Rebels round out one sport at state

DES MOINES — Qualifying for state track and field events is hard enough when you train and compete for it all year long, with undivided attention. Thus was not the case for the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ team this weekend in the Class 1A meet.

Junior Walker Thede said nearly 85 percent of the track and field team out of Reinbeck is comprised of dual-sport athletes who have spent this season competing in more than one sport. But that hasn’t stopped them from pursuing their goals.

“About 85 percent of our team dual-sports in soccer,” Thede said. “Originally we thought we’d come out here, make a team and have some fun. But to be able to come down here and … Parker [Bown]’s got four events. I’ve got three, and everyone coming down here in multiple events, it’s been a lot of fun.”

The Rebels took 20th in the sprint medley relay, running a 1 minute, 38.60-second race. That capped off a weekend that saw the 4×800 relay take 19th (8:38.69), Erik Knaack finish 13th in the long jump (18 feet, 10 3/4 inches), the 4×200 finish 18th (1:34.37) and the 4×400 finish 16th (3:34.12). It all collimated in the sprint medley.

Knaack said he’s recognized the tole it takes to be a dual-sport athlete, especially in soccer. But said he would do it again if he had to.

“It’s really hard, it’s really taxing on your body,” Knaack said. “You’ve got to go to track practice, then you’ve got to go to soccer. And we can’t always go as hard as we want to in soccer because we’re dead tired from track. It’s not easy but we wanted to do it for the team.”

GMG’s Ethan Karsjen ended up being the only Wolverine state qualifier on the boys’ side. He said despite not finding a state medal this year, he’s still feeling pretty accomplished.

“It’s a great honor, and I feel the track team for the past couple years has been dwindling,” Karsjen said. “Honestly, with me getting her, I think I’m going to spark the track team. I want to get those younger kids inspired. I’m right next to them, only a couple years older.”

Karsjen was 19th in the 800-meter run. He ran a 2:05.35, and said the moment he got to the start line, his mind was a blank slate, ready to race.

“It’s fun to run and run races and compete,” Karsjen said. “They say when you get to the line and have a plan, throw it out. Then just run. It’s a little difficult at times, but I try not to put myself on a pedestal. I just want all the kids from my school to get here. I got up to the line today and thought, ‘I got here. I made it to state. That’s all the matters.”

Other 1A boys’ action

Austin Rekward rounded out a weekend to remember for the AGWSR boys’ track and field team. Rekward was 10th in the 800, running 2:01.93. As a team, the Cougars were sixth with 33 points. Of that total, 26 of them came from state title champions Nathan Karsjens (discus) and Caleb Meinders (shot put).

The weekend saw a battle for the team race, but ultimately, the Cougars ran out of medalist events. Rekward was the only Saturday competitor for AGWSR.

Grundy Center had Finn Cleveland in the 800, running 2:02.42 and coming through in 11th, just behind Rekward. The Spartans also touted Derek Ciddio in the 1,600, running 4:47.41, placing 20th in his first state meet appearance.

Colo-NESCO also sent its final state qualifier into Saturday with Caleb Cobbs running the 1,600. The junior distance runner took 14th with a 4:41.33, just two days after a ninth-place 3,200 where he ran a 10:00.27.

Team Standings

1A — 1. Lisbon 89, 2. Pekin 45, 3. Central Lyon 43, 4. Sigourney 37, 5. Hudson 36, 6. St. Ansgar 33, 7. AGWSR 33, 8. North Union 26, 9. BGM 25, 10. Fremont-Mills 23; 35. Grundy Center 5.