Area schools send three to state
After a year with no high school track season, track and field athletes from both Gladbrook-Reinbeck and GMG high school will have an opportunity to compete with some of the best in the state later this week.
At last Thursday’s state-qualifying district meet in Grundy Center, G-R senior Belen Ellenberger emerged as the lone Rebel advancing on to state, with district wins in the long jump and the 200 meter dash. Her fourth place finish in the 400 meter dash also qualified among the top 24 times in Class 1A.
Ellenberger ran track in middle school and returned to the sport in her senior year after focusing on soccer as a freshman and sophomore. After a year where no spring sports took place, Ellenberger said she’s enjoyed the challenge of preparing and competing against varsity athletes.
“I would describe this season as fun,” Ellenberger said. “I’m a very competitive person, I enjoy the environment and having other people around me just pushed me to do better.”
The senior will head to Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Friday afternoon for all three of her state events. In the long jump she’ll come in as the second seeded 1A athlete with a qualifying jump of 16-07.50, behind Molly Joyce of Bishop Garrigan Catholic who qualified with a jump of 17-06.75.
The Wolverines meanwhile, qualified two athletes in three field events competing at the state qualifying meet in Belle Plaine. Freshman Sydney Vavroch narrowly missed a first place district finish in the long jump last week with a jump of 16-07.00. She still ended up with the fourth longest jump in Class 1A and will advance on to join Ellenberger at the Blue Oval Friday afternoon.
Senior thrower Conner Murty was the other Wolverine to qualify for the state meet, winning the discus event with a throw of 140-08 and the shot put event with a throw of 43-00.50.
Coming off a lengthy wrestling season where he made it onto the podium at the state tournament in late February, Murty said he’s just now rounding into form with his throwing after a slow period in April.
“It’s been up and down,” Murty said. “I got my personal record early and didn’t come close to that distance through most of the season. At the conference I threw all right, then I grew a mustache and threw well at districts. I hope to replicate what I did at districts this week at state.”
The competition for Murty looks to get steeper in Des Moines as his qualifying district throws placed 9th and 24th in the discus and shot put respectively. Murty will compete first on Friday in the shot put and again on Saturday in the discus event.
In team competition, none of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck or GMG teams finished higher than 10th place at their district meets last Thursday.
GMG’s Angel Schewe notched a pair of top three finishes, running third in the 800 meter run and second in the 1500 meter run. She also helped the Wolverines distance medley relay to a third place finish. Schewe narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet in the 1500 with a finish time that was less than one second away from the final 1A qualifying slot.
Other GMG top finishers at the district meet included Layne Murty who finished third in the discus throw and was three inches short of a state qualifying slot, and Noah Ratliff who came in fifth in the 200 meter dash.
Apart from Ellenberger, the Rebels top district finishers included Caleb Egesdal who ran fourth in the 800 meter run and Logan Giesking who finished fifth in the high jump. Giesking has enjoyed a successful sophomore season, taking home gold in the high jump a handful of times in the regular season. The competition at the Grundy Center district meet was significant however, with three state qualifiers finishing in the top 10 among all Class 1A qualifiers.