South Tama spins new records

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD • South Tama County’s Allison Yuska jumps over her second-to-last hurdle in the 400-meter hurdles Thursday at the East Marshall Mustang Relays in Le Grand. Yuska broke her own stadium and Relays record of 1 minute, 10.43 seconds, set a year ago, with a 1:08.10.

LE GRAND — The South Tama County girls’ track and field team is running as good as anybody in Class 3A right now, and half of it has to do with their demeanor off the track as it does on it.

Senior Shae Slaven said a big reason for the Trojans’ 98-point, second-place finish at the Mustang Relays on Thursday night — and success thus far this season — is due to exceptional team chemistry not only in the relay events, but inside and outside the oval as well.

“Lauren [Yuska] and I have handed off in the 4×100[-meter relay] for three years now, and we’re just so close,” Slaven said. “Even if we’re not running, we’re going to be out there cheering for each other. That really helped Ashton [Graham] coming out this year. She wasn’t out last year, but we welcomed her in because we have such great team chemistry. She was a natural addition to our relay.”

Graham helped set two new school records for the Trojans, running the second leg of the sprint medley relay.

From Slaven to Graham, to Lauren to Allison Yuska, the Trojans clocked 1 minute, 52.45 seconds to set not only the STC school record, but the East Marshall track and Mustang Relays records as well. The previous mark of 1:55.86 was tallied two years ago, but now has a new owner.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KOENIGSFELD • East Marshall’s Melinda Puumala lands in the long jump pit for one of her attempts Thursday at the Mustang Relays. Puumala won the event with a leap of 16 feet, 5 1/4 inches.

From there, the shuttle hurdle relay of Lauren, Stacey Slaven, Graham and Allison set another STC campus record at 1:08.75.

Allison wrapped up the record-setting part of the afternoon, snapping the mark she set a year ago at the Mustang Relays in the 400 hurdles, by pacing through at 1:08.10.

But when she was coming around the final stretch to attack her last series of hurdles, the public-address announcer’s voice was muffled by someone louder.

“I could hear Jensen [Vodochodsky] screaming at me to run faster,” Allison said.

It’s true, Vodochodsky and company could frequently been seen leaning over the flags with members of other schools, willing their teammates on in every race. Stacey finished first in the high jump at 5 feet, 1 inch. She skipped her best mark of 5-2 and went for three attempts at 5-3, but couldn’t get over that bar.


“I try to be consistent at the higher heights, but it’s a lot of work,” Stacey said. “I’m just glad to be helping out the team and getting points.”

In all, STC competitors were part of five individual and relay wins. Sabrina Holtz took first place in the shot put with a throw of 35-2 and the 4×100 relay took first as well (52.20).

Vodochodsky had a little drama of her own, eliciting cheers of rivaling magnitude in the distance medley relay.

Getting the handoff in third and pacing her way along 10 or so meters back for most of her 800 leg, Vodochosky made a push in the final 100 meters, overtaking Bondurant-Farrar’s Taylor Bergrenn in the final 50 meters to take second place (4:51.95).

The senior mid-distance runner said she could hear her teammates loud and clear down the front stretch, while trying to make a memorable performance in front of a crowd egging her on to catch the next runner.


The Trojans edged out third-place Oskaloosa by one point (97 points).

East Marshall’s Melinda Puumala joined in on the record-setting day as well. She was first in the long jump at 16-5 1/4. The trick to Puumala’s pummeling jump, a leap that now sits as the sixth-best in the state, is that it was one of her first jumps of the 2017 season.

“She hasn’t jumped since the very beginning of the season,” said East Marshall girls’ head coach Trent Taylor. “The first time we get outside and she popped a mid-16 [foot jump], which probably pushed her right up to the top one or two in the district. Mid-16 this time of year, shoot, that’s doing pretty well.”

Puumala battled some ACL issues through the beginning part of this year and has undergone rigorous physical therapy for it, Taylor said. The mental and physical toughness with the results yielding a top-10, 2A jump can be shown as an example to the rest of the Mustangs who are starting to find their identities in their respective events.

