By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
DES MOINES – Thomas Brantley, Devin Norman, Shykeem Williams and Mike Osaro were all smiles after seeing that their time in the finals of the Class 2A shuttle hurdle relay was their best ever.
Then they found out they placed even higher than they thought.
The Camanche combo ran the race in 59.20 seconds, then learned that North Polk, which had apparently broken the Class 2A record that it set in the preliminaries, had been disqualified. That moved Emmetsburg (58.62) into the top spot and Camanche into second place.
“It feels good; I don’t know if anyone expected it,” Norman said.
“People thought we’d get fifth,” Williams said. “(Camanche coach Mark) Metzger didn’t even have us in the finals.”
Just about everything went right for the Indians. Just about.
“We wanted to get 58,” Norman said.
“I hit three hurdles; that’s probably why we didn’t get 58,” Williams said.
“It was a great race, and we got lucky that two teams (Sioux Center was the other) were DQ’ed,” Osaro said. “It was all hard work and rest and taking care of ourselves – that’s how we did it.”
The Indians were solid from the start, getting a great leadoff leg from Brantley.
“My biggest problem this year has been getting a good start,” he said.
“That’s the best I’ve seen him run,” Williams said. “He gave us a big lead.”
After that, the main thing was starting at the right time in the event that has a team’s first and third hurdlers heading in one direction down the track and the second and fourth hurdlers going the other way in an adjacent lane.
Williams said teamwork was the key to not starting a leg too early.
“I trust in my teammates to say go at the right time,” he said.
Junior Derek Harksen added a sixth-place finish for the Indians in the 200-meter dash.
“It was a really good feeling,” he said after finishing in 22.72, just one-tenth of a second away from a fourth-place finish.
Camanche capped the day when Cody Mensinger (who placed 14th in the morning in the 800), Will Seeser, Osaro and Harksen captured fourth place in the 1,600 relay. Their time was 3:24.79.
The 16 points the Indians earned with the three top-eight finishes vaulted them into sixth place in the 2A team standings with 26 points.
Big day on wheels
Camanche’s Drake Sachsensmaier enjoyed a successful day in the wheelchair division, which boasted a record seven contestants. Individual records fell in each of the four events, too.
Sachsenmaier, a junior, placed second to Jon Litzkow of Waterloo West in the 100-meter race. Litzkow’s time was 18.49, with Sachsenmaier close behind in 18.80.
Sachsenmaier also placed third in the shot put (18 feet, 5 inches) and third behind Litzkow and Jordan Houdeshell of Marion Linn-Mar in both the 200 and 400. Dubuque Senior’s Alex Gudenkauf broke his own state record in the shot put (40-5.5), while Litzkow won the 200 (31.01) and the 400 (56.57).
Northeast girls 12th
Northeast scored in three events Saturday and finished in 12th place in the Class 2A girls team standings.
Freshman Aleenah Marcucci was sixth in the 100 hurdles in 16.17, and sophomore Tierra Hildebrandt placed eighth in the 100 dash (13.55).
“I kind of came out hoping to do as well as I did,” said Marcucci, who qualified for the finals Friday during a two-hour span in which she placed fifth in the 400 hurdles ran a leg in the 800 relay.
“That was tough, but I’ve been doing it all season,” she said.
Marcucci and Hildebrandt also joined freshman Rylee Dickey and senior Danae Diedrich in placing sixth in the 400-meter dash in 51.47 seconds.
“I’m really glad we medaled in this,” Diedrich said. “I never medaled in two relays until this year.”
Dickey said Diedrich had a positive influence on the young runners.
“We could look up to her,” Dickey said. “She was a great anchor to our team.”
Even though three members will return next year, Dickey said Diedrich would be difficult to replace.
“I’m not sure if somebody will be as fast,” Dickey said. “I hope someone will come in and take her spot.”
Kaczinski Soenksen score
Eli Kaczinski and Connor Soenksen scored points for Northeast on Saturday and helped the Rebels finish 25th in the Class 2A boys meet with nine points.
Kaczinski set a personal record, running the 1,600 in 4:33.35, and placing sixth.
The crowded field – all 24 runners competed at the same time – forced him to move toward the front early. But, he maintained his position most of the race.
“It’s nuts,” he said of the start. “People are going to go out fast, so I did my best to be up in the lead pack. I didn’t want to get boxed in.”
Soenksen ran into a similar problem, and it appeared he might have to try one of his wrestling moves to create space to run in as he headed down the homestretch of the Class 2A 800-meter run. He finally found an opening he could duck in, then used a strong finish to place sixth in his heat and eighth overall.
“I knew it would be close (to earning points with a top-eight finish), I knew I had to go all out in my last race and I kicked it in real hard,” said Soenksen, who finished in 1:59.32. “My goal was just to break two (minutes), and I did it. I’m happy.”
It wasn’t easy, though, because Soenksen, who has run the 800 only a handful of times, found himself boxed in.
“I never practiced how not to get boxed in,” he said. “After the first lap, I got boxed in pretty bad and worked outside.”
A big finish
Sarah Lampe ended her high school track career on a positive note. The senior at Marquette Catholic finished third in the 200-meter dash in 26.34 seconds.
“My goal was to get fourth or better because that’s what I was seeded,” said Lampe, who will attend St. Ambrose University. “It was my last track race ever, and I wanted to leave it all on the track.”
The successful finish made up for some disappointment earlier. On Thursday, she finished last in her heat in the 400, even though she had Class 2A’s fastest time in the event for much of the season. Then, earlier Saturday, she and Anna Ambrosy. Mariah Steines and Rachel Kilburg just missed scoring in the 800 sprint medley relay. They took ninth in 1:54.10, .19 short of placing in the top eight.
Going the distance
Theresa Koos of Bellevue/Marquette Catholic and Northeast’s Hannah Kilburg each ran the 800 in the morning and the 1,500 in the afternoon.
Koos placed 15th in the 800 (2:27.53) and 14th in th 1,500 (5:11.25), while Kilburg was 19th in both races, with times of 2:29.07 and 5:22.54.
Camanche’s Libby Schnoor took 17th in the 800 (2:28.62), and teammate Bailey Mensinger was 20th (2:29.21).
Bellevue’s Andrew Meyer took 24th in the boys 1,600 in 4:50.06.