Meskwaki’s Tahahwah paces 100 qualifiers

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSEFLD • Meskwaki Settlement senior Grace Tahahwah, left, leans for the finish line in front of Debi Hiserote from Siouxland Community Christian during their heat of the Class 1A 100-meter dash on Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Tahahwah qualified for Saturday’s finals as the eighth seed.

DES MOINES — Grace Tahahwah took a very simple approach to her afternoon at the state track and field meet on Thursday: Run, and run a little faster.

Tahahwah continued a trend she set last year, becoming the first athlete to qualify for the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships in Meskwaki Settlement history. This year, she was back as the only qualifier but with a stronger and more determined attitude.

She ran a 26.08-second race in the Class 1A 200-meter dash, setting herself up in prime position for the finals Saturday. Her time was a season-best, as she came in seeded fourth with a 26.81. On Saturday, she’ll be the one everyone is chasing.

“My mindset was to come in here and do my best,” Tahahwah said. “And no matter what I do, I still made it to state. It’s really amazing, honestly. I’m the only one who made it, out of all the athletes that have come through. It’s just amazing. I didn’t know I was the top seed, but that’s music to my ears.”

Her best was definitely good enough Thursday, but with stormy conditions on deck for the weekend, Saturday’s finals could be drastically different from what she ran in Thursday.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSEFLD • Grundy Center’s Kyah Luhring takes a leap during the finals session of the long jump at Thursday’s Class 1A state track and field meet in Des Moines. Luhring was third with a jump of 16 feet, 2 3/4 inches.

That won’t bother her much, though, as she’s been in these trying conditions before.

Tahahwah was 17th at last year’s state meet, running a ‘sluggish’ 27.56 compared to her times this year. She didn’t make the finals and only qualified for the 200 as a junior. She’ll double up Saturday as she also ran an 8th-place qualifying time of 12.83 in the 100 to make the finals.

Tahahwah will be joined by another area athlete in Grundy Center’s Hailey Wallis in the 100. Wallis was second in her heat but managed to nab the fourth qualifying spot for Saturday. Her time of 12.70 had to go down to the thousandth of a second (12.702) to determine the positioning for the finals.

Top-seeded freshman Kyah Luhring also made her way into the long jump finals, placing third by the end of the afternoon with a jump of 16 feet 2 3/4 inches. Luhring was seeded with a personal best 17-7 from the district meet, and the field was chasing her.

She was joined by sister and teammate Landry Luhring, who took 12th in the long jump at 15-5.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSEFLD

The Grundy Center trio will have its hands full today as they’re part of three relay events (4×200-meter relay, distance medley and 4×400 relay).

The AGWSR girls were as successful as anyone Thursday, acquiring eight team points and sitting in a tie for seventh heading into day two.

Five of those points came from Aubrie Fisher, who is joining teammate Bethany Lippert in the quadruple qualify. Fisher took fourth in the 3,000, running a 10:54.02. It was her first of two events Thursday. Lippert was 11th, running 11:18.40.

A year ago, Lippert was second at state in the 3,000 with a time of 11:09.19. She said she wasn’t too disappointed in the regression of placing, despite running only a bit slower this year. Her 11:18.40 this year would’ve been good enough for third last year.

She ended up turning around to run the third leg of the 4×800 relay for the Cougars, which took sixth in 10:09.17.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSEFLD

“I’m feeling pretty good, actually,” Lippert said. [Fisher and Lippert] did it all the time in the meets. There was actually a longer break, so that was nice. We were fresher. But I guess I’m just so proud of us. We cut our time down by so much and that’s so awesome, because you can’t always do that.”

The AGWSR 4×800’s previous best was around the 10:16 mark.

Other girls 1A action

The Colo-NESCO girls got things started off right away with the shuttle hurdle relay — the first event of the day. The relay, comprised of Lindsey Riese, Hallie Riese, Grace Stalzer and Angela Brinkman, took 12th in 1:11.40, but were unable to qualify for the Saturday finals.

GMG’s Kyla Wilkening had similar runnings in the 3,000 as Lippert, as she ran an 11:22.07 to take 14th in the near-two-mile event. Wilkening was third behind Lippert a year ago in 11:21.23, but a stout 3,000 field had other plans for the Wolverine junior.

Across the stadium and in the shot put field was GMG senior Sydney Sorem, who made her state meet appearance. She took 19th with a throw of 34-11 3/4.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s sole female qualifier was Lily Ehlers, who came through in 16th in 11:31.94 in the 3,000. Ehlers is just a sophomore and will seek to push a pack of youth during next year’s season.

Team Standings

1A — 1. Springville, Lawton-Bronson, East Mills, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Central Community 10, 6. Sidney 9, 7. AGWSR, Logan-Magnolia, Iowa Valley, Clarksville, North Butler, Montezuma 8; 13. Grundy Center 6.