The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

May 3, 2013

Youth movement: Girls track and field

By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — DAVENPORT — With eyes on the future, June Wilden and her assistant coaches on the Clinton High girls track team decided to forgo potential points in varsity competition and make the night as successful as could be at the sophomore level at Thursday’s Mississippi Athletic Conference meet.

The desire to create confidence for the young athletes couldn’t have gone much better. While the varsity finished with just 11 points, the sophomores ran away with the team title, scoring 168 points.

“Our decision was we wanted the freshmen and sophomores to try to win the title as a team because it truly is a team sport,” Wilden said.

With only a handful of juniors and seniors on the team, that didn’t leave many events for the varsity. As it turned out, the Queens entered just two of the 18 — the 400-meter dash and the 800.

Junior Erin Wenzel earned fourth places in both races — running the 400 in 1:00.78 and the 800 in 2:27.80.

“It went good tonight,” she said. “I like running the open events.”

Wenzel won her heat of the 400 and said had she been in the fast heat, she might have earned a spot in the top three.

“I didn’t have anyone to push me in the 400,” she said. “It’s you against time, pretty much.”

Senior Shelby Weets, who also won her heat in the 400, scored Clinton’s other varsity point, taking eighth in the 800 (2:41.42).

Had Clinton’s times and distances in the sophomore meet been used — as well as the best times of the season in relays where Clinton uses a combination of younger and older runners — the River Queens could well have scored another 30-40 points. That might have pushed them up all the way to seventh in the team standings.

But, Wenzel stood by her coaches’ decision to sacrifice varsity points to make the younger athletes better.

“It’s good experience for them to run against kids their age,” she said. “It’s going to boost their confidence for the varsity level.”

The younger athletes certainly had their share of success.

The throws went particularly well.

Erika Hammond won the shot put at 34-6, while Alayna Geronzin was third at 31-5, then Geronzin (98-7) led a 1-2 finish in the discus, while Hammond threw 90-10.

“We think it helps them confidence-wise to go 1-2,” throws coach Tony Steen said, although three of the four marks would have placed at the varsity level.

There was one negative, though. Geronzin suffered a left wrist injury (her non-throwing hand). She left the meet early to have the wrist checked by a doctor, passing on her final throws.

“It was a freak accident,” Steen said. “She slipped on the grass.”

Kim Kaster won the 3,000 in a season’s-best 11:23.20 and the 1,500 in 5:29.60 (part of a 1-2 finish with Alexis Namer). Elle Tubbs also won twice individually, taking the high jump at 4 feet, 8 inches and the 400 in 1:05.86.

The freshmen and sophomores also won the three relays: the 3,200 in 11:28.75, the 800 in 2:00.14 and the 1,600 in 4:40.40. They also got a second from McKenzie Peterson in the 800, a second in the sprint medley, a third from Hannah Burken in the 200 and a third in the 400 relay.

Wilden said those successes should benefit the Queens more than the varsity points they might have had.

“These kids are finding out hard work is paying off,” Wilden said. “If it weren’t for the juniors and seniors, the freshmen and sophomores wouldn’t be where they are today.”

The hope is that Thursday’s performance makes for even better tomorrows.

MISSISSIPPI ATHLETIC CONFERENCE MEET

Team standings

1. Pleasant Valley 174; 2. Davenport Assumption 105; 3. Bettendorf 96; 4. Davenport Central 82; 5. Davenport West 74; 6. North Scott 65; 7. Davenport North 45; 8. Muscatine 44; 9. Burlington 29; 10. Clinton 11.

Individual results

(Top 3, Clinton results)

3,000 meters — 1. McKenzie Yanek (PV) 9:50.87; 2. Anna Peer (Bet) 10:25.74; 3. Elizabeth Mallon (DA) 11:22.13.

3,200 relay — Assumption 10:00.32; 2. Pleasant Valley 10:06.38; 3. Muscatine 10:26.12.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Pleasant Valley 1:09.35; 2. Burlington 1:11.09; 3. Central 1:13.88.

100 — 1. Emma Bassier (DA) 12.11; 2. Katie Shoultz (Mus) 12.28; 3. Dajae Hanson (NS) 12.30.

Distance medley — 1. Bettendorf 4:14.07; 2. Pleasant Valley 4:23.16; 3. North Scott 4:37.75.

400 — 1. Alisha Jones (DN) 58.15; 2. Mahnee Watts (Bet) 59.30; 3. Maddie Irmen (DA) 1:00.59; 4. Erin Wenzel (Clin) 1:00.78; 10. Shelby Weets (Clin) 1:06.74.

800 relay — 1. Assumption 1:51.19; 2. Bettendorf 1:52.36; 3. Pleasant Valley 1:52.94.

100 hurdles — 1. Anne Leners (PV) 14.94; 2. Tadaisha Thornton (DC) 15.60; 3. Michaela Duvall (DC) 15.78.

800 — 1. Kaley Ciluffo (PV) 2:16.65; 2. Watts (Bet) 2:23.88; 3. Megan Nickles (Bet) 2:23.92; 4. Wenzel (Clin) 2:27.80; 8. Weets (Clin) 2:41.42.

200 — 1. Bassier (DA) 25.69; 2. Kathryn Leidahl (PV) 25.91; 3. Rose Ripslinger (DA) 26.13.

400 hurdles — 1. Leners (PV) 1:07.11; 2. Bella Solis (DC) 1:08.65; 3. Laura Kulp (PV) 1:10.90.

Sprint medley — 1. North 1:51.58; 2. Bettendorf 1:54.72; 3. Pleasant Valley 1:57.53.

1,500 — 1. Yanek (PV) 4:50.87; 2. Peer (Bet) 4:56.51; 3. Maddie Reynolds (PV) 5:00.87.

400 relay — 1. Assumption 51.63; 2. West 52.42; 3. North Scott 52.97.

1,600 relay — 1. Pleasant Valley 4:09.60; 2. Assumption 4:12.06; 3. North 4:21.72.

Shot put — 1. Anna Hedges (DW) 36-6.5; 2. Tanasha Atwater (DC) 36-5.25; 3. Brianna Nash (DC) 36-2.25.

Discus — 1. Chloe Miller (PV) 119-4; 2. Katelynn Rheingans (NS) 117-7; 3. Nash (DC) 114-8.

Long jump — 1. Dajanique Jackson (DW) 17-6.75; 2. Kelsi Conner (Bur) 17-1; 3. Larkin Chapman (Mus) 16-2.

High jump — 1. Kelli DeGeorge (PV) 5-0; 2. Leners (PV) 4-10; 3. Danielle Cabel (DA) 4-8.