As a team, East Marshall was tied for sixth with BGM at 35 points. Puumala garnered 12.25 of those points, with Madi Duncan having a solid race in the 800, taking fifth with a time of 2:47.64. Cindy Liera took fifth in the 1,500 (6:00.75) just missing the sub-five-minute mark, while Wendy Liera was seventh in the same event (6:05.41).


BCLUW’s Jenna Willet took runner-up to Puumala in the long jump, leaping for 16-1 1/2. Her best mark is eighth in the state at 16-4, and with a shorter jump than she hoped, she used “that anger” to propel her to a personal best time in the 400 hurdles (third place, 1:09.56).

“I wanted to do really good in the long jump, because when it’s colder, it’s hard to get warm and you don’t jump as well,” Willett said. “I did OK, I just want better. I always want better.”

There are some defining goals in Willett’s mind, like returning to the state meet like she did a year ago in the shuttle hurdle relay. But progress is the foremost mark she’s working on.

“In the 400 hurdles, the school record is 1:08-something,” Willett said. “I definitely think I can get that. In the long jump, I got my best-ever in 16-4, but I just want to get better.”

The Comets were led by Willett’s 16 points and grabbed 28 as a team to finish eighth.


Meskwaki Settlement’s Grace Tahahwah had a bright afternoon, taking first in the 100 (13.20) and second in the 200 (26.51) on Thursday. She scored 19 of the Warriors’ 25 ninth-place points, while nearing her season-best mark in the 200 (13.11).

Danielle Seymour grabbed six points in the shot put, throwing 30-5 3/4.

Colo-NESCO came through in 10th with 24 team points. Lauryn Hill led the way for the Royals, who have been battling injuries for the better part of the season, with 6.25 points.

Hill was third in the high jump at 4-10, and eighth in the 100 hurdles at 18.02.

“We’ve got a little bit of the injury bug,” said Colo-NESCO head coach Josh Nessa. “I don’t have three of my best runners today and at the last meet. If we can get over the injury bug, we’ll be OK.”

Hill’s mark at 5-2 in the high jump set a new school record over in Colo earlier this week. Nessa’s confidence will hopefully do a part in nursing the Royals back to health before the district meet in May.

Alexis Britten did her part in the 3,000, coming in third (12:51.56). Angela Brinkman also helped out scoring with a point in the 400 hurdles, coming in sixth (1:15.41).

The Union girls won the meet with 130 team points, while Oskaloosa finished third (97) and Nevada was fourth (54).

2017 Mustang Relays

At Le Grand

Team Standings — 1. Union 130, 2. South Tama County 98, 3. Oskaloosa 97, 4. Nevada 54, 5. Montezuma 48, 6. BGM 35, 6. East Marshall 35, 8. BCLUW 28, 9. Meskwaki Settlement 25, 10. Colo-NESCO 24, 11. Bondurant-Farrar 15.


100 — 1. Grace Tahahwah, MESK, 13.20; 2. Maggie Driscol, UNION, 13.51; 3. Shae Slaven, STC, 13.57; 4. Riley Gatton, ZUMA, 13.77; 5. Sydney Handsaker, NEV, 13.77; 6. Kaley Burchland, EM, 13.81.

200 — 1. Anna Garwood, UNION, 25.97; 2. Grace Tahahwah, MESK, 26.51; 3. Ashton Graham, STC, 27.18; 4. Shateah Wetering, ZUMA, 27.39; 5. Megan Hudson, UNION, 27.78; 6. Helena Stenzel, BGM, 28.14.

400 — 1. Shateah Wtering, ZUMA, 1:00.37; 2. Grace Assmussen, UNION, 1:04.78; 3. Emma Alexander, BGM, 1:07.47; 4. Emma Carlson, UNION, 1:07.82; 5. Kacie Rewerts, NEV, 1:08.97, 6. Kaitlyn Riha, STC, 1:09.09.

800 — 1. Rachel Hawkins, BGM, 2:35.93; 2. Madison Frush, UNION, 2:39.30; 3. Veronica Bolibaugh, OSKY, 2:39.84; 4. Jadyn Wiest, UNION, 2:45.58; 5. Madi Duncan, EM, 2:47.64; 6. Leah Wilcox, OSKY, 2:49.53.

