GILBERT - The Ballard girls are headed to state in four events following a strong showing at the Class 3A state qualifying coed track meet in Gilbert Friday.


Ellie Twedt qualified automatically for state in an event for the first time after placing second in the 3,000-meter run at Gilbert. Caitlin Maher (1,500) and Rachel Newell (100) made it to state based on their times at the qualifying meet, as did the Bomber distance medley relay team.


“It was a beautiful night to run and the girls came ready,” Ballard head girls’ track coach Scott Barth said. “We recorded two personal records, and six other events had season-best times on the night overall. “


Twedt ran a time of 11 minutes, 5.46 seconds. It was the best 3,000 time of her career.


“I woke up this morning and (said) this is my day and it’s going to be a good one,” Twedt said. I’ve never qualified on placing before, so it’s really exciting. It’s also a PR, which is equally exciting.”


Twedt kept pace with Pella’s Caroline McMartin for most of the race before falling off a little down the final 400. McMartin’s winning time was 10:58.27.


“I knew she was going to be pushing it,” Twedt said. “I tried to stick with her as long as I could. I’m really proud of how I did that. She’s a really great runner and I wanted to be able to run against her.”


Maher placed third in the 1,500 after crossing the finish line in 5:06.78. She finished just behind Newton’s Rachel Rhoads (5:03.98) and Nevada’s Kacie Rewerts (5:04.22).


“Caitlin Maher followed Ellie’s performance with a personal-record performance of her own,” Barth said. “Caitlin went out and pushed the pace early and helped create a three-pack of runners searching for the title. She finished strong and she will be shooting for a sub five-minute run at the state meet.”


Newell clocked in at :13.26 in the 100. She finished fourth behind Pella’s Emily McMartin (:12.93) and Evie Armstrong (:13.11), and Gilbert’s Ally Kline (:13.13).


“She started running the open event three weeks ago and that switch helped her get that spot,” Barth said. “She is quick out of the blocks and will aim to secure a sub 13-second time at state.”


Newell and Maher will also run in the distance medley for Ballard at state.


Maher’s twin sister Natalie and Carley Wilson ran the other two legs of the distance medley for Ballard at Gilbert. The Bombers placed fourth, but made state based on a strong time of 4:25.26 — beating their previous best mark of the season by over four seconds.


Pella won the distance medley at the qualifying meet in 4:14.37. Newton took second in 4:19.75 and Nevada third in 4:24.54.


Ballard’s 4 X 800 team of Josie Fleischmann, Brooke Loewe, Mya Ehresman and Kate Huisinga just missed making state with a third-place time of 10:12.28, which ended up to be faster than two automatic qualifiers in the event. Pella won in 9:56.28 and North Polk took second with a 10.08.10 effort.


The Bomber shuttle hurdle team also had a good shot to make state, but were disqualified after an early start on one of their legs.


Ballard ended up fifth out of eight teams in the girls’ team standings with 67 points. Pella dominated the team competition with 203 points and Gilbert was second with 122.


The Ballard boys were unable to advance anyone to state. Ballard scored 28 points to place seventh, with Pella also winning the boys’ competition by scoring 175 points.


The point-scoring events for the Bomber boys were the 110 high hurdles, 1,600, distance medley, 200, 4 X 800, 3,200, 4 X 200, 800, 4 X 100, 4 X 400 and sprint medley.


Nic Edwards placed fourth in the 110 highs with a time of :16.44. Ryan Ledet placed fifth and Erik Ledet eighth in the 1,600 with respective times of 4:51.77 and 4:56.44.


In the distance medley Blaine Hermann, Cody Wolfe, Jonah Olson and Jace Beall ran a 3:52.82 to end up fifth. Hermann finished sixth in the 200 with a :23.97 showing and Jim Chism, Olson and the Ledet brothers took sixth in the 4 X 800 after turning in a time of 8:49.67.


The Ballard 4 X 200 team of Donovan Bertrand, Cael Estrem, Gavin Soash and Braiden Marlatt placed seventh in 1:47.23. Chris Lee ran an 11:01.80 in the 3,200 to place seventh.


Chism was eighth in the 800 after clocking in at 2:11.93. Blake Stover, Estrem, Soash and Marlatt ran an eighth-place time of 54:07 in the 4 X 100.


Chism, the Ledets and Olson came in eighth in the 4 X 400 after completing the race in 4:08.92. the Bomber sprint medley team of Hermann, Estrem, Wolfe and Edwards took eighth in 1:45.67.


The 2019 state coed track meet takes place today through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The 3A competition begins at 9 a.m. today and Friday and all classes start at 9 a.m. on Saturday.


Final team scores


Girls: 1. Pella 203 points, 2. Gilbert 122, 3. Bondurant-Farrar 117, 4. Nevada 78, 5. Ballard 67, 6. North Polk 65, 7. Newton 52, 8. Saydel 26.


Boys: 1. Pella 175, 2. North Polk 146, 3. Nevada 119.5, 4. Gilbert 98.5 5. Bondurant-Farrar 78, 6. Newton 68, 7. Ballard 28, 8. Saydel 23.