GRUNDY CENTER - Last Monday night's results were 21 years in the making, battling through years of second-place finishes and disappointment.
South Tama boys track and field coach George Kuhter watched his squad come oh so close to winning a conference title for more than two decades. All of that agony disappeared Monday at the North Iowa Cedar League West meet.
Kuhter's squad dominated the meet by winning eight events and taking the team title by 28 points. STC scored 132 points as AGWSR finished second with 104 team points.
The South Tama boys track and field team won its first-ever league title Monday night at Grundy Center. The Trojans won the North Iowa Cedar League meet by 28 points. They won eight events, including four relays, at the eight-team meet.
"I'm tired of finishing second," Kuhter said. "This one is sweet, especially with all of the conference realignment stuff. This is my first conference title and after 20 years, it's pretty sweet."
The Trojans came close to winning the title last year, but fell six points shy of West Marshall when they hosted the meet. They lost only three Trojans from that squad, but have brought in other upperclassmen to fill those gaps.
"It's tough going into the year when you have athletes that haven't had the success like last year," Kuhter said. "Then all of a sudden, you get so close and it's gone from them. Then this year, this was for all of those kids. It's for all of the kids who finished second at conference."
South Tama's dominance once again came in the relays. However, STC won four individual events at the league meet. Seniors Kyle Stephenson and Kaleb Davenport won the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, running 11.3 seconds and 23.11 seconds. Davenport also finished second in the 100 dash.
"I was a little scared in the 200," Davenport said. "They were ahead of me for the first 150 meters, but I decided to kick it in and I got them."
STC also finished 1-2 in the long jump. Senior Sam Kuhter edged out Stephenson for the title. Stephenson's final jump came up 0.75 inches short of Kuhter's first jump of the day, which was 20-feet, 10 inches.
The Trojans other individual victory came in the 110-meter high hurdles. Junior Dylan Kalinay cruised to a victory, running the race in a time of 15.73 seconds.
"The seniors have put in the hard work," Kuhter said. "Sometimes they got pounded and sometimes they had to run two or three or four times at a meet. It makes it sweeter because of this group of seniors."
South Tama's top two relays - 4x100 and 4x200 - easily took the NiCL crown. However, it was the other two that were surprises to the coaches and athletes. First the 4x800-meter relay team of senior Brady Ellenbecker, sophomore Robert Tyynismaa, junior Tyler Martens and senior Clay Waterbury set a 24-second PR on the season. The Trojans ran an 8:23.6 and won the race by six seconds.
"It's a perfect night," Ellenbecker said. "We all wanted to be conference champs in the 4x800, so everyone had adreneline going into the race. It turned out to be a great day."
South Tama also won the distance medley by less than a second. Tyler Blocker and Bo Blocker ran the 200-meter legs, Tyynismaa ran the 400-meter leg and Ellenbecker capped it off with the 800-meter leg. The Trojans ran 3:49.17 to edge out South Hardin for the victory.
"It's pretty decent when you win four out of six relays," Kuhter said. "That's a good thing."
The STC foursome of Davenport, Kalinay, senior Daryl Bidwell and Stephenson teamed up to win the 4x100 and 4x200 with ease. The 4x100 relay won in a time of 43.77, more than two seconds ahead of second place. The 4x200 relay won by four seconds in a time of 1:31.28.
"That gives us a lot of confidence," Davenport said. "It's nice to be able to break away from everybody. Dylan and me have our handoffs down perfect. We just have good chemistry."
South Tama wrapped up the team championship before the final two events, 4x100 and 4x400 relays. The Trojans took a victory lay ... or two ... after the final team standings were announced Monday night.
"The shot put, high jump and discus got us some pretty big points," Kuhter said. "Then we had the long jump and sprint guys where we know we can score points. Then the distance guys came through today, along with the field event guys.
"We won by 24 points and it was even closer than I thought," he said. "I wanted to have it done by the 4x100 and that's what happened. If you have to go into the 4x400, with as hard as they've worked, that's too much pressure on them."
STC will compete at Pella on Monday before traveling to Grinnell on May 9 for the Class 3A District meet.