1,500 — 1. Kacie Rewerts, NEV, 5:28.61; 2. Jensen Vodochodsky, STC, 5:33.45; 3. Sienna DeJong, OKSY, 5:39.90; 4. Emma Alpers, UNION, 5:47.00; 5. Cindy Liera, EM, 6:00.75; 6. Kaylee Kruse, ENV, 6:04.67.

3,000 — 1. Lauren Coon, OSKY, 11:42.58; 2. Sienna DeJong, OSKY, 11:47.80; 3. Alexis Britten, CN, 12:51.56; 4. Wendy Liera, EM, 12:54.99; 5. Emma Shirk, UNION, 12:57.51; 6. Cindy Liera, EM, 13:14.88.

100 Hurdles — 1. Megan Hudson, UNION, 15.82; 2. Lauren Yuska, STC, 16.55; 3. Kaitlin Holschlag, UNION, 16.84; 4. Marian Coover, BGM, 17.21; 5. Ashton Graham, STC, 17.54; 6. Olivia Hughes, BCLUW, 17.66.

400 Hurdles — 1. Allison Yuska, STC, 1:08.10; 2. Emma Kelderman, OSKY, 1:09.44; 3. Jenna Willett, BCLUW, 1:09.56; 4. Alexis Westercamp, OSKY, 1:12.44; 5. McKaylie Coleman, EM, 1:12.89; 6. Angela Brinkman, CN, 1:15.41.

4×100 — 1. STC 52.20; 2. UNION 52.20; 3. NEV 53.09; 4. ZUMA 53.82; 5. BCLUW 55.07; 6. EM 55.22.

4×200 — 1. UNION 1:52.75; 2. BGM 1:54.15; 3. ZUMA 1:55.39; 4. BF 1:55.57; 5. NEV 1:57.48; 6. EM 1:57.87.

4×400 — 1. ZUMA 4:20.93; 2. UNION 4:22.80; 3. OSKY 4:27.88; 4. BF 4:35.16; 5. EM 4:38.06; 6. CN 4:38.47.

4×800 — 1. UNION 10:42.27; 2. EM 10:54.49; 3. NEV 10:55.75; 4. OSKY 10:58.79; 5. ZUMA 11:08.47; 6. STC 11:23.91.

Shuttle Hurdle — 1. UNION 1:07.58; 2. STC 1:08.75; 3. BCLUW 1:12.07; 4. CN 1:13.92; 5. BGM 1:14.71; 6. EM 1:16.99.

Sprint Medley — 1. STC 1:52.45; 2. UNION, 1:55.81; 3. NEV 1:59.16; 4. OSKY 2:00.14; 5. ZUMA 2:05.83; 6. BCLUW 2:06.06.

Distance Medley — 1. OSKY 4:46.45; 2. STC 4:51.95; 3. BF 4:52.28; 4. CN 5:03.89; 5. UNION 5:06.52; 6. UNION, 5:08.38.

High Jump — 1. Stacy Slaven , STC, 5-1; 2. Ava VandeWall, OSKY, 5-0; 3. Lauryn Hill, CN, 4-10; 4. Emma Kelderman, OSKY, 4-10; 5. Kacie Rewerts, NEV, 4-10; 6. Shelby Conger, ZUMA, 4-8.

Long Jump — 1. Melinda Puumala, EM, 16-5 1/4; 2. Jenna Willett, BCLUW, 16-1 1/2; 3. Kaitlin Holschlag, UNION, 15-10; 4. Riley Gatton, ZUMA, 15-6 3/4; 5. Hailee Brown, UNION, 15-6 1/2; 6. Grace Tahahwah, MESK, 15-1 1/2.

Shot Put — 1. Sabrina Holtz, STC, 35-2; 2. Lexy Kodelka, NEV, 32-5 1/2; 3. Danielle Seymour, MESK, 30-5 3/4; 4. Aimee Hochstetler, BGM, 30-3 3/4; 5. Maliyah Martin, OSKY, 30-1/2; 6. Kaylee Seitzer, BF, 29-10 1/4.