STC shows well in state opener

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - South Tama County senior Stacey Slaven clears a hurdle during the Class 3A shuttle hurdle relay in the Iowa Co-Ed Track and Field Championships on Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Slaven and teammates JoJo Tyynismaa, Gracie Vest and Caitlyn Stochl ran a school-record time of 1 minute, 6.78 seconds to qualify for the finals on Saturday.

DES MOINES — The South Tama County track and field teams had five total events on the schedule for day one of the Iowa Co-Ed Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium, and three of the five left their mark on the Blue Oval.

The girls shuttle hurdle team of JoJo Tyynismaa, Stacey Slaven, Gracie Vest and Caitlyn Stochl got things started by running a new school-record time of 1 minute, 6.78 seconds to qualify fourth for the Class 3A finals on Saturday, then senior Keith Keahna placed fifth for the Trojan boys in the high jump with a height of 6 feet, 5 inches.

Fellow senior Slaven earned the first placing for the girls in the high jump as well by also taking fifth with a height of 5-4, her best height in three trips to state.

Slaven, who was fourth place each of the last two years despite not hitting 5-4, said it was a shock to her when she cleared the height on her second attempt.

“I was really scared, honestly I wasn’t really expecting that. I knew I would have to jump 5-4 to do well, so on 5-2 I was really stressed out,” she said. “The heat was getting to me and I was kind of freaking out, but when I got it I said, ‘OK, drink some water, restart here,’ and then I hit 5-4 and was super happy with that.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - South Tama’s JoJo Tyynismaa clears her third hurdle during the Class 3A shuttle hurdle relay race on Thursday in Des Moines. The Trojans set a new school record time to qualify for Saturday’s finals.

When Slaven was jumping in the early afternoon the temperatures were reaching their record-setting numbers, but in the morning during the shuttle hurdle the girls had great weather, which led to their season-best and school-best time.

“That was crazy, I was super excited from the start to run the shuttle, so when we got our personal record and school-record time, I was just overjoyed,” Slaven said.

Tyynismaa, who is seeded third in the 100-meter hurdles, started the race off with a great split and Slaven followed suit.

“I guess I know when I feel fast, and I felt fast today and ran my fastest split I’ve ever ran,” Slaven said. “As I was watching everyone else I was like, ‘heck yeah, we are going to do good today.'”

While Slaven and the rest of the girls were ecstatic about their performances, Keahna wasn’t as happy with his showing in the high jump. Keahna entered the field as the defending state champion, and his first two jumps at 6-1 an 6-3 were clean and clear.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

He faltered his first time at 6-5 but went up and over on his second jump, but he wasn’t able to replicate that at 6-7.

“I knew I had to try and get it on my first attempt to keep my name at the top of the placings,” he said. “That first miss I knew what I had to fix, tried to put it together on the second jump and that was close, I think I hit it on the way down a little bit so I knew I had to push the hips. That last attempt, that was heartbreaking when I hit the bