After a week of rest and only days until their most important meet of the season, the South Tama County track and field teams headed to Pella to fine tune its times and performances.
The Trojans last competed at the North Iowa Cedar League West Division meet on April 29. One week later, they traveled to Pella for an eight-team meet against some of the same teams they would see Thursday at the Class 3A District meet in Grinnell.
In the process of tuning things up, the Trojans set more than a dozen personal records and one school record. The STC boys 4x100-meter relay team continued its strong season on Monday. The Trojans won the race in a time of 43.29, breaking the former record from 1994 by 0.XX seconds. Relay members were senior Kaleb Davenport, junior Dylan Kalinay, senior Daryl Bidwell and senior Kyle Stephenson.
"I want to remain low-key about it, because I coached those guys that set the old school record," head boys coach George Kuhter said. "State could be kind of fun. The one thing that could happen is us beating ourselves. We can't do that, so we have to refine it.
"I didn't think they would do it on a Monday at a low-key meet," Kuhter said. "They were relaxed and had fun," he added.
As a team, the South Tama boys finished fourth at the meet. The Trojans scored 63 team points with most varsity athletes only participating in one event.
"We did it because we had to," Kuhter said of the meet. "Normally I take this meet off and just have everybody run one race. The 4x100 wanted to see if they could remain undefeated and other than Drake, they have. We just needed some tune-ups.
"You have to get over hurdles and you have to get blocks starts," he said. "We haven't had that most of the spring. We've had nothing since conference. Everything has been getting canceled and we're getting tired of practicing, so we threw some guys in events and saw what we could do. We also gave our JV kids a chance to run and it was good."
Other top finishes on the boys side came in the sprint medley, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 800-meter run, among other events. The sprint medley team of Kalinay, Bidwell, Robert Tyynismaa and Brady Ellenbecker won it event in a time of 3:43.52. In the 100, Kaleb Davenport placed fourth, while Stephenson finished third in the 200. Clay Waterbury placed fourth in the 800.
"Our younger kids ran really well," Kuhter said. "Our JV 4x100 finished fourth overall in the meet. Our 4x400 and a medley ran well. The things that we wanted to focus on ran well. I'm happy with the way everything went."
On the girls side of the meet, South Tama finished fourth behind Pella, Grinnell and Oskaloosa, despite a changed line-up. The Lady Trojans also used the meet as a last chance to tweak things before the district meet.
"It was preparation for us," STC girls coach George Corum said. "We tried to load up a few relays. It was also a chance for us to give a lot of our girls a chance to run that haven't had a lot of running because of the weather this year. Our JV relays ran well and I'm not sure our JV 4x100 wouldn't have had a chance to win it. We dropped the baton and still finished fifth. On the varsity side, we hung in there really well against some good competition."
The Lady Trojans set 14 PRs, won one event and had top-three finishes in six events. Samantha Holtz won the shot put (35 feet, 2 inches) and placed third in the discus (100-6), while Kaleigh Sieck finished third in the shot put (31-3.75). Taylor Ellenbecker was the only other individual with a top-three finish. Ellenbecker placed runner-up in the 3,000-meter run (11:51.14).
STC's 4x100-meter relay finished second (52.53), while its distance medley (4:29.4) and sprint medley (1:58.51) placed third in both races. The 4x100 team consisted of Shelby Bradley, Jade Rohach, Sieck and Belle Tyynismaa. Running the distance medley was Bradley, Rohach, Tyynismaa and Kelsey Kupka, while Bradley, Sieck, Rohach and Tyynismaa ran the sprint medley.
"So we haven't peaked," Corum said. "We have a ways to go yet, but it's still good to see us improving. I feel we're getting there. It's going to come down to how well we run at districts against fast, fast competition."