SIOUX CENTER-The Western Christian girls’ track and field team took home back-to-back district titles following the Class 2A state-qualifying meet in Sioux Center Thursday. But the main focus for both the Wolfpack and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley girls’ and boys’ track teams was to send as many events to Drake Staduim and both teams felt they accomplished that goal.
Western Christian won its second district title in a row Thursday with 106 points. Sioux Center was the second-place team with 92 points.
“I felt really good about our performances last night in Sioux Center at districts. It was the second year in a row we won districts. I believe we are starting to hit our peak at the right time of the year,” said Wolfpack girls’ coach Mark Fenchel.
Getting the night started for Western Christian was Cori De Jong and Jessi De Jager in the high jump. De Jong won the individual district title and an automatic bid to state with a leap of 5’5”. De Jager placed third in the event, but had a top 24-leap of 5’1” to qualify.
“Great start to the night with Cori and Jessi going first and third in the high jump. Cori tied her PR (personal record) for the year and Jessi had the best jump of her career. Pretty good height to jump for Jessi since she really just picked up high jump this year,” Fenchel said. “Last time we had two jumpers down at state Cori won the high jump.”
The other automatic qualifiers included five relay events: sprint medley, 4×200-meter, 4×100, 4×400 and distance medley.
“I think going into the night we were going to see some great competition in some of the relays. It’s always a guessing game to figure out what other teams are going to stack for their relays and I felt we ran strong across all our relays,” Fenchel said. “I thought our 4×400 ran with a purpose to show they are better than what their times have shown this year. Bailey (Nelson) had a great start in the opening leg and the rest of the relay team fed off the energy of the previous runners in the relay.”
Fenchel also had high praise for his 4×800 team. They placed third in the event, but had a top-24 state time of 9:52.
“Our 4×800 ran against a great Sioux Center and Okoboji squad and finished third. When final rankings came out today we are seeded fourth overall in the state, which shows that we run in a crazy tough district,” Fenchel said. “Maybe a little disappointed with the third-place finish last night, but now our mindset is we can run with the best.”
The final two automatic state qualifiers were Taylor Rus and Erika Feenstra. Rus took second place in the 100-meter dash and Feenstra took home an individual district title in the 200-meter dash.
As Western Christian now begins to focus on the state meet in Des Moines, Fenchel is confident his team will perform well.
“I think we will be in good position to score some points down at state. We need to get better and faster in the next week,” he said.
The Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley girls finished fourth in the team standings with 73 points and will be sending six of their events to state. However, only two of those events were automatic qualifiers with second-place finishes by Cassie Van Beek in the discus throw and the high jump.
“She’s just a special athlete and a really good kid. It’s just amazing what she can do throwing the shot and high jump, and she also ran our 4×100. So she’s going to show off a bunch of her talents down at state next week,” said Nighthawk girls’ coach Wade Vander Maten.
Those running talents will be on display as Van Beek was the anchor leg for the 4×100. That event placed fourth, but had a top-24 time of 52.52 seconds. The other three relays — 4×200, sprint medley and the distance medley — also had to wait their fate Friday afternoon and all three had top-24 times. During the meet, the 4×200 placed fourth with a time of 1:50, the sprint medley placed third with a time of 1:54 and the distance medley placed sixth with a time of 4:25.
“Our 4×200 ran a PR, so we’re really excited about that. Our 4×100 really did our hand-offs really well. Then our sprint medley had a PR too and then our distance medley PRed by 10 seconds. Sammy Blum ran a 2:26 (on the anchor) and that was her best time by far this year,” Vander Maten said. “I thought our girls ran really, really well. Very proud of them and we’re excited. We get to bring a lot of girls down to state this year.”
Vander Maten has high hopes for his team at state, but as long as his athletes focus on improving times he will take whatever place they finish in.
“Going down to state every year is just a fun experience for the girls, but we also want to continue to get better,” he said. “Like I said, it feels like we’ve been getting better these last two weeks. I think they themselves expect to drop some times in their relays, they expect to keep throwing well and they expect to keep jumping well.”
The Western Christian boys finished in third place when the final team points were announced, scoring 80 points. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central won the district title with 124 points. That said the Wolfpack will send eight events to Des Moines and coach Travis Kooima said he will take those results.
“Last night was a great night to run. We had a lot of success throughout the meet. I thought the guys, mentally, were focused and ready to compete,” he said.
