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Lynnville-Sully Class 1A state track and field: 14 events, two runner-up finishes, and two STATE CHAMPS; Hawks make history (Hometown Press article)

posted May 24, 2018, 6:16 PM by Shane Ehresman

#WeRFast. Lynnville-Sully Girls Track and Field Coach Darin Arkema posted this hashtag on the first day of the 2018 Iowa High School State Track and Field Meet on Thursday, May 17, and it was one that was repeated time and again as L-S track stars won state titles, broke state, school, and personal records, and stamped their names in school history over the three-day competition.

Lynnville-Sully track and field athletes couldn’t have asked for a more thrilling and rewarding end to their already outstanding season last week. At the Iowa State Track and Field Championship, the Hawks proved themselves as the best of the best by winning two state championship events and made history with one new state record and five new school records. A total of 17 L-S students competed in 14 state events.

Tyson Vander Linden, Class 1A 400-m hurdles state champion.

Junior Tyson Vander Linden was a double state champ, bringing home gold in both the 400-m hurdles and the sprint medley. He became the first L-S state champion since 2014 after winning the 400-m hurdles on Friday in a time of 53.07, one of the best times ever run in Class 1A. He shattered his own school record of 53.79, set earlier at the Drake Relays.

“It was an amazing opportunity to be able to run at state and to be able to run my best,” Vander Linden said. “I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received, and I’m glad I could see all my hard work pay off.”

Vander Linden’s win set the tone for the sprint medley final on Saturday morning. Seniors Sage Zylstra and Corey McCoy, junior Nate Stock, and Vander Linden earned their gold medals in an exhilarating finish, chasing down the state leader in the final stretch. The boys’ time of 1:33.83 destroyed the school record set last year by two seconds and beat the all-time 1A state record.

The sprint medley team of Sage Zylstra, Nate Stock, Corey McCoy, and Tyson Vander Linden chased down the state leader and ran a Class 1A and school record-breaking 1:33.83 for Lynnville-Sully’s second state title at the 2018 Iowa State Track and Field Meet.

As a team, the L-S boys finished in seventh overall with 31 team points, which was a “great end to our season,” noted L-S Boys Coach Mike Parkinson.

“This season has been so much fun, and all of that came together in the final weeks of the season,” he added. “Congrats to all, and keep up the Hawk pride in track and field! We were well represented at state, and the town is buzzing about our speed on the blue oval!”

The Hawk girls placed 13th as a team with 17 points. This is the highest placement and most points the L-S girls have had at state since Coach Darin Arkema became head coach 11 years ago and is one of the best girls team finishes the school has had.

“Having one of the highest, if not the highest, team scores and places at state in school history is certainly the way to put an exclamation point on a tremendous season from our girls,” Arkema said. “It just capped off the hard work and efforts by all of our team this season. Our state qualifiers represented their team, school, and community well.”

L-S boys and girls were equally successful in the shuttle hurdle with both relay teams coming in as runner ups. In the girls’ race, sophomores Abby Gruver and Mallory Loftus and seniors Mariah Vos and Camryn Russell had great exchanges, technique, and focus to take second in their heat. Their time of 1:08.69 was not as fast as the winner of the first heat, but shortly after it was announced that that team was disqualified, putting the Hawks in second. This is the highest finish earned by L-S girls at state track in any event in school history.

In the boys’ shuttle hurdle, senior Carson Dunsbergen, Vander Linden, McCoy, and junior Gage Vander Leest set a school record and qualified in first with a blazing time of 58.50 during the prelim on Thursday. On Saturday, they earned second in the finals with a time of 59.09.

L-S hurdlers made their mark at the state meet in other events as well. About an hour after anchoring the shuttle hurdle, Loftus ran a personal best time of 16.00 in the 100-m hurdles to earn fourth on Saturday, edging out two close runners with an impressive final finish. This was after qualifying in eighth during the prelim on Thursday.

