Bomber boys qualify in two relays

NEVADA – If Ballard’s Abby Kohut-Jackson had any nerves going into her first Class 3A coed state qualifying meet May 9 in Nevada, she certainly didn’t show them on the track.

Kohut-Jackson took her performance level up a notch at exactly the right time on a cool and cloudy day in Nevada as she qualified for state in three events.

Kohut-Jackson won both the 800 and 1,500-meter races and she anchored Ballard to a close second-place finish in the distance medley relay. The top two performances in each event automatically qualified for state.

"It’s been pretty crazy," Kohut-Jackson said of her big evening. "It’s good to have my team with me in one of them, and to have a shot by myself in the 800 and 1,500."

The distance medley was the first Bomber event to qualify for state. State veteran Ellie Godwin ran the first 200 meters, Sydney Fisher ran the next 200 and Val Charter took the 400 leg before handing the baton off to Kohut-Jackson.

Kohut-Jackson turned in a great 800 leg, taking Ballard from third to second as Ballard won the silver medal in four minutes, 26.89 seconds. That time was just one one-hundredth of a second behind Saydel’s victorious 4:26.88 showing and easily beat Gilbert’s 4:32.34 for the second automatic qualifying time.

"It was stressful getting the baton in third and knowing only first and second are going to (automatically) qualify," Kohut-Jackson said. "I just gave it everything I had and tried to push my other (upcoming) races out of my mind and get this one for us."

Ballard will have a unique combination of one freshman, sophomore, junior and senior apiece in the distance medley at state. Charter is a sophomore, Godwin a junior and Fisher a senior.

Next up for Kohut-Jackson was the 800. Her winning time was 2:29.43.

After coming up just short in her bid to catch Saydel anchor Liz Miklus in the distance medley, Kohut-Jackson managed to edge Miklus for the gold in the 800 after Miklus finished in 2:30.38.

"I actually never ran the open 800 until this year," Kohut-Jackson said. "It’s pretty cool to be qualifying in that."

In the 1,500 Kohut-Jackson knew she had a shot at winning.

Gilbert’s Annie Pollard and Karli Rastetter ran right with Kohut-Jackson for most of the race, with Pollard passing her just before the start of the fourth and final lap. But Kohut-Jackson kicked into another gear over the final 400 meters as her time of 5:14.11 beat Pollard by over three seconds for first.

"I knew just first and second (automatically) qualified, so I was in a good spot the whole time," Kohut-Jackson said. "I just finished up with all I had left. I knew I had a pretty good shot and it was fun to run that one."

Rachel Watters was another freshman star for the Ballard girls at Nevada. Watters provided the biggest surprise for Ballard by qualifying for state in the 400 hurdles.

Watters wasn’t one of the top three seeds going into the event, but she ran a season-best time of 1:10.20 to easily beat the 1:12.12 by Greene County’s Eme Johnson for second. Gilbert’s Madison Spear won in 1:09.91.

"I was sitting at fourth, so I was just going to try my hardest to at least improve my time, but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it," Watters said. "It just felt great. I’ve worked hard all year long and this really makes it worth it."

As a team the Ballard girls placed sixth out of eight schools with 61 points. Gilbert won with a score of 150.5, Boone was second with 129 points and Greene County came in third with 120 points.

The Ballard boys qualified for state in two relays. The Bombers took first in both the shuttle hurdle and distance medley events.

In the shuttle hurdle Ballard’s team of Michael Wulfekuhle, Mason Edwards, Jacob Bernholtz and Caleb Schafbuch ran a season-best time of 1:01.30.

"We’ve been doing this since we’ve been in seventh grade and it’s the same crew," Bernholtz said. "To finally make it to state our senior year is insane."

Ballard’s time easily topped Greene County’s runner-up time of 1:03.02 for the win.

"I would attribute this trip to state to the whole team," Schafbuch said. We ran a half a second faster than we did at conference. My teammates put me in the lead and I just had to run my best, and that’s exactly what I did. Everyone stepped up, but I’m sure we can still improve off of what we just did today."

The distance medley saw senior Michael Wuestenberg turn in an amazing anchor leg to give Ballard the victory.

Wuestenberg took the baton in second with Greene County not far behind. Wuestenberg did not want this to be the last race of his career, so he gave it all he had and ended up passing Webster City’s Nick Thilges down the final 150 meters to give Ballard the win in 3:44.47.

"I focused on giving it everything I had and leaving it all out there on the track," Wuestenberg said. "I didn’t want to let these guys down. It felt so good."

Zach Thompson, Isaiah Johnson and Wulfekuhle ran the first three legs for Ballard.

Schafbuch finished one spot shy of qualifying for state in both the long jump and 110 high hurdles.

Schafbuch placed third in both events after jumping 18 feet, 9.25 inches in the long jump and running a :15.87 in the 110 highs.

