NEVADA – Despite dreary weather at the Class 3A coed state qualifying meet May 15 at Cub Stadium, the Ballard boys’ track team made the most of its opportunities and the Bomber girls also had a couple of bright spots.
The Ballard boys qualified for state in an impressive seven events, despite lacking the depth of powerhouse Algona, Boone, Clear Lake and Gilbert teams at the meet. Last season the Bomber boys made it to state in two events.
"The guys really performed well in bad conditions," Ballard head boys’ track coach Al Christian said. "We seemed to peak at the right time this year."
Tyson Pritchard will be part of four events competing at state for Ballard. He started strong in the 100-meter dash and never let up.
"This feels great," Pritchard said. "I’ve been working toward making state for four years. I finally got it."
In the 100 Pritchard took second behind Nevada’s Chase Dobson with an impressive time of 11.20 seconds. Pritchard’s time is ranked sixth among 3A qualifiers in the event.
Pritchard ran a time of :23.04 in the 200 to place third behind Dobson (:22.69) and Clear Lake’s Jake Harle (23 seconds flat). The third-place finish didn’t automatically qualify Pritchard for state, but he made it easily on time – ranking ninth among 3A qualifiers.
Pritchard also helped Ballard automatically qualify in the 4 X 400 relay and make it to state based on time in the distance medley.
In the 4 X 400, Kaleb Odden ran the first leg, Pritchard followed, Kobe Schulze took the third leg and Isaiah Johnson anchored as Ballard finished in 3:32.81. The Bombers’ time beat Gilbert’s third-place time by just over one second and trailed only Algona’s 3:30.59.
Odden, Pritchard, Johnson and Max Stoltz ran the medley in 3:44.72. The Bomber team trailed Algona’s 3:39.84 and Gilbert’s 3:41.69 and Clear Lake took fourth in 3:45.66.
The time was plenty fast enough to get Ballard to state as the Bombers placed 14th among qualifying times.
Johnson, Luke Kohut-Jackson and Mason Edwards also qualified for state in an individual event for Ballard.
Johnson will be going to Des Moines in the open 400. Johnson clocked in at :52.07 to place third and the time proved plenty fast enough to get him to state as he is ranked 14th among qualifiers.
Kohut-Jackson also made it based on time in the 3,200.
Competing against three of the top four qualifiers in the event – Boone’s Albert Meier and Chandler Austin and Gilbert’s Thomas Pollard – Kohut-Jackson took fourth at the qualifying meet with a time of 10:12.48. That time puts Kohut-Jackson 15th among 3A qualifiers in the event.
Edwards qualified automatically in the 110 high hurdles. After placing fourth in the high jump and being part of the Bombers’ fifth-place shuttle hurdle team, Edwards came up big in his final event.
Edwards crossed the finish line in :15.51 to just edge Gilbert’s Wyatt Rhoads (:15.57) for the final automatic qualifying spot behind the winning time of :15.04 by Clear Lake’s Connor Nosbisch.
"Our shuttle hurdle team didn’t do as well as we thought we were going to do, so I knew I had to power through in the high hurdles and get myself qualified, because it was my last event," Edwards said. "I had to go and really run."
Edwards competed at state last year as part of Ballard’s shuttle hurdle team.
"I really don’t remember last year because I had so much adrenaline," Edwards said. "I’m excited to get back down to the blue oval again."
Ballard placed fifth in the shuttle hurdle with a time of 1:03.36. Patrick Gray, Sam Upah and Zach Upah ran the other three legs for the Bombers.
Ballard finished sixth out of eight schools in the team standings with 71 points. Algona easily won with 145 points and Boone, Clear Lake and Gilbert were neck-and-neck in second through fourth with respective scores of 101, 100 and 99.
The Ballard girls made it to state in three individual events. The Bomber girls ended up with 54 points to beat Nevada by one point for sixth place in the team standings.
Abby Kohut-Jackson will be participating at state in two events. She qualified automatically in the 800 and on time in the 1,500.
In the 800 Kohut-Jackson stayed in front most of the race. Humboldt’s Maddie Kampen came up on her in the final 200 meters, but Kohut-Jackson had enough of a kick at the finish to move back in front, winning in 2:25.71 to Kampen’s 2:26.20.
"I know I had another gear to go if I had to," Kohut-Jackson said of her winning race. "I know the top two go, but if I’m in first that’s just a little better."
Kohut-Jackson’s goal going in was to run fast enough to make it into the fast heat of the 800 at state. She did just that by running the fifth-fastest qualifying time.
In the 1,500 Kohut-Jackson ran a 4:59.61 to place third behind the 4:56.48 by Gilbert’s Grace Gibbons and 4:58.92 by Algona’s Tangy Wiseman.
Despite having to wait a day to officially get the word she qualified, Kohut-Jackson didn’t have to worry much. Gibbons, Wiseman and Kohut-Jackson ran the three fastest 1,500 qualifying times in 3A.
"Her seedings at the state meet show the quality runs she had at the qualifying meet, in spite of the weather," Ballard head girls’ track coach Scott Barth said. "The upside is we know she has already run faster than her regional times. She is looking to place highly in both and get some points on the board for Ballard."
Kohut-Jackson ran both the 800 and 1,500 at state last year as a freshman. She placed sixth in the 1,500.
Rachel Watters will be returning to state in the 400 hurdles for Ballard.
Heading into the final 100 meters of the race, Watters found herself in second place. But she had a great finish to pull ahead of Humboldt’s Brittney Nilles and win the event.