The girls shuttle hurdle team of Abby Gruver, Mariah Vos, Camryn Russell, and Mallory Loftus finished in second place.

“Her time was just .03 off the school record that I believe with continued work and effort she can eclipse on her way to more top state finishes,” Coach Arkema said.

In the boys 110-m hurdles, Vander Leest ran his fastest time ever, 15.21, to place sixth in the state on Saturday.

Two hurdlers – Gruver and Vos – represented L-S in the same heat of the girls 400-m hurdles on Friday. Gruver was a state qualifier in the event last year, and Vos qualified for it in 2016. Both were looking to improve from their first trips to state, and that they did. Gruver broke her own school record to place seventh with a time of 1:08.27, and Vos ran a personal best time of 1:09.61 to place 11th. Coach Arkema was thrilled to see them finish the season with their best times and to see Mariah battle back this season after missing a lot last year due to injury.

“It was really fun to be able to run and compete at state track again this year,” Vos said. “It was a fun and meaningful way to finish off my high school sports career.”

The L-S girls earned points from one other event at state – their last event at the meet, the 4x100. In the prelims on Friday, sophomore Kaleah Ehresman, Russell, freshman Korinne Jansen, and senior Jataya Meyer dropped 0.27 seconds off their season best time to qualify for the finals in eighth. On Saturday, the 4x100 final came after about a two-hour weather delay. The girls regrouped and earned a seventh-place finish in 52.80 seconds with Meyer racing hard down the homestretch.

“(Jataya) and Camryn got one more state track medal in what has been fantastic track and field careers for both of them,” Coach Arkema said. “They competed at a high level and helped raise the standard for excellence in our program.”

Two L-S events were just one spot away from earning points and qualifying for the finals. In the girls 4x400 prelim on Friday, the Hawks gave a gutsy effort to finish in 4:13.33. Team members were freshman Caitlin Alberts, Loftus, junior Carson Fisk, and Gruver, who had already run the 400-m hurdles earlier that day. The girls’ time broke the school record from 1999 and was the ninth-fastest prelim time. Unfortunately, they missed qualifying for finals by six-hundredths of a second.

The L-S boys 4x400 team experienced the same disappointment of being one spot short of qualifying for the finals. Dunsbergen, McCoy, Vander Leest, and Vander Linden recorded a time of 3:31.01 to place ninth in the prelim on Friday.

The boys shuttle hurdle team of Carson Dunsbergen, Gage Vander Leest, Corey McCoy, and Tyson Vander Linden finished in second place.

L-S earned a couple of 10th-place finishes in the field events. Junior Rylan James threw the shot put just under his personal best, coming in 10th overall with a throw of 48’0.75”. Drake Ehresman was in a great battle for points in the high jump, setting his personal best mark of 5’11” and finishing tied for 10th place overall.

The girls 4x200 team of Jansen, Russell, Fisk, and Meyer ran a season-best time of 1:50.23 to place 11th on Friday. Though the girls weren’t fast enough to earn a medal, Coach Arkema noted the “tremendous improvement this relay group made in the last two weeks, running 1:53’s early in May to get to a low 1:50 at state.”

The L-S boys had a 16th-place finish from McCoy in the 400-m hurdles, the event won by Vander Linden. McCoy came in 16th with a time of 57.27.

The L-S girls sprint medley relay finished 17th overall after making it to state with the 22nd best time. Ehresman, Meyer, Fisk, and Alberts had quick exchanges as they clocked a time of 1:56.89.

The L-S state competitors and coaches appreciate the unbelievable support they received throughout all three days of competition at Drake Stadium. Hawk pride soared high among track teammates, friends, parents and family members, community members, and track alumni.

“From all the athletes and fellow coaches, we say thank you for all your encouragement and support, not just at state, but all season long,” Arkema said. “Lynnville-Sully continues to build on its reputation for excellence in all areas, and the track and field programs are no exception to that. It was my honor to again have had the opportunity to lead our girls’ program this season, and again say thank you to the athletes for their efforts and dedication.”