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L-S track teams set three new school records at state meet (Hometown Press article)

posted May 28, 2017, 8:59 PM by Shane Ehresman

L-S track teams set three new school records at state meet

Fifteen Lynnville-Sully track and field athletes gave their all at the state meet last week and were rewarded accordingly. With three new school records and seven events placing in the top eight, the Hawks came home with much to celebrate as the icing on the cake in a season to be proud of.


L-S Boys Track Coach Mike Parkinson summarized what the state meet was like for the Hawk boys last Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20.

“This weekend was a great way to wrap up one of the best seasons we've had in the history of our program,” he said.

The Hawks finished 11th as a team after earning 22 points on the blue oval at Drake Stadium.

Sophomore Tyson Vander Linden competed in the maximum number of events and placed seventh or higher in all four events. His highest placement came in the 400-m hurdles on Friday, where he set a new school record of 54.31 seconds on his way to placing second.

Vander Linden joined with sprint medley teammates Sage Zylstra, a junior; Nate Stock, a sophomore; and Corey McCoy, a junior; to set another school record, 1:35.61, and claim third on Saturday.

“It was a good experience to run with the group I did all year, and it is exciting that we'll all be back next year,” Vander Linden said. “It is neat to know our accomplishments will be remembered in the school record books.”

The Hawks proved they have two of the fastest 400-m dash runners in the state when Vander Linden and McCoy went five and eight in the event on Thursday. Vander Linden put up a time of 50.54 seconds for fifth, and McCoy was less than a second behind at 51.25 seconds for eighth. Both times were personal records for the two runners.

Vander Linden’s final event was the 4x400 relay, which he ran with sophomore Gage Vander Leest, McCoy, and junior Carson Dunsbergen. In the prelims on Friday, they qualified for the finals by placing fifth in 3:29.88. The next day, in the last event run at state, the relay team finished in seventh with a time of 3:32.31.

The L-S boys had a strong showing from their hurdlers at state. In the 110-m hurdles, Vander Leest and senior Ryan Hofer represented the Hawks. They finished eighth and ninth respectively in the prelims on Friday with times of 15.48 (a personal best for Vander Leest) and 15.53. Since only the top eight go on to the finals, that meant only Vander Leest had qualified for finals. He ended up placing eighth in Saturday’s finals with a time of 15.86.

The shuttle hurdle team of Vander Leest, Carson D., senior Caden Dunsbergen, and Hofer placed 10th in the prelims on Thursday with a time of 1:02.11 and did not advance to the finals.

Two Hawk field event athletes competed at state. Sophomore Rylan James finished 19th in the shot put with a throw of 44’8”. Carson D. in the high jump was unable to clear the bar at its opening height of 5’10”.

Looking at the state meet as a whole, Parkinson said,   “Finishing 11th in the state is a great accomplishment, and while we are pleased with this, all of the points scored at state were scored by returning athletes. We will continue to pursue a state title, but also want to thank and recognize our seniors for their great accomplishments and contributions to our program!”

The coach said the four seniors – Hofer, Caden D., Luke Jones, and Colten Arment – have been “integral parts” of the track program for four years, helping build a strong foundation and encouraging other athletes to improve.

“This weekend was a culmination of so much work,” he continued, “and while some may have wanted to finish higher in certain events, there is no disappointment in giving it your all. For our returning athletes, we know what it takes to be a champion. To our graduating athletes, thank you for demonstrating what champions do.”


The L-S girls sent six girls to state in five events. The highest placement was earned by the shuttle hurdle team. On Thursday, the hurdlers – senior Brenna Lanser, freshmen Mallory Loftus and Abby Gruver, and junior Camryn Russell – ran in the prelims as the first athletes from L-S to compete at the 2017 state track meet.

“Our goals Thursday in the shuttle hurdle prelim were to win our heat, run a fast time, and get qualified for the finals,” Arkema said. “The girls went out and did all three of those things, dropping their season best and school record time by another 0.14 seconds.”

The girls’ time of 1:10.64 put them in seventh and qualified them for Saturday’s finals. When Saturday dawned, conditions were damp and cool, but the Hawks were ready to go. With half their opponents being from the SICL Conference, the girls knew what they were up against.

“Each of the girls ran a clean race, and for the first time all season, all four of their splits were under 18 seconds in the same race,” Arkema noted.

The L-S hurdlers broke their own school record with a time of 1:10.13. Of the eight teams in the finals, L-S had a faster time than BGM. Then it was announced that Belle Plaine had been disqualified, so the Hawks came away with a sixth-place finish.

“It was a delight to see their joy and relief to have competed well and earn those sixth-place medals after the work and dedication to the hurdle events this season,” Arkema said.

All the other L-S girls’ events were on Friday. Gruver entered the 400-m hurdles race with hopes of topping her own school record time from the week before. She came up just short but still had her second fastest time of the season, 1:09.91. That was good enough for 12th place.

Junior exchange student Lydia Akergren, senior Makenzy Rozendaal, Russell, and Lanser ran in both the 4x200 and 4x100 relays. The 4x100 came in 15th in 53.27 seconds, and the 4x200 placed 17th in 1:52.10 in misty conditions. Both times were the girls’ second fast-est of the season.

Loftus competed in the high jump and had three strong attempts, but was unable to clear the bar at the opening height of 4’8”. “She definitely has more potential in that event if she continues to work on technique, getting stronger and more flexible,” Arkema noted.

The state track meet concluded a strong and successful season for the L-S girls.

“What a great finish to the season for each of these girls and for two of them, the conclusion to very successful careers,” Arkema said. “Almost everyone at the state meet would have loved to had better weather for the three days, but I was proud of the girls for focusing in on what they could control and being prepared to compete at a high level.”

The state meet was the final track event of their careers for seniors Lanser and Rozendaal. It was a fitting place for them to end their careers since both have competed in multiple events at state over the years, each earning medals on relay teams.

“When you add in (senior) Jelissa Rozendaal and all she accomplished this year and during her career in the throws, our three seniors leave a significant void on our team for next year,” Arkema said. “All three of them have helped not only sustain but improve our girls track program and pass on that challenge to all those returning next year. We enjoyed a lot of fun moments and great success on our team this season. Each member should be excited about what they did, but also be looking for ways to be better in the 2018 season.”