Schafbuch was ‘oh so close’ to making state in the 110 highs. The final non-automatic time to qualify was a :15.77 by Carroll’s Peyton Renning and Schafbuch was even closer to the second-place time at Nevada – a :15.79 run by Webster City’s Lucas Poland.

Boone won the boys’ team championship with 134 points and Iowa Falls-Alden took second with a score of 100. Ballard placed seventh out of eight teams with 66 points.

The state coed track meet will be held today through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The Class 3A competition will go from 2 p.m. to 7:40 p.m. today and Friday, and all classes will compete from 9 a.m. through 4:05 p.m. Saturday.

Final team scores

Girls: 1. Gilbert 150.5 points, 2. Boone 129, 3. Greene County 120, 4. Webster City 96.5, 5. Iowa Falls-Alden 72, 6. Ballard 61, 7. Saydel 56, 8. Nevada 47.

Boys: 1. Boone 134, 2. Iowa Falls-Alden 100, 3. Webster City 95, 4. Gilbert 94, 5. Greene County 80, 6. Nevada 73, 7. Ballard 66, 8. Saydel 55.

Individual results – Ballard

Girls

Shot put – 7. Gabie Doud, 29-7.5; 12. Laura Cisna, 27-0

Discus – 10. Olivia Hall, 82-8

Long jump – 10. Val Charter, 13-11; 12. Hannah Longnecker, 12-1.25

3,000-meter run – 8. Alyssa Black Bear, 13:32.63; 9. Sara Wilken, 14:01.20

4 X 800-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Sydney Smith, Doud, Alexis Scharfenkamp, Ashley Meldrum), 11:25.52

Shuttle hurdle relay – 6. Ballard (Hannah Jensen, Rachel Watters, Anna Gifford-Holly, Rachel Bruns), 1:17.86

100-meter dash – 13. Madison McInroy, :14.40; 15. Shelby Pritchard, :15.18

Distance medley relay – 2. Ballard (Ellie Godwin, Sydney Fisher, Charter, Abby Kohut-Jackson), 4:26.89

400-meter dash – 5. Watters, 1:09.52; 6. Kennedy Newell, 1:10.37

4 X 200-meter relay – 4. Ballard (Smith, Kohut-Jackson, Godwin, Fisher), 1:54.59

100-meter hurdles – 10. Jensen, :17.97

800-meter run – 1. Kohut-Jackson, 2:29.43; 9. Scharfenkamp, 2:49.45

200-meter dash – 12. McInroy, :29.96; 14. Rachel Soder, :32.62

400-meter hurdles - 2. Rachel Watters, 1:10.20

1,500-meter run – 1. Kohut-Jackson, 5:14.11

4 X 100-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Smith, McInroy, Ellen Carson, Ellie Begg), :56.61

4 X 400-meter relay – 6. Ballard (Charter, Fisher, Newell, Godwin), 4:37.51.

Boys

Shot put – 11. Easton Moody, 35-9.5; 12. Matt Longley, 35-9

Discus – 12. Conner Pietsch, 104-4; 13. Cole Wilson, 99-3

Long jump – 3. Caleb Schafbuch, 18-9.25; 10. Marcus Chieves, 14-10.75

4 X 800-meter relay – 5. Ballard (Noah Wheeler, Kobe Schulze, Derek Wright, Michael Wuestenberg), 8:53.91

3,200-meter run – 5. Luke Kohut-Jackson, 10:40.50; 13. Craig Jordan, 11:53.43

Shuttle hurdle relay – 1. Ballard (Michael Wulfekuhle, Mason Edwards, Jacob Bernholtz, Schafbuch), 1:01.30

100-meter dash – 8. Tyson Pritchard, :11.70; 9. Kirklyn Kohrt, :11.90

400-meter dash – 6. Zach Palmer, :56.72; 8. Chris Sorenson, :58.44

4 X 200-meter relay – 4. Ballard (Zach Thompson, Isaiah Johnson, Wulfekuhle, Pritchard), 1:35.73

110-meter high hurdles – 3. Schafbuch (:15.87; 10. Zach Upah, :17.48

1,600-meter run – 5. Wheeler, 4:53.75; 6. Kohut-Jackson, 4:59.53

200-meter dash – 11. Jacob Forre, :24.65; 16. Quinton Erickson, :25.60

400-meter low hurdles – 6. Schulze, 1:04.45; 10. Edwards, 1:05.95

Distance medley relay – 1. Ballard (Thompson, Johnson, Wulfekuhle, Wuestenberg), 3:44.47

800-meter run – 11. Wright, 2:16.23

4 X 100-meter relay – 5. Ballard (Thompson, Wulfekuhle, Pritchard, Kohrt), :46.47

4 X 400-meter relay – 7. Ballard (Sorenson, Forre, Palmer, Johnson), 3:56.79.