Days before making history by winning its first-ever conference crown, the South Tama County girls' track and field team received a huge confidence boost at Ballard.
The Lady Trojans were able to win their first meet in a long time on April 26. They cruised to victory at the Ballard Invitational by scoring 160 points. Iowa Falls-Alden finished runner-up with 132.5 points, while North Polk placed third by scoring 128.5 points.
"It was huge for as us a team," head coach George Corum said. "We're taking baby steps, but it was a huge victory for us, because it finally taught the girls how to finish. In a lot of our meets, we've been leading and then we kind of falter off and fall out. On Friday, what was so exciting to see is watching them dig down and find a way to win.
"At the beginning of the season, I'm not sure they knew how to compete, let alone win, but Friday was something pretty special," he added. "They found a way to win. That's huge in any sport, especially if you haven't done it. We finished second in quite a few meets, so to win it was special."
The team victory came at a perfect time for the Lady Trojans, who won the North Iowa Cedar League West title just three days after the Ballard Invite.
"Coach (Olivia) Van Zante and I talked about that and agreed that it couldn't come at a better time," Corum said on April 28. "We're riding it in to tomorrow, but the only thing is tomorrow is going to be a slugfest with East Marshall and West Marshall. Not to take anything away from the other teams, because there are some good teams in the conference, but the front runners are coming on strong."
Ballard Invitational -STC results
100 - 3. Rohach, 13.69; Peters, 14.56
200 - 2. Rohach, 27.81; Peters, 31.28
400 - 3. Tyynismaa, 1:05.7; Magpie, 1:11.16
800 - 1. Kupka, 2:38.45; 2. Ellenbecker, 2:40.26
1,500 - 2. Kupka, 5:33.45; 3. Ellenbecker, 5:37.9
3,000 - 1. Ellenbecker, 12:00.68; 5. Filloon, 13:31.44
100 hurdles - Wise, 19.2; Keller, 20.72
400 hurdles - 2. Tyynismaa, 1:15.37; Keller, 1:22.16
4x100 relay - 1. Bradley, Rohach, Sieck, Tyynimaa - 52.65
4x200 relay - 1. Bradley, Sieck, Rohach, Tyynismaa - 1:56.35
4x400 relay - 3. Balvin, Bacon, Culbertson, Hala - 4:39
4x800 relay - 1. Kupka, Bacon, Walz, Hoskey - 11:09.79
Sprint Medley - 6. Bear, Berry, Culbertson, Magpie - 2:07.65
Distance Medley - 1. Culbertson, Berry, Bacon, Kupka - 2:42.09
Shot Put - 3. Holtz, 32-10; 4. Sieck, 32-4
Discus - 1. Holtz, 114-5
High Jump - 1. Bacon, 4-8
Long Jump - 3. Bradley, 14-4; 6. Craun, 13-10.75
1. STC - 160
2. Iowa Falls Alden - 132.25
3. North Polk - 128.5
4. Des Moines Lincoln - 76.25
5. Ballard - 52
6. Perry - 38
7. Gilbert - 0
South Tama's squad enjoyed both victories during the four-day stretch. The girls celebrated with the trophy at Ballard and ran a victory lap at the NICL meet at Grundy Center.
"Every girl kissed that trophy," Corum said. "They passed it around. It was pretty special."
The Lady Trojans won six running events and two field events at the Ballard Invite. Junior Samantha Holtz continued her successful throwing season as she won the discus with a throw of 114 feet, 5 inches. Holtz also finished third in the shot put with senior Kaleigh Sieck behind her in fourth.
Freshman Madie Bacon won the high jump with a leap of 4-8. She also helped a pair of relays win at the meet. Bacon helped the 4x800-meter relay and the distance medley win their races. Also running on the 4x800 were Kelsey Kupka, Trisha Walz and Naomi Hoskey. Joining Bacon on the distance medley were Kiley Culbertson, Nicole Berry and Kupka.
"We had a lot of firsts," Corum said. "It wasn't for lack of talent there. The girls just stepped up and competed."
South Tama also won the 4x100 and 4x200 relays. Both teams consisted of Shelby Bradley, Jade Rohach, Sieck and Belle Tyynismaa. They ran the 4x100 in 52.65 points and the 4x200 in 1:56.35.
STC won a pair of distance events at Ballard, too. Kupka ran 2:38.45 in the 800-meter run to win it, while Taylor Ellenbecker won the 3,000-meter run in a time of 12:00.68.
"We set some more PRs," Corum said. "Our distance people stepped up and ran unbelievable. That was huge.
"It was a good night for us," he said. "We put some girls in some uncomfortable spots and asked them to get out of their comfort zone. It was a fun night and after it was over, that trophy was, wow. It was pretty special for the girls."