"It was crazy," Watters said. "On that curve I was thinking OK, I need second to go to state. Then I said, I’ve still got a little bit so I’m going to go for it."
Watters winning time was 1:11.09 and Nilles clocked in at 1:11.49.
"Rachel ran a solid race with her typical all-out guts at the end to take first," Barth said. "To place at state she will need to break the 1:10 barrier, but the upside is that she can do that with a solid week to work on form over the hurdle and speed in between hurdles."
Last season Watters placed 19th as a freshman.
"It was a great experience last year," Watters said. "This time I can relax and have a nice, good race."
The Ballard girls just missed going to state in the 4 X 400 and they also placed in the top five in the distance medley, shuttle hurdle and 4 X 200 at the qualifying meet.
In the 4 X 400 Val Charter, Ellie Godwin and Watters ran three strong legs and then Alexis Scharfenkamp gave a gutsy performance on the anchor leg. But Ballard’s time of 4:21.73 fell just shy of qualifying, as Boone’s runner-up time of 4:20.94 was the slowest qualifying time in 3A.
"Our 4 X 400 ran exceedingly well and missed qualifying by less than a second," Barth said. "Those girls ran their hearts out and almost pulled off the upset as we cut 10 seconds off our previous best time. Godwin and Scharfenkamp should be commended for running with such heart."
Sydney Smith and Jenna Moody joined Charter and Kohut-Jackson in running a fourth-place time of 4:38.66 in the distance medley. The Bomber shuttle hurdle team of Gabby Scherle, Watters, Rachel Bruns and Hannah Jensen ran a 1:14.73 to place fifth, and Ballard also took fifth in the 4 X 200 as Godwin, Smith, Erin Snell and Moody teamed up to run a 1:56.10.
Boone won the girls’ team championship at Nevada with 172 points. Algona took second with 120 points and Gilbert was right behind in third with a score of 119.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Boone 172 points, 2. Algona 120, 3. Gilbert 119, 4. Webster City 100, 5. Humboldt 95, 6. Ballard 54, 7. Nevada 53, 8. Clear Lake 19.
Boys: 1. Algona 145, 2. Boone 101, 3. Clear Lake 100, 4. Gilbert 99, 5. Webster City 76, 6. Ballard 71, 7. Nevada 58, 8. Humboldt 40.
Individual results – Ballard
Shot put – 8. Rachel Watters, 31-3.25; 14. Brandi Myers, 20-3
Discus – 13. Myers, 48-3
Long jump – 7. Erin Snell, 13-10.25
3,000-meter run – 10. Alexis Glenn, 15:31.57; 12. Maria Whitney, 17:28.74
Shuttle hurdle relay – 5. Ballard (Gabby Scherle, Watters, Rachel Bruns, Hannah Jensen), 1:14.73
100-meter dash – 9. Madison McInroy, :14.11; 12. Kennedy Newell, :14.35
Distance medley relay – 4. Ballard (Sydney Smith, Jenna Moody, Val Charter, Abby Kohut-Jackson), 4:38.66
400-meter dash – 13. Haley Johnson, 1:13.89
4 X 200-meter relay – 5. Ballard (Ellie Godwin, Snell, Smith, Moody), 1:56.10
100-meter hurdles – 8. Scherle, :17.60; 9. Jensen, :17.77
800-meter run – 1. Kohut-Jackson, 2:25.71
200-meter dash – 11. Johnson, :31.70; 13. Rachael Soder, :32.54
400-meter hurdles – 1. Watters, 1:11.09
Sprint medley relay – 7. Ballard (Newell, Moody, McInroy, Reagan Doty), 2:07.41
1,500-meter run – 3. Kohut-Jackson, 4:59.61; 8. Ashley Meldrum, 5:45.12
4 X 100-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Scherle, Snell, Smith, Moody), :55.38
4 X 400-meter relay – 3. Ballard (Charter, Godwin, Watters, Alexis Scharfenkamp), 4:21.73
Shot put – 12. Easton Moody, 35-7.25
Discus – 6. Kenny Randolph, 116-0; 11. Conner Pietsch, 107-0
Long jump – 7. Noah Rosing, 17-10.25
High jump – 3. Mason Edwards, 5-4
3,200-meter run – 4. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 10:12.48; 12. Evan Williams, 12:23.32
Shuttle hurdle relay – 5. Ballard (Patrick Gray, Sam Upah, Zach Upah, Edwards), 1:03.36
100-meter dash – 2. Tyson Pritchard, :11.20
400-meter dash – 3. Isaiah Johnson, :52.07
4 X 200-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Kaleb Odden, David Konfrst, Kenton Brekke, Rosing), 1:38.96
110-meter high hurdles – 2. Edwards, :15.51; 10. Z. Upah, :17.32
1,600-meter run – 7. Kohut-Jackson, 4:50.96; 15. Caleb Wuestenberg, 5:59.94
200-meter dash – 3. Pritchard, :23.04; 13. Kobe Schulze, :25.66
400-meter low hurdles – 9. Z. Upah, 1:04.00; 13. S. Upah, 1:13.20
Distance medley relay – 3. Ballard (Odden, Pritchard, Johnson, Stoltz), 3:44.72
800-meter run – 6. Kohut-Jackson, 2:14.69; 13. Bryce Snell, 2:31.11
4 X 100-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Brekke, Rosing, Konfrst, Cade Wilson), :47.53
4 X 400-meter relay – 2. Ballard (Odden, Pritchard, Schulze, Johnson), 3:32.81