Relay win vaults Central DeWitt to top in 3A

By Ted Schultz

For the Herald

DES MOINES — Entering its final event of the Iowa State Track and Field Championships, the Central DeWitt boys squad knew what it needed to do to win the Class 3A team title.

And the Sabers delivered in convincing fashion on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Drake Stadium.

Trailing Algona by seven points entering the 400-meter relay, the Sabers needed to finish first or second in the event to secure the crown.

The Sabers did that and then some, as the quartet of Alex Dalldorf, Joe Feldpausch, Ryan Daniels and Ben Comer sprinted to victory in 43.65 seconds. The victory gave the Sabers 54 points and a three-point margin over the Bulldogs.

“I was so excited while watching the race,” said Comer, the anchor runner. “Dalldorf got us a huge lead, and we got the handoff before everybody else on the third leg. When I got the baton I didn't see anyone around, so I thought we'd have it.”

Asked about nerves entering the event, Comer said: “It was extremely nerve-wracking, but we haven't dropped a baton all year. As long as we made it across the finish line I thought we'd have it.”

Central coach Jared Birt, even though knowing the stakes of the event, didn't stress that fact to the quartet — each member of which will return next year.

“We didn't talk to them because I didn't want to put any added pressure on them, but with cell phones nowadays I'm sure they got the message,” he chuckled. “What a way to finish things off.”

Birt said his team's depth was displayed at the meet.

“That showed up when things didn't go right,” he said. “In those situations, it put pressure on the other guys to pick it up and get the job done. That's what happened down here.”

Birt said the 2009 team had been a work in progress from the start.

“We knew we had a good group of guys, but getting them to buy into it is a different story,” he explained. “I'm sure there were some question marks, but once they saw success and the depth of the team they just got better and better.”

Central hurdler Weston Ketelsen certainly played a part in that success, as he finished second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.83 seconds. Jordan Mullen of Atlantic repeated as champ in a record-time of 14.09.

“He's a great guy to chase because he pulls you along,” Ketelsen said of Mullen. “It's great to get second to a guy like that.”

Ketelsen said his race went relatively smoothly.

“I clipped a few hurdles, but other than that I felt pretty good,” he said. “I'm not surprised to get second, just excited. I now know what I can do with my abilities.”

Central DeWitt also had placewinners in Frank Futselaar, who was sixth in the 1,600 in 4:27.87, and the shuttle hurdle relay team of Brennan Ketelsen, Casey Kreiter, Michael Burke and Weston Ketelsen. They placed eighth in 1:01.31.

This Week's Circulars