Team to compete in seven events at state track meet
After Friday night's 3A District meet here at Dean Nicholson Field, Storm Lake High track and field coach John Brostad was sure of only one thing - his 4x100 team had qualified for state by taking first place.
This season in Iowa girls prep track and field, the top two finishers in each district qualify automatically while the next best eight times at district meets across the state qualify in relay and individual events.
Sitting squarely on the bubble for the Tornado girls were the shuttle hurdle relay team and a number of individuals who had finished third, fourth or fifth.
For Brostad and his team, that meant waiting overnight for the state to determine who made state and who didn't.
"We only had one event in for sure, but we knew what the qualifying cutoffs had been over the past ten years and also that we were in one of the toughest districts in the state," Brostad said.
As the coach may have suspected because of the overall strength of the district, Saturday brought nothing but good news. He found out all his predicted fence-sitters made the state meet.
As a result, he said, the Tornado girls qualified ten different girls in seven events.
"And we double-qualified in the 100 and 200 so we're actually competing in nine individual events at state," he said.
"Who would have believed this young and inexperienced group would come together and pull of something like this," Brostad said. "Well, they believed they could."
Qualifying for the state meet automatically by virtue of their first place finish was the 4x100 relay team of Trish Halder, Kata Harvey, Steph Rude and senior Molly Daniels (a season's best time of 51.50 seconds). They'll be seeded 13th at state.
Saturday, the shuttle hurdle relay team made the cutoff. The team of Heidi Hammen, Katelyn Croker, senior Kiley Stavnes and freshman Heather Kessler finished fifth at districts in 1 minute, 7.88 seconds.
"We knew we had a good time going into Saturday in that event," Brostad said. "We bettered our best time by two seconds."
Individually, Daniels will be competing in her third consecutive state meet. Along with qualifying as part of the 4x100 team, she found out Saturday she qualified in both the 100 and 200 dashes. She was fourth at districts in the 100 in 12.84 seconds and third in the 200 meters in 26.27 seconds.
Freshman Angie Schmidt was sixth in the 100 in 12.88 seconds but also made the cutoff Saturday.
Meanwhile, Saturday also brought good news for freshman Kata Harvey. She made the cutoff in both the 200 and 400 dashes after finishing fourth in the 200 (27.15 seconds) and fourth in the 400 (61.62 seconds)
"Kata finished fourth in the 400 and will be seeded eighth at state," Brostad said. "That's how strong our district was."
Two other individuals got good news Saturday, as freshman Heather Kessler qualified in the 100 meter hurdles with her third place finish at districts with a career best time of 15.18 seconds. She'll be the sixth seed at state.
Freshman Veronica Kurtz made the cutoff in the high jump. Friday night, she took third in that event with a leap of five feet even.
This year's state meet will be held at Drake University in Des Moines Friday and Saturday.