Tyynismaa triples for Drake

South Tama County junior, Jo Jo Tyynismaa will be competing at the Drake Relays in three events Thursday, April 22. She will be running in the open 100, 100 Meter Hurdles and 400 Meter Hurdles. The relays are held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Allison Graham/News Chronicle

One of South Tama’s female track athletes will compete at the Drake Relays this week.

STC junior, Jojo Tyynismaa, qualified for the prestigious race at the infamous blue oval in three events.

Tyynismaa will be running in the open 100, 100 Meter Hurdles and 400 Meter Hurdles on Thursday morning and afternoon.

Due to COVID-19 the relays will look different this year. Fan attendance will be limited. There are also requirements for competitors. But the show will go on.

Returning after a year with no season due to the pandemic, Tyynismaa thought it would be tough.

“Coming into the season I definitely didn’t think I was going to be as prepared but then practices were a little harder towards the beginning of the season so that helped with getting everyone back into shape,” Tyynismaa said.

Tyynismaa loves each of the events she competes in but one sticks out because it gives her the biggest challenge.

“I love all of them but I think my favorite is probably the 400 hurdles because it’s such a tough race but at the same time once you finish it is so rewarding,” Tyynismaa said.

After a meet at Norwalk Tyynismaa has been dealing with some tightness in her quad. She has been icing and stretching in preparation for the relays Thursday.

Looking at her competition Tyynismaa is hoping to place or even get a little higher than she is currently ranked.

Tyynismaa is ranked 7th in the 100 hurdles and open 100 and 5th in the 400 hurdles.

She is in the fourth and final heat as the sixth seed following her 12.53-second qualifying time. She is the seventh seed in the 100 hurdles, starting in lane one of the fourth and final heat. She will also be the sixth seed in the 400 hurdles after qualifying with a time of 1:06.54.

Tyynismaa is looking forward to the relays and the competition she will see there.

“I know there are girls who will be there who will help push me,” Tyynismaa said.

The relays were canceled last year but Tyynismaa did qualify in 2019 as a freshman and finished 18th in the 400 hurdles.

“It’s really fun to run (at Drake). The atmosphere is really fun. I like Drake because I get to run against other classes as well. I feel like there are girls that are not 3A that are good competition to run against,” Tyynismaa said.

On top of qualifying for Drake, Tyynismaa recently broke some meet records at a meet at East Marshall.

In the 100 Meter dash Tyynismaa broke the record with a time of 12.53 and in the 400 Meter Hurdles she broke the record with a time of 1:06.60. That record was set by a former South Tama runner, Allison Yuska.

New leadership

The girls track team had a change up in leadership this season.

Emily Chyma took over the reigns from Levi Hunerdossee who left the district after last year.

While Chyma is the head coach this season she gives much of the credit to Tyynismaa’s previous coaches for where Tyynismaa is today.

George Corum, George Kuhter and the runners in the Tyynismaa family including older siblings Belle and Robert and her dad Robert have all helped guide Tyynismaa in her running career.

Chyma is looking forward to attending the relays.

“It’s gonna be fun,” Chyma said. “I guess I can’t really put it into words. I just really love all of our South Tama kids.

“It’s so good to see her meet her goals,” Chyma said. “She’s got some tough ones, and I know she’s going to hit them, but it’s gonna be one thing to see her on that blue oval and go up against other competitors at her caliber and see what she does.”


Following Drake, Tyynismaa will shift her focus to State. The State Qualifying meet assignments were recently announced. South Tama will be headed to Pella on Thursday, May 13 along with Benton Community, Bondurant-Farrar, Grinnell, Knoxville, Newton, Oskaloosa and Pella.

The state qualifying meets are co-ed and set to begin at 4 p.m.

“There are a couple of teams that were at our Meskwaki meet and they had good competition so that will help with times,” Tyynismaa said.

Tyynismaa will be running the 100 meter at 11:17 a.m., the 100 hurdles at 1:31 p.m. and the 400 hurdles at 2:14 p.m. Thursday at Drake Stadium.