GRUNDY CENTER - South Tama's boys track and field team ran away with the Spartan Invite on Thursday night.
The Trojans racked up 166. 2/3 points to outdistance a close race between Grundy Center (95 1/3) and GMG (91) for second place.
"It was fun to see the kids having fun this afternoon," head coach George Kuhter said. "It was quite a change from the same kids this winter hanging their heads and defeated. It was also great therapy from Monday and a meet that we thought we had won.
"It was good to get a meet like this for the sanity of the team," he said. "We have been working so hard to this point in the year. Everyone ran well and at one point there was a run on the results where we had almost 100 points and second place was so far behind that everyone relaxed and had fun. Going into the meat of the season, we had some younger kids starting to think they did not belong on the varsity team but they proved that they belonged today."
First-place finishes for STC came from Kyle Stephenson in the 100-meter dash (11.51 seconds), Brad Cecak in the 400 (53.7), Brady Ellenbecker in the 800 (2:06.55) and the 1,600 (4:53.42), Brandon Nelson in the 3,200 (10:34.9), Ian Slagle in the discus (110 feet, 4 inches) and shot put (41-1/2), Sam Kuhter in the long jump (18-10 1/4), and four relays (4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800).
"The best thing that I saw all night was just the smiles," Kuhter said. "Many of these kids are not used to winning, so this was a new experience for them. We now have a full team of kids that have won at least one track and field meet in the high school careers. I have to laugh at some people in the community and the district who look around and wonder if we cannot win, because we don't have the athletes. In response, tonight we proved we have the athletes. Next is looking to see where the rest of the season goes from here."
South Tama also placed several individuals in different events. In the 200-meter dash, Brody Boldt, Cecak and Austin Lowe finished second, third and fifth, respectively. Robert Tyynismaa and Tyler Martens placed third and fifth in the 400, while Nelson took third in the 800 and James Norton finished third in the 1,600.
Surrell Youngbear also medaled with a runner-up finish to Nelson in the 3,200. Dylan Kalinay and Daryl Bidwell placed third and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles for the Trojans.
In the field events, Nate Hala, Jacob Herriot and Lowe finished second fourth and sixth in the discus. Zach Morris and Grant Koch placed third and fourth in the high jump. The Trojans placed well in the long jump as Stephenson and Morris took second and third behind Kuhter. Martens and Garrett Hoskey placed second and fourth in the shot put for STC.
"Hats off to the JV 4x100 and 4x200," Kuhter said. "Those guys are getting good practice and seeing what a championship team is going to look like. James Norton and Surrell Youngbear medaled for the first time this year and I think they too saw what they could do given the chance. Brady Ellenbecker, Kyle Stephenson and Brody Boldt continue to lead with their strong performances. Brad Cecak, Robert Tyynismaa and Clay Waterbury have been the workhorses to this point and along with their 4x800 mates and Brandon Nelson continue to get better and get us off to a solid start at every meet. It does not hurt to have three strong long jumpers in Zach, Sam and Kyle to choose from either."
Meskwaki, which placed fifth in the meet, got its three points from Denne Keahna. He finished fourth in the 800 (2:17) and fifth in the 400 (59.68).