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Season - opening meet

April 10, 2016
STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

CONRAD - In one, four-hour period, the epitome of an entire track season was put on display at the Early Bird track and field meet in Conrad - hosted by BCLUW - on Tuesday.

Care free attitudes, laughter, lose warmups and sunshine helped showcase one of the first outdoor track and field meets of the 2016 season. But by the final 4x400-meter race was ran, blankets, hot chocolate, ear muffs and mittens were donned by fans and runners alike.

In the end, the Dike-New Hartford girls' team came away with the win, a 124-point affair. Madrid was second with 98.5 points and West Marshall third with 92 points.

Wind gusts around 25-30 miles per hour whipped through the turns at the BCLUW track, hitting runners "like a brick wall."

All the runners, throwers and jumpers had to compete in the same conditions - for the most part - throughout the day, so no team or event really had an upper hand. For East Marshall senior Haley Fye, the wind might have been a little tough on her races, but that didn't show in her results.

The leading Mustang brought in 30 of her team's 80 points with three first-place finishes in the 3,000-meter run, the 800 and the 1,500.

"The wind today was crazy," Fye said. "I'm usually out and away in the first couple laps. [Alayna Kollasch of Dike-New Hartford] PR'd by a minute. That was my third all-time best. I felt dead after that 800 though."

In the first event of the afternoon, Kollasch remained on Fye's heels for most of the 7 1/2 laps. But with about 600 meters to go, Fye pulled away for an 11:09.10 time and first-place finish.

Fye said this time of year always gets her amped to start competing outdoors. While indoors have their perks, there's never really any accurate way to judge just how good a runner can be when the crisp spring air escapes from their lungs for the first time.

"We had three indoors, and that gets me excited," Fye said. "And this one is always fun, because it's the first outdoor and you never know what's going to happen."

Fye placed first in the 800 with a time of 2:30.13 and first in the 1,500 at 5:18.90. Juliana Arifi tied for third in the high jump finals at 4-06.00 meters and the Mustangs placed fifth overall with 80 points.

West Marshall had some early-season success with its indoor meets, including last week's championship at the NICL indoor meet at Wartburg. The Trojans claimed first place behind a powerful relay lineup.

The Trojans' 4x800-meter relay team took first with a time of 10:34.74. Just a bit slower Tuesday with a time of 10:38.87, they were still able to grab 10 points in that race.

West Marshall also snagged first place in the 1,600-distance medley relay, cutting their time from 4:41.27 to 4:35.38.

In her first season of head coaching, Cynthia Hilleman said she was really happy with not only how the Trojans finished, but for the fact each runner and fielder got a chance to participate.

"I'm very pleased with everybody's performance," Hilleman said. "We got everybody to run, so we got to see how everybody can do in different kinds of things. Now we can fill in some holes and fill in some gaps we had, because with indoors, you're pretty limited to who you can take and who you can run. This is going to make us able to expand."

With concrete sprinters such as Madie Steeter, Nicole Riemenschneider and Emma Meyer, the Trojans will seek to expand their already somewhat tout distance brigade.

Leading the way in that category will be Kayla Cripps and Shannon Breja, who both ran and placed second and sixth in the 800-meter run, respectively. Cripps also placed eighth in the 1,500.

The home team gained a lot of experienced, said Comet head coach Theresa Penick. Jorie Oaks claimed third place in the discus throw after hurling 96-11 in the finals. Jenna Willett brought home a gold medal and 10 points for the Comets with a first-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles.

Moving forward, with a lot of season left, Penick said the first meet of the season really gave her an idea of what her team has accomplished in the off season and during the indoor season. But also what is left to be worked on.

"It is early, so I'm looking for a lot of improvement from a lot of people," Penick said. "I'm really looking at our 400 and our 800 people just really improving. Also with our hurdling; we've got some great potential in those areas."

The Comets placed fifth with 59 points Tuesday.

Other area schools competing at the Early Bird meet were Grundy Center/Gladbrook-Reinbeck. The Spartans claimed sixth place with 49 points. The Spartans had a strong showing from Lily Ehlers, who took sixth in the 1,500 and fourth in the 3,000.

Green Mountain/Garwin took seventh with 33 points. Kyla Wilkening took fourth in the girls' 800-meter run and third place in the 1,500-meter run. South Hardin was eighth with 22.5 points and had Lydia Rose in fifth place in the 1,500 and a fifth-place 4x100-meter relay team. Amber Heubner was fourth in the discus throw with 95-08 meters.



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