Earning automatic bids included Tyson Kooima with district titles in the 100 and 200 open running events. Kooima was also the anchor of the 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams that placed second and also earned automatic spots at Drake Stadium.
“Tyson has had a very good spring in the sprint events and anchoring our two relays. He has worked very hard in the weight room throughout this entire year and it has paid off. For him to end his career running four events and having a chance at placing in all four events down at state is going to be a fun opportunity for him,” coach Kooima said.
Kooima noted that Ben Granstra and Justin Grevengoed were also key factors in those relays.
“Justin Grevengoed and Ben Granstra have done a great job playing huge roles in our season and in our two sprint relays. Justin has had a great track career at Western (Christian) and has really been a great teammate all four years at Western,” coach Kooima said. “Justin has great experience running at state and it will be fun for him to be able to end his career with two chances to place in the 4×100 and 4×200.”
The final automatic qualifier was Caden Fenchel with a second-place toss in the shot put. Then midday Friday, Fenchel’s third-place throw of 162’11” in the discus placed him in the top-24 in the state, also resulting in a bid to Des Moines.
“We had a tough throwing district. Caden did a great job taking care of business and earning another trip to state in both the shot and the discus,” coach Kooima said. “He knows what it takes to place at state and it will be fun to watch his two events down at Drake.”
Also waiting until Friday afternoon to hear his name called in the top 24 in the state was Ben Gesink. He finished third in the high jump with a leap of 6’.
“Ben making the high jump is awesome for him. He didn’t jump last year due to an ankle injury, but has shown consistency all season and getting a chance to jump at state will be a fun experience and a great way to end his track career,” coach Kooima said.
The final runner who had to wait to see his name Friday afternoon was Zach Elbers in the 3200-meter run. Elbers placed third in the event, but ran the race in 10:16.
“I am pumped Zach Elbers has earned a right to run down at the ‘blue oval.’ He has worked tremendously hard all season long and it is a great way for him to end his junior year and spring-board him into his cross-country season next fall,” coach Kooima said.
The Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley boys found themselves ending the night in fourth place with 75 points, but the Nighthawks and coach Brian Moser were more concerned about getting all their relays through. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley was able to accomplish that goal. Earning district titles were the 4×100-meter relay team, 4×200 team and distance medley with second-place automatic qualification places from the 4×400-meter relay, 4×800 and sprint medley.
“That (the relays) was our focus going in. We took some guys out of some of the open events and just really focused on the relays. The guys bought into it and they were excited to do that,” Moser said. “Coming out of last night we knew we got six in, except for our shuttle hurdle relay, but all of our relays ran their best. We were extremely excited with how the kids ran and how they competed last night. It was a great night for us.”
The other automatic qualifier was Kaden Willemssen. He took second place in the 110-meter hurdles in what was a very close finish.
“Kaden had a great night. He has worked extremely hard to get to where he is at,” Moser said. “He had to battle. There were a lot of kids that finished really close to him. He hit a few hurdles during the course of his race, but he fought through it and finished strong.”
Moser feels his team will do well at state.
“When we looked at our times compared to others, we feel we have a few relays that could finish in the top-10. For others it’s just a matter of going down there and seeing where you can end up,” he said. “For Caden he has a time that could compete for a top-10. So if he can stay clean throughout the race, it’ll be interesting to see where he could endup.”
