TAMA - Confusion inside the scorer's press box left the final outcome of the NICL West Boys' Track and Field Championships in limbo for a few extra minutes Monday night.
Extra drama left the coaches and athletes waiting anxiously for the results of a meet that came down to the final race.
Once the scores were fixed and final results tabulated, West Marshall nipped South Tama, who hosted the meet. West Marshall finished with 133 points, while South Tama ended the meet with 128.
South Tama’s Brady Ellenbecker smiles as he crosses the finish line, winning the 1,600-meter run Monday at the North Iowa Cedar League West Division championships. Ellenbecker also won the 800-meter run at the meet to help the Trojans finish runner-up to West Marshall as a team.
"The way I scored it, we were going to either win by two or lose by six," STC head coach George Kuhter said. "There was a lot of different things that could have happened. We had a couple of kids that were sick. We're a different team with Clay Waterbury running the anchor, but you can't blame him. He got sick at the wrong time.
"It's difficult to swallow, but we're not going to place any blame," he said. "It's our first year in the conference. Tonight was the night our guys needed to step up and a lot of guys stepped up. I'm not going to second guess anything. Like I told the guys, tomorrow the sun comes up."
Confusion came from a race that was left out of the results. The 1,600-meter medley, which West Marshall won, wasn't entered and left the visiting Trojans 10 points short.
NICL West Track and Field Championships
(* - denotes new meet record)
Team Standings - 1. West Marshall 133, 2. South Tama 128, 3. AGWSR 90, 4. BCLUW 77, 5. South Hardin 57.5, 6. Grundy Center 33.5, 7. East Marshall 28, 8. Gladbrook-Reinbeck 11.
4x800 - 1. EM, 8:29.23; 2. AGWSR, 8:30.93; 3. STC, 8:38.95; 4. G-R, 8:54.15; 5. BCLUW 9:05.35; 6. WM, 9:11.10.
3,200 - *1. Nelson, STC, 10:00.52; 2. Storjohann, BCLUW, 10:06.66; 3. Montes, AGWSR, 10:42.03; 4. Reyes, AGWSR, 10:44.46; 5. Novak, BCLUW, 10:45.71; 6. Bradley, WM, 10:54.10
SHUTTLE HURDLE - 1. SH, 1:02.61; 2. WM, 1:02.62; 3. AGWSR, 1:03.61; 4. BCLUW, 1:04.75; 5. GC, 1:05.43; 6. STC, 1:07.14.
100 - 1.Da.Ferch, WM, 11.47; 2. Stephenson, STC, 11.55; 3. T.Streeter, WM, 11.81; 4. Boldt, STC, 11.85; 5. Moats, GC, 12.26; 6. Rivera, AGWSR, 12.35.
400 - 1. Cecak, STC, 50.96; 2. Dolphin, BCLUW, 51.33; 3. E.Streeter, WM, 51.34; 4. Gadbaw, WM, 52.31; 5. Wolken, EM, 52.49; 6. Drake, AGWSR, 53.76.
4x200 - *1. STC, 1:31.85; 2. WM, 1:31.89; 3. AGWSR, 1:37.66; 4. BCLUW, 1:38.81; 5. GC, 1:39.54; 6. SH, 1:41.26.
110 HURDLES - *1. Schmadeke, GC, 15.00; 2. Petersen, SH, 16.07; 3. Wilkey, WM, 16.49; 4. Garber, BCLUW, 16.50; 5. Chesler, WM, 16.80; 6. Kalinay, STC, 16.88.
1,600 - 1. Ellenbercker, STC, 4:39.37; 2. Storjohann, BCLUW, 4:39.98; 3. Montes, AGWSR, 4:44.69; 4. L.Steward, EM, 4:50.12; 5. Nelson, STC, 4:52.80; 6. Cleveland, GC, 4:52.81.
200 - 1. Da.Ferch, WM, 22.86; 2. Du.Ferch, WM, 23.24; 3. Cecak, STC, 23.75; 4. Dolphin, BCLUW, 23.81; 5. Boldt, STC, 23.85; 6. McKendree, GC, 24.72.
