DRAKE RELAYS: Unfortunate injury derails Bobcats’ chances in 4×100

DES MOINES – Between bad weather and an unfortunate injury, the Marshalltown boys’ track and field team just hasn’t had much good luck this season.

Running in just three meets prior to this weekend’s Drake Relays, the Bobcats did not have a lot of chances to get to Drake and when it did, an injury derailed any chance the team had to advance in the 4×100-meter relay finals.

Senior Paul Landherr suffered a hamstring injury during the second leg of the relay Friday, and the Bobcats never recovered, taking 77th overall in the 104th Drake Relays at Drake Stadium.

“We started off strong,” said MHS senior Dacoda Ewalt, who took the handoff from Landherr. “It hurt a little once I saw Paul struggling. That wasn’t fun. I saw it on his face. I thought we were done at that point.”

Ewalt got out to his normal pace on the exchange then had to pull up when he realized Landherr was no longer sprinting into the handoff. Ewalt came to a complete stop before picking back up his speed. By that point, it was too late and it wouldn’t matter how fast senior Tad Steffensen’s anchor leg was.

“It’s an honor. A lot of people have run here. A lot more people will run tomorrow and more will run in the future,” said Steffensen despite the unfortunate finish. “It is cool to be able to compete down here.”

Steffensen competed in four relays last year. Lead-off runner Brandon Pettigrew and Ewalt were both making their first appearances at the Drake Relays.

“It felt amazing the first time running here,” said Pettigrew. “It was pretty cool. It was a good experience overall.

“We waited 13 hours to run and when something like that happens, it is not good. (Landherr) is in a lot of pain though.”

Landherr immediately went down to the ground off the track after his handoff to Ewalt. He was taken to the training room and was not available for comment afterward.

“It was a little nerve-wracking at first to see all of those people and to be running with all these athletes,” said Ewalt about his first time at the Relays. “But it was thrilling and amazing to be able to be down here.”

The Bobcats entered the weekend with a top-20 time in the 4×100. They qualified for the Relays when they crossed the finish line in 44.29 at a track meet in Des Moines. MHS finished in 46.91 on Friday.

Des Moines Lincoln had the fastest qualifying time at 43.25. The eighth and final qualifying spot went to Cedar Rapids Xavier in 43.62.

“We need to finish strong and hopefully we can get more than just one event down here for state,” said Pettigrew. “It has been hard to qualify in cold weather. Hopefully the weather gets better.”