Highs and lows for Saints at state trackMay 30, 2021 12:53PM ● By Kristi Nixon
DES MOINES — Ups and downs were had by the Saint girls and boys track and field teams in the Class 1A state meet in Des Moines last weekend.
Coach Drew Clevenger’s boys team finished sixth overall, earning 27 team points as Riley Witt earned four state medals for the biggest highlight.
Witt admitted he tried his kick a little early in the 800 as he went from second to fourth in the event Saturday afternoon.
“I got out faster than I’ve ever gotten out on an 800 before,” Witt said. “It felt good to run it fresh on that last lap, I tried kicking with 300 (meters) left and It might have been a little too soon because I died out on the last 15 meters.
“Probably not (a good idea) but I gave it everything I had). No regrets.”
Witt, who said the 1,600 was his race, had to compete in it as the skies just opened up and dumped on all competitors as he ran to 4 minutes, 34.50 seconds, a season-best by three seconds for fifth.
“I like that race the best,” Witt said after the 800, “hopefully I’ll be fresh enough to do well.”
The Saint girls’ shuttle hurdle relay team improved on their preliminary time and place to run to sixth and medal out of difficult lanes (seven and eight) and the first heat.
“It was a lot easier run than the Thursday,” anchor Aspen Falk said, “even though the Thursday was an adrenaline rush because of the rain, I got my PR, which is great.”
Kennedy Schwiesow, who ran the second leg added, “I thought it felt really good and Sarah got us out to a good start. It’s exciting.
“Everybody works hard together and make us better at practices.”
Sarah Wagner, who led off the relay said even though her race wasn’t clean, it went well.
“ I tripped a little, but I kept going and I it went pretty good,” Wagner said. “It’s amazing (to medal); I never thought it would happen.
“It’s because of our coach, pushes us hard.”
The Saints were third in the heat heading into the anchor.
“I knew going into the third leg I knew I had to keep that lead as well as I could,” said Bri Minnis. “It’s awesome and I can’t wait for next year.”
Following that up was a state runner-up finish and school record time for the girls’ 4x400 as the Saints scored 11 points to place 25th tied with two other teams.
St. Ansgar ran to 4:09.77 for the runner-up place and record.
Freshman anchor Cora Heeter, whose split was 1:00.929 said, “It’s unbelievable. I’m so happy. I’m really impressed with us.
“I think the future is really bright. We have a lot of good runners coming up and I know good things will happen.”
The team also included Hannah Clevenger, Natalie Bork and the lone senior on the team, who ran the third leg, was Taylor Hanna.
“It’s amazing,” Hanna said. “I’m so excited to get a school record It was amazing. I think it was perfect, because it was hot the whole and then (after it rained) it cooled it down. It was perfect running weather.
“I’m excited for them the next few years.”
Braden Powers, who followed up a seventh-place finish in the 200-meter dash final in 23.26 ran with Bradley Hackenmiller, Derek Peterson and Ryan Cole to finish seventh in the 4x400 to cap the meet.
“I felt fine (after coming back from the 200),” Powers said. “Maybe (was) a little bit tired, but just knowing it was my last race of my high school career, I was really ready to go, so I was ready.”
Powers, who will run at NIACC, finished his career with five state medals, three to complete his senior season.
“It was definitely good running with these guys, I’m going to miss it a lot,” Powers said. “Thankful God blessed me with all that I got and am ready for the next chapter.”
Lead-off runner Hackenmiller said. “Our main goal was to get here to state and then we got here, our goal was to medal, so we completed our two main goals. Fell short of the third one, but that’s the way it goes.”
Cole, the anchor, added, “It wasn’t what we wanted, we were really thinking 20 (seconds) off, but it was just fun running one last time with my buddies to get a medal.”
An emotional Derek Peterson took time to put his thoughts together knowing it was the end to his high school career.
“I’ll never compete as a Saint again,” Peterson said. “Last time I’ll wear this Saints jersey. It’s been a fun four years, we gave it our best and came out with a medal, so top-eight in the state for 1A, so that’s good.”