DES MOINES — Forty-eight years, girls’ track has been a sanctioned sport in Iowa. Forty-eight years, the girls’ 400-meter relay has been contested at the Drake Relays.
All those years. And nobody has run it as fast as these four Women of Troy ran it Saturday afternoon.
Iowa City West set an all-time Iowa best of 48.10 seconds in blazing to the Drake title.
“It felt fast,” said anchor Jessica Gehrke.
It was the fastest ever. West’s effort eclipsed Waukee’s time of 49.15, set last year.
Fast. But, according to the Women of Troy, they can go faster.
“To be honest, we wanted to break 48-flat,” said Chloe Hoagland. “With better starts and handoffs, we can do it.”
West led from the time the gun sounded and McKennan Cronbaugh burst out of the blocks. She was followed by Hoagland, Shahana Williams and Gehrke.
Cronbaugh is a freshman.
“It’s so amazing, running with these three,” Cronbaugh said. “They are so funny, and we’ve connected so well.”
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Hannah Breitbach, Erin Lynch, Tyler Sampson and Kate Steingreaber were was second in 48.72 seconds.
“We’re very happy,” Steingreaber said. “The West girls are very fast. We love to run with them.”
Mount Vernon-Lisbon, the defending team champion in Class 3A, proved that it can more than hold its own with the big schools. The self-named Zebras finished second in the 3,200- and 1,600-meter relays.
“We’re just ecstatic, particularly in the 4-by-8,” said Karly Cochrane. “We ran better than we thought we could.
“In the 4-by-4, we’re happy with second, because we knew how tough (Sioux City) East was going to be.”
The 3,200-meter relay evolved into a back-and-forth three-team race. West Des Moines Dowling ace Katie Flood outdueled Mount Vernon-Lisbon’s Alex Wilson in the final 200 meters to give the Maroons a record-setting win in 9:11.01.
Mount Vernon-Lisbon finished in 9:15.68, West Des Moines Valley was third. Dowling, MV-L and Valley traded the lead throughout the race.
“I didn’t know (Flood) could go that fast at the end,” Wilson said. “I couldn’t go any faster at the end.”
Holly Salzbrenner, Cochrane and Kristin Canning ran the first three legs as MV-L set a school record.
The same foursome, in a different order, finished the 1,600-meter relay in 3:59.07. East was clocked in 3:54.39.
Cedar Rapids Washington’s Mary Kate Schmitt, Brooke Foreman, Manesha Buress and Layloni Beard were second to Urbandale in the shuttle hurdle relay.
“It was awesome to make the finals, especially with this being Mary Kate’s senior year,” Beard said.
Urbandale won it in 1:04.54, a Relays record. Washington finished in 1:05.74.
Flood set an all-time Iowa best of 4:28.30 in a remarkably fast 1,500-meter race, capturing her third title of the weekend. Sioux City East’s Shelby Houlihan (4:31.21) and Northeast’s Morgan Casey (4:31.77) also broke the old Relays record.
A University of Washington recruit, Flood won eight Drake titles in her career.
Logan-Magnolia’s Alex Gochenour completed a hurdles sweep by capturing the 400-meter event in 1:01.63. Salzbrenner was third.
Alex Wilson, Cedar Rapids Washington, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Chloe Hoagland, Drake Relays, girls, Iowa City West, Jessica Gehrke, Karly Cochrane, Kate Steinbgreaber, Katie Flood, Layloni Beard, McKennan Cronbaugh, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Shahana Williams, Urbandale