The team started off with the sprint medley where they placed third with a time of 1:53.53 from Allie Kruse, Stella Hector, Jenna Allen and Huls. While the time was about four seconds behind race winner Spencer and over a second behind the runner-up Spirit Lake-Park team, it was still fast enough to grab one of the final at-large spots as the time was the 18th fastest out of the 24 qualifiers.

Spencer won the shuttle hurdle relay by about three seconds over Le Mars as their time of 1:06.22 is the second fastest among the state qualifiers. The Bulldogs were able to finish the race in a time of 1:09.87 which is the 14th best of the state qualifiers. Savannah Manley, Liberty Larson, Aubree Leusink and McNaughton make up the relay.

(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, Savannah Manley goes over a hurdle as she gets Le Mars started in the shuttle hurdle relay. The Bulldogs finished second for the automatic qualifying spot with a time of 1:09.87 which is the 14th fastest among the state qualifiers.

The 4x200 team had to wait to see if their time was good enough to advance after placing third. The group of Allie Kruse, Huls, Allen and Hector didn’t have to fret too much as it ended up five of the seven teams in the event from the district will be moving on. The Le Mars time of 1:47.19 is near the middle of the state qualifying field.

Dunn had good things to say about the anchor runner of the 4x200 who also qualified in the sprint medley.

“Stella Hector had a great night tonight, and it hasn’t come easy for her this year,” Dunn said. “Tonight she put it all together and quite frankly, we needed her to put it all together tonight. I thought she really stepped up to the plate.”

4x400 surprises

In what may be one of the best stories of the night, the Lady Bulldogs put together a 4x400 combination they had never used before. Dunn went with the group of Huls, Allen, Kruse and Sienna Kass after seeing some things click late in the season.

“We lost five meets and it’s hard to develop a 400 meter runner. I know that they’re fast and so I’ve had them in 100 and 200 and last week I saw a couple things happen with Sienna Kass and Allie Kruse who went under 1:04 and I just thought if we put Madi and Jenna with them, I think we can at very best go 4:12,” Dunn said.

The move ended up paying off as the team shaved 21 seconds from their previous best time in the event this season. While the quartet didn’t get an automatic qualifying spot in the top two with their time of 4:11.03, about a second under what Dunn thought the group could do, the time ended up being the second fastest time among the non-automatic qualifiers and will be the 10th fastest among the teams headed to state.

“They went 4:11 and that was a heck of a race,” Dunn said. “It was very exciting. In theory it’s there, you just gotta wait for the right time to put it together. I think that 4x400 probably has a 4:06 in it, so I’m looking forward to seeing what that can do because I think they could do some damage.”

Team scores: Spencer 165, MOC-Floyd Valley 129, Sioux Center 104, Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 76, Le Mars 72, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 71, Spirit Lake 65, Bishop Heelan 52.

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