Class 2A state qualifying in Sioux Center
Girls’ team results:1. Western Christian 106, 2. Sioux Center 92, 3. Alta-Aurelia 78.5, 4. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 73, 5. Unity Christian 72.5, 6. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central 70, 7. Sheldon 61, 8. Sibley-Ocheyedan 50, 9. Okoboji 48.5, 10. Cherokee 45, 11. West Lyon 41.5, 12. Hinton 3
Boys’ team results:1. Kingsley-Pierson/Woobury Central 124, 2. Unity Christian 90, 3. Western Christian 80, 4. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 75, 5. Sibley-Ocheyedan 68, 6. Cherokee 65, 7. Sheldon 61, 8. Alta-Aurelia 43.5, 9. Sioux Center 37, 10. West Lyon 36, 11. Okoboji 34, 12. Hinton 27.5
Girls’ shot put: 2. Cassie Van Beek (BHRV) 37’5” STATE QUALIFIER, 6. Kaitlyn Vander Zwaag (BHRV) 33’3.5”
Girls’ discus:5. Cassie Van Beek (BHRV) 109’4”
Girls’ high jump:1. Cori De Jong (WC) 5’5” STATE QUALIFIER, 2. Cassie Van Beek (BHRV) 5’2” STATE QUALIFIER, 3. Jessi De Jager (WC) 5’1” STATE QUALIFIER
Girls’ long jump:6. Charli Bomgaars (BHRV) 15’5.5”
Girls’ 100-meter dash:2. Taylor Rus (WC) 13.05 seconds STATE QUALIFIER, 5. Lona Hoogeveen (BHRV) 13.13
Girls’ 200-meter dash:1. Erika Feenstra (WC) 26.9 seconds STATE QUALIFIER
Girls’ 400-meter dash:3. Abby Postma (WC) 1:05 4. Mallory Nilles (BHRV) 1:05, 5. Ally Postma (WC) 1:05
Girls’ 1,500-meter run:4. Whitney Minderhoud (WC) 5:20
Girls’ 3,000-meter run:5. Sydney Stiemsma (WC) 12:29, 6. Mary Kate Postma (WC) 12:46
Girls’ 4×100-meter relay:1. Western Christian 51.63 seconds STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Taylor Rus, Olivia Granstra, Emily Van Ginkel, Erika Feenstra, 4. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 52.52 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Britney Rus, Charli Bomgaars, Cassie Van Beek, Lona Hoogeveen
Girls’ 4×200-meter relay:1. Western Christian 1:46 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Taylor Rus, Bailey Nelson, Emily Van Ginkel, Erika Feenstra, 4. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:50 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Lona Hoogeveen, Sydney Damstra, Lizzy Blum, Brittney Rus
Girls’ 4×400-meter relay:1. Western Christian 4:09 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Bailey Nelson, Macay Van’t Hul, Emily Van Ginkel, Erika Feenstra,
Girls’ sprint medley relay:2. Western Christian 1:52 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Taylor Rus, Olivia Granstra, Emily Van Ginkel, Bailey Nelson, 3. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:54 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Lona Hoogeveen, Charli Bomgaars, Britney Rus, Lizzy Blum
Girls’ distance medley relay:5. Western Christian 4:24 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Olivia Granstra, Cori De Jong, Jessi De Jager, Macay Van’t Hul, 6. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 4:25; participants: Kenzie Zomer, Brittney Rus, Lizzy Blum, Sammy Blum
Girls’ shuttle hurdle relay:5. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:14
Boys’ shot put:2. Caden Fenchel (WC) 56’3.5” STATE QUALIFIER
Boys’ discus:3. Caden Fenchel (WC) 162’11” STATE QUALIFIER
Boys’ high jump:3. Ben Gesink (WC) 6’ STATE QUALIFIER, 5. Colin Westra (WC) 5’10”
Boys’ 100-meter dash:1. Tyson Kooima (WC) 11.23 seconds STATE QUALIFIER, 3. Cody Post (BHRV) 11.58
Boys’ 200-meter dash:1. Tyson Kooima (WC) 22.89 seconds
Boys’ 3,200-meter run:3. Zach Elbers (WC) 10:16 STATE QUALIFIER
Boys’ 110-meter hurdles:2. Kaden Willemssen (BHRV) 15.38 seconds
Boys’ 4×100-meter relay:1. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 44.31 seconds STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Jacob Schafer, Cody Post, Shane Solberg, Riley Teunissen, 2. Western Christian 44.59 seconds STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Justin Grevengoed, Ben Granstra, Ben Gesink, Tyson Kooima
Boys’ 4×200-meter relay:1. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:32 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Jacob Schafer, Riley Teunissen, Shane Solberg, Cody Post, 2. Western Christian 1:33 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Justin Grevengoed, Ben Granstra, Ben Gesink, Tyson Kooima
Boys’ 4×400-meter relay:2. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 3:32 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Jacob Schafer, Isaac Munoz, Cade Moser, Billy Rankin
Boys’ 4×800-meter relay:2. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 8:28 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Isaac Munoz, Spencer Te Slaa, Sam Te Slaa, Billy Rankin
Boys’ sprint medley relay:2. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:36 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Shane Solberg, Cade Moser, Cody Post, Billy Rankin, 6. Western Christian 1:42
Boys’ distance medley relay:1. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 3:40 STATE QUALIFIER; participants: Jacob Schafer, Riley Teunissen, Isaac Munoz, Billy Rankin
Boys’ shuttle hurdle relay:6. Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley 1:02