DES MOINES — After three long years, Monticello’s 3200-meter relay team has achieved its goal of a state championship.
Dakota Gillmore, Kyle Blake, Jud Schneider and Noah Williams have teamed up in this event since the 2008 state meet. They got seventh each of the last two years, but broke through Thursday at a soggy Drake Stadium with a first-place finish in a time of 7 minutes, 58.57 seconds.
It was the foursome’s best time ever.
“We’ve been working for this for three years,” said Schneider, one of two seniors in the group. “I was on a state champion cross country team in 2007. That was really fun. I thought Monticello was overdue for another gold around our necks.
“It feels awesome.”
Schneider, who ran the third leg, watched his team go from fifth to second by the time he got the baton. He handed off to Williams tied for the lead with Center Point-Urbana, which finished second in 8:02.67.
Williams ran away from the competition from there.
“I knew our anchor leg could take it home,” Schneider said. “We’ll see how the team can do. I think we have top-three potential.”
After five events the Panthers sit in second place in the Class 2A team race with 13 points.
Mid-Prairie won its heat in the relay, but finished third with a time of 8:05.53.
“We won the first heat last year, too,” said senior Quinn Hollan. “We can’t let it effect the rest of our weekend. We have to move on to the next one.”
Hollan made up huge ground on his leg, and Justin Hochstetler closed with a strong anchor.
“We have a busy day tomorrow. We’ll get to bed early,” Hollan said. “It should be a good day.”
West Liberty’s Ty Nortman beat out rivals Pat Parysz of Solon and Daniel Bonthius of Iowa City Regina to win the 400-meter dash. He did from lane seven, in a personal-best time of 49.04.
Bonthius took third in 49.64. Parysz was fourth with a time of 49.94.
“They are really good guys. We’ve always faced each other,” Nortman said. “I really wanted it. I wanted to get first place for something.”
Nortman tied a school record for state meet medals with six. He can add to that — and the Comets’ third-place standing in the team race — today when he runs the 400 low hurdles.
Mount Vernon’s Andy Bellamy was hoping for better outing Thursday.
He settled for a fifth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 50 feet, 8 3/4 inches, well behind Estherville’s Kyle Farmer, who tossed just over 55 feet.
Solon’s James Morris took fourth with a top throw of 51-6.
“I was a little disappointed coming in seeded first,” Bellamy said. “I don’t know what was wrong. Stuff just wasn’t clicking. I’ve still got one most year.”
Mid-Prairie’s Candice Henrichson capped off her career in style with a state shot put championship.
The senior’s throw of 43 feet, 2 3/4 inches led the field and set a new state meet record in the process.
Not long after that, Dike-New Hartford’s Hannah Willms set out to rewrite the record book in the 400 meter dash. Willms broke her own record set at the state meet a year ago, and established an all-time Iowa best with a time of 53.96.
The previous record of 54.09 was set in 1984 by Des Moines Roosevelt’s Natasha Kaiser.
Mid-Prairie and Dike-New Hartford are tied for second in the team standings with 12 points. Solon is one of four team right behind them with 10.
Andy Bellamy, Candice Henrichson, Center Point-Urbana, class 2A, Daniel Bonthius, Dike-New Hartford, Hannah Willms, James Morris, Jud Schnedier, Mid-Prairie, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Pat Parysz, Quinn Hollan, Solon, Ty Nortman