Yuska hits her mark for 2nd
STC senior up one place in 400 hurdles
DES MOINES — If Allison Yuska ran any faster, she would’ve blown right by her goal.
The South Tama County senior crossed the finish line at Drake Stadium after completing her final 400-meter hurdles event, just edging out Pella’s Kiki Pingel in the Class 3A race.
But it was her time, a 1 minute, 5.03 second race that elicited an outstretched arm pump toward the sky in jubilation. She finally clocked that 1:05 time that had been eluding her for a year.
“Since state last year. I always want to improve myself, and 1:05 was the next step,” Yuska said. “I was looking for the school record, but I’m just happy I got the 1:05.”
Yuska had a great start out of her blocks and said she was more self-aware of gradually getting into the race pace, rather than bursting into it like she did in Thursday’s open 400. She rounded Turn 4 in third, took the final hurdle and edged out Pingel, just second back of the state-title winning Katie Nimrod of Decorah (1:03.48).
“In the box, I was thinking, ‘Woah, I’m running at state,'” Yuska said. “And then the gun goes off and I’m in the zone, running as hard as I can. Then I got to the curve and realized I was in a really good position. I thought, ‘I’ve got to go really hard because I can do this.'”
A year ago, Yuska crossed the same line in third in the 400 hurdles, running a 1:06.28. It was that day she put the 1:05 mark in her head.
But even though the milestone had been reached, even that didn’t outweigh all the off the track experiences she’s had in the Trojan black and blue.
“Just being able to come here is such an honor in itself,” Yuska said. “I have memories of hanging out with my teammates, pushing each other and when we stay overnight at the hotel we play ping pong and swim. That’s always fun. They’re always pushing me, and I’m pushing them.”
Yuska has molded the 400 hurdles event into her own masterpiece at STC. And she wears that title confidently and proudly as she prepares to take her talents to the next level.
“It’s a hard race and being able to do them, and do them well, it’s so cool and an honor that people know me for doing 400 hurdles,” Yuska said.
A family affair
There was no holding back the smiles and laughter for South Tama County senior Sabrina Holtz when that medalist ribbon went around her neck.
The STC shot putter threw for 37 feet, 5 1/4 inches Friday to take sixth place in the Class 3A state track and field meet. Holtz, seeded fourth, was a year removed from coming into the state meet seeded last and winding up throwing 37-1 and finishing 10th. This year she was in the driver’s seat to continue the Holtz throwing legacy at the state meet.
“It’s a family tradition,” Holtz said. “My sister was a thrower and made it to state, placed in shot put twice, so a lot of my family is here. It’s just really exciting to follow in my sister’s footsteps.”
Her older sister, Samantha, holds the STC school record at 40-9 1/2. It’s that kind of passion the Holtz family has instilled in Sabrina, and that Sabrina has helped showcase during her senior season.
This year was definitely different than last, in the scope of being a highly-seeded thrower. Sabrina said she didn’t necessarily hold herself in the same regard, but put on display why she is one of the top 3A throwers in the state.
“It was really scary being seeded fourth coming in, and I guess I didn’t think of myself being that good,” Holtz said. “Pretty much, I just wanted to come in and get a medal and make finals. Going into finals, I just wanted to enjoy it because I’m not throwing in college. I just wanted to enjoy my last throws and have a good time.”
Enjoy it she did.
Holtz threw her sixth-place throw of 37-5 1/4 on her first toss in the ring. From there, it was all about having that fun and channeling the home-away-from-home crowd, just outside the ropes.
After the interviews concluded and the photo ops were put on pause, Sabrina embraced first with her sister, then with her mother, in only the loving fashion one can imagine after the curtain call on a storied season.
Holtz’s two points contributed to the team standings that see STC in sixth place after 10 scored events. The Trojans have 16 points as a team and are behind fifth-place North Polk (17) and fourth-place Wahlert (24). Davenport Assumption leads the Class 3A race with 37 points.
The STC 4×100 relay of Shae Slaven, Lauren Yuska, Stacey Slaven and Ashton Graham took 19th in a time of 52.11. The Trojans relay did not qualify for today’s finals.
GIRLS 3A — 1. Davenport Assumption 37, 2. Decorah 31, 3. Pellla 30, 4. Dubuque Wahlert 24, 5. North Polk 17, 6. South Tama County 16, 7. Sioux City Bishop Heelan 15, 8. Crestwood 14, 9. Spencer 13, 10. Humboldt 12.
BOYS 3A — 1. Marion 42, 2. Mount Vernon 41, 3. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 21, Carlisle 21, 5. Boone 20, Mount Pleasant 20, 7. Dallas Center-Grimes 18, 8. Gilbert 17, 9. Oskaloosa 14.75, 10. Central Clinton 13, Glenwood 13; 27. South Tama County 4.