NICL TRACK & FIELD: STC girls show off depth in title run

GRUNDY CENTER – There’s a first time for everything.

After three and a half decades as the South Tama County boys track coach, George Corum’s debut season with the Trojan girls squad is one he won’t forget.

Making a five-place jump from 2012, STC captured its first-ever North Iowa Cedar League West Division track and field title with 134.5 points to complete a Trojan sweep Monday.

Though initially it took a little while for the Trojans to warm up to the new headman.

“I’m too old to change my ways and they were kind of intimidated when I came in since I used to coach the boys,” Corum said. “They met the challenge. It was lot of hard work and getting them to believe that they could achieve.”

Though topping the podium in just two events, STC rallied behind four second-place finishes and seven thirds to hold off defending runner-up East Marshall by seven points, while West Marshall took third (90.5).

Samantha Holtz’s heave of 107-04 earned gold in the discus, while Shelby Bradley topped the field with a leap of 15 feet, 4 1/2 inches in the long jump.

Holtz also took silver in the shot put (37-07), while Jade Rohach finished second in the 200 (27.72). The Trojans added a pair of runner-up performances in the 4×100 and shuttle hurdle relay. Bradley, Rohach, Kiley Culbertson and Belle Tyynismaa clocked 53.71 in the 4×100 before Bradley, Kaleigh Sieck, Julie Wise and Brooke Keller tallied 1:14.91 in the shuttle hurdle – one hundredth of a second behind East Marshall.

“We’ve really progressed as a team,” said Sieck midway through Monday’s competition. “We won our meet last Friday and we’re fighting for it again tonight.”

The Mustangs won five events, including a pair of two-time individual winners in Paige Miller and Madisen Hinegardner.

Miller cruised to her fourth straight 3,000 meter title in 11:24.92 and claimed the 1,500 (5:13.38) for the third time in her career. Hinegardner swept the 100 hurdles (17.73) and 400 hurdles (1:10.61), while also anchoring the victorious shuttle hurdle relay (1:14.90) teaming with Katie Roseland, Meriel Leavy and Callie Roseland.

“I’m sure when we break it down we’ll find some things that we could have done different,” said East Marshall co-coach Trent Taylor, who shared conference Coach of the Year honors with co-coach Randy Baker.

“But if you think about the level of performance we had tonight with 12 scoring girls – it was an outstanding performance.”

Sarah Boomgarden had several of those caliber performances herself and was named the conference meet’s Outstanding Performer – winning the 100 (13.28), 200 (27.27) and high jump (5-2).

The Tiger sophomore savored the chance to finally get out of the wind and rain.

“I love running when it’s not windy or raining, because you get to see how the competition really is,” Boomgarden said.

“Some people run better in the wind and some don’t – so when you get it all even, it’s much easier to compete.”

Boomgarden also broke the tape in the 4×100 (53.26), teaming with Kayla Prosser, Samantha Topp and April Skartvedt as South Hardin tied Grundy Center for fifth with 77 points apiece.

West Marshall matched the Mustangs with five first-place finishes led by Victoria Pothast’s victories in the 400 (1:01.91) and 800 (2:28.73), the latter of which she overtook two-time defending champion Paige Miller on the second lap.

“I just wanted to stay up there on the first lap and then speed it up and take it,” Pothast said.

“Paige is a great runner and every race she is out there flying. Anytime I get a chance to run with her, I really want to push myself and I know she’ll push me too.”

Pothast also ran the final leg of the Trojans’ winning sprint medley (2:00.25) with Sadie Samatovich, Kailyn Brewer-Reece and Kelsey DeBruyn.

Jennifer Davis (37-07.00) topped the shot put field and the 4×200 (1:54.23) quartet consisting of Shelby Larsen, Brewer-Reece, Samie Samatovich and Sadie Samatovich also claimed top honors.

Grundy Center wrapped up relay titles in the 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley. Hannah Stumberg, Riley Ackerman, Piper Johanns and Kayla Mathews took the 4×400 (4:24.64), while Johans, Katie Lindeman, Mathews and Stumberg won the 4×800 (10:24.24). The Spartans’ foursome of Jessica Ackerson, Samantha Meyers, Stumberg and Johanns seized gold in the distance medley (4:33.42).

BCLUW (54), AGWSR (26.5) and Gladbrook-Reinbeck (1) completed the eight-team field.