400 HURDLES - 1. Petersen, SH, 57.50; 2. Dutcher, AGWSR, 58.10; 3. Jaspers, AGWSR, 59.00; 4. Chesler, WM, 59.92; 5. Beals, WM, 1:02.34; 6. King, BCLUW, 1:02.95.
1,600 MEDLEY - 1. WM, 3:44.89; 2. BCLUW, 3:51.26; 3. STC, 3:51.65; 4. AGWSR, 3:52.07; 5. GC 4:10.47; 6. G-R 4:13.58.
800 - 1. Ellenbecker, STC, 2:03.96; 2. Drake, AGWSR, 2:04.92; 3. Swanson, G-R, 2:05.82; 4. Storjohann, BCLUW, 2:06.51; 5. Montes, AGWSR, 2:09.21; 6. McKendree, GC, 2:11.15.
4x100 - *1. STC, 44.18; 2. WM, 45.70; 3. GC, 47.33; 4. BCLUW, 47.57; 5. AGWSR, 48.22; 6. SH, 49.23.
4x400 - 1. WM, 3:33.19; 2. BCLUW, 3:35.23; 3. EM, 3:36.76; 4. South Hardin, 3:37.09; 5. AGWSR, 3:38.34; 6. STC, 3:38.76.
HIGH JUMP - 1. Gadbaw, WM, 6-0; 2. Koch, STC, 5-10; 3. Hamilton, GC, 5-8; 4. Morris, STC, 5-6; 5. Vansickle, GC, 5-6; 5. Luse, SH, 5-6.
DISCUS - 1. Zeisneiss, SH, 140-3; 2. Rewerts, AGWSR, 138-5; 3. Sharp, BCLUW, 136-10; 4. Aikin, WM, 124-3; 5. Lippert, AGWSR, 118-6; 6. Hala, STC, 116-1.
SHOT PUT - 1. Meinders, AGWSR, 47-3 1/2; 2. Zeisneiss, SH, 43-11 1/2; 3. Slagle, STC, 43-9 1/4; 4. Newton, WM, 42-6; 5. Oswald, BCLUW, 41-9 1/2; 6. Pierce, G-R, 41-00.
LONG JUMP - 1. Da.Ferch, WM, 21-5 3/4; 2. Kuhter, STC, 20-10 1/4; 3. Wolken, EM, 20-0 3/4; 4. Stephenson, STC, 19-11 1/4; 5. Pieters, AGWSR, 19-6 1/4; 6. Juel, WM, 19-01 3/4.
If the results would have been entered correctly, South Tama would have been ahead 127-123 before the final race. West Marshall won the 1,600-meter relay and STC finished sixth, thus giving the league crown to West Marshall and runner-up to the conference newcomer.
"It's where we were projected to finish," Kuhter said. "One of the kids asked me if I got tired of finishing second. Finishing second is better than finishing last.'
West Marshall won six events on the night with the conference's Outstanding Performer of the Year, Dalton Ferch, accounting for half of those victories.
"West Marshall has a heck of an athlete in that Ferch kid," Kuhter said. "That's the difference - points that he stole from us in certain events. He wins three events and helps a relay finish second. You can't stop a train like that."
South Tama had an array of outstanding athletes that combined to also win six events for the home Trojans. STC scored points in every event throughout the day.
The Trojans won all four races 400-meters and longer, plus the two fastest relays. Seven athletes brought home gold medals Monday.
Senior Brandon Nelson got the Trojans going on the track with a 3,200-meter run he won't soon forget. Nelson stuck close to BCLUW's Levi Storjohann, the defending Class 1A state cross country champion, for seven laps. Once the gun sounded for the final lap, Nelson sprinted around Storjohann and left him in the dust.
"He came in here with the No. 1-seeded time," Nelson said. "I knew he'd take me to a fast time, so I just sat back on his heels. I just used everything I had on that last lap. I've been going with the phrase, 'broke and not beat', because of my basketball injury. I kind of fought that off and it's motivated me this year."
