Trojans triumph on home track
West Marshall defends conference title for seventh-straight meet crown
STATE CENTER — It seemed like it had been a century since West Marshall High School hosted a track meet. But on a newly renovated track and some freshly mowed grass, the Trojan girls’ track and field team wasted no time securing its first win on the new surface as it won the 2017 NICL West Division title Thursday with 171 points.
Led by senior Allison Hilleman, the Trojans continued their domination on the track and in the field events on their way to back-to-back conference titles. The Trojans have now won seven-straight meets and are 8-for-9 this season.
“We just work so hard, so it shows how hard we’ve worked,” Hilleman said. “We’ve earned it.”
Hilleman added some personal accolades to her resume as she set a new NICL West record in the 200-meter dash, running a 26.00-second race, beating out teammate Emma Meyer (27.36) for the conference title. She also won the 100 dash (12.73) and was the third leg in the first-place sprint medley relay (Maddy Vawter, Avril Sinning, Hilleman and Kayla Cripps; 1:52.89).
“It’s my last season and I’ve really worked hard the last couple years,” Hilleman said. “These were a couple of the goals I had and I’ve just been working so hard for it. It’s finally coming along.”
The sprint medley was also accompanied by the 4×100 (Emma Meyer, Vawter, Sinning and Cripps; 52.89) and the 4×800 relay (Sinning, Hana Hohnstein, Georgia Porter and Shannon Breja; 10:21.94) as relay conference titles on Thursday.
West Marshall girls’ head coach Cynthia Hilleman — who was named the 2017 Coach of the Year — said the biggest testament to the Trojans’ success this season has been their depth.
“We have a very diverse team. We had good throwers and jumpers, and then we had a really good distance group and sprinters group,” Cynthia said. “So, we could really mix them all up. We could just run everything.”
Cripps helped out individually with a conference title of her own, as she won the 400 in a time of 1:01.97. Isabelle Gradwell also had an individual conference title in the 100 hurdles, running a 15.98.
AGWSR’s Aubrie Fisher won the NICL West Athlete of the Year as she won three conference titles in the 800 (2:29.59), 1,500 (5:12.19) and the 3,000 (11:15.69). To top it all off, she helped anchor the 4×800 relay that took second place as well (10:34.45).
Fisher said the distance events are deeper this year, and with teammate Bethany Lippert — who finished second to Fisher in the 1,500 and 3,000 — in her pocket most of the way, she’ll be able to have some peak performances in the coming weeks.
“It’s awesome [to have three conference titles],” Fisher said. “That was my goal coming into the meet this year, and I knew I had the ability to win all three events. I told myself, “You’re going to do it. This year, you don’t want to wait.’ I just wanted to do it now.”
Fisher said she’s got her eyes set on qualifying in at least all three of those same title-winning events Thursday at the district qualifier, and possibly adding another in a relay later in her career.
Lippert wasn’t runner-up all night, though. She took first place in the high jump, clearing 5 feet for the conference title. The AGWSR distance medley of Addison Johnson, Anna Jaspers, Ali Gerbracht and Haley Bakker also earned a conference title, running a 4:37.36.
The Cougars were second with 103 points.
The Grundy Center girls weren’t done setting records either. A week after they broke the school mark in the 4×200, the squad of Kyah Luhring, Brooke Flater, Landry Luhring and Hailey Wallis did it again, running a 1:49.38, a new school record, and a new NICL West record. The Spartans took third overall as a team with 80 points.
Kyah Luhring also won the long jump, going for a leap of 16-2 and led off the first-place 4×400 relay that ran a 4:12.83 in the process.
East Marshall’s girls were a point back with 79 team points, finishing fourth. The Mustangs were led by McKaylie Coleman, who placed second in the 400 hurdles (1:11.46) and anchored the fourth-place 4×400 relay team (4:35.26).
The 4×100 relay of Genesis Wanatee, Brittany Anderson, Madi Duncan and Kaley Burchland also took second in a time of 54.52.
The fifth-place team of BCLUW found its lone individual champion in Jenna Willett, who won the 400 hurdles in a time of 1:09.69. She was also second in the long jump at 16-1/2.
The Comets’ shuttle hurdle team of Olivia Hughes, Samantha Ubben, Kiersten Kruse and Willet won its event in a time of 1:11.78.
South Hardin’s Brylie Zeisneiss is less than a week removed from a medalist finish at the Drake Relays and doubled in winning conference titles in the shot put (39-1 1/4), and the discus (109-5). Emma Gourley had a runner-up finish in the 400 (1:04.14) and two third s in the 200 (27.54) and the 100 (13.29). The Tigers finished sixth as a team with 61 points.
The Gladbrook-Reinbeck girls were seventh with 17 points, 16 of which came from Lily Ehlers. She was third in the 800 (2:34.63), third in the 3,000 (11:48.86) and fourth in the 1,500 (5:33.79). The Rebels got a point from Sadie Cahalan, Morgan Kupka, Morgan Kelley and Kaylah McDonough in the 4×100, finishing sixth (1:06.85).