The STC senior missed more than half of the basketball season after breaking a small bone in his lower leg. He came back for the final few games and has been fighting to get in shape during the last month.
"This is the best shape I've been in my entire life," Nelson said. "I've been dropping my time tremendously in the two mile. I dropped from 10:28 to 10:13 and now from 10:13 to 10:00. Hopefully I can get those three seconds."
Nelson nearly set the school record as he came less than a second from breaking the 10-minute barrier. He won the race by six seconds, in a time of 10:00.52. Nelson finished fifth in the 1,600-meter run, too.
"I've never ran that fast before or beat a kid of that caliber," Nelson said. "It was my last 3,200 on this track and I wanted to go out with a bang. I took it that last lap and gave it everything I had. I was three seconds away from that school record. Hopefully I can get that before the season is over."
South Tama continued its domination in the distance events as junior Brady Ellenbecker swept the 800-meter and 1,600 runs. He ran 2:03.96 to win the 800 and 4:39.37 to claim victory in the 1,600.
"It was exciting," Ellenbecker said. "I was happy with both races. I wasn't set on any times today. I was just going for first place, whatever that took."
In the 1,600, Ellenbecker took an early lead before settling in with a pack of runners. He grabbed the lead on the last lap and held of Storjohann by less than a second for the win.
Ellenbecker's 800 had more drama. He found himself stuck on the inside of a pack of five runners for most of first lap. He weaved his way through traffic down the home stretch, before running along side the leader for the next 200 meters. With 200 left, Ellenbecker sprinted along side Wyatt Swanson from Gladbrook-Reinbeck, before pulling away. However, AGWSR's Hunter Drake came on the outside and pulled even with Ellenbecker with 100 to go. The STC junior kicked in into another gear and out-sprinted Drake to victory.
"Coach was giving me advice," Ellenbecker said. "I gotta listen to him. I usually like to wait and surprise people at the end, but that one guy in the 800 had long legs. He got me going and made me work for it. The fans have no idea how much they help."
South Tama's other individual victory came in the 400-meter dash. Senior Brad Cecak bolted out in front during the first 200 meters and maintained it around the second curve. With two runners closing on him, Cecak had enough left to hold them off at the end. His winning time was 50.96 seconds. Cecak also finished third in the 200-meter dash.
The Trojans' two fastest relays were champs, too, Monday night. Their 400-meter relay team, which also competed at the Drake Relays last Friday, easily won its race Monday. The Trojans ran 44.18, more than a second ahead of West Marshall's second-place team. STC relay members were Brody Boldt, Dylan Kalinay, Daryl Bidwell and Kyle Stephenson.
At the Drake Relays, the South Tama relay team ran 43.9 and finished 15th out of 80 teams.
"We did an outstanding job in the cool weather," Kuhter said. "If we run like this at Drake Stadium in a month, these guys could be very solid place winners in the 4x100 and the 4x200."
The same four Trojans won the 800-meter relay earlier in the day. They clocked a time of 1:31.85 to win. Stephenson held off Ferch down the home stretch for the Trojans' victory.
"We did a good job tonight," Kuhter said. "We did the best we could do and that's all you can ask."
South Tama also scored big points in the long jump and high jump. Sam Kuhter finished runner-up with a jump 20 feet, 10.25 inches. Stephenson placed fourth in the event, with a mark of 19-11.25. Grant Koch cleared 5-10, while Zach Morris cleared 5-6 in the high jump to finish second and fourth.
Ian Slagle threw 43-9.25 to place third in the shot put for STC. Stephenson and Boldt also scored in the 100-meter dash by finishing second and fourth. Boldt also took fifth in the 200.
The Trojans' 3,200-meter relay and 1,600-medley relay squads finished third. Running on the 3,200 relay were Ellenbecker, Robert Tyynismaa, Waterbury and Tyler Martens. The 1,600 medley squad was
South Tama scored points in every event except the 400-meter hurdles on Monday.
"We're on a roll right now," Kuhter said. "We'll take a day off tomorrow and go hard at it. We'll get ready for districts next week."
STC will compete at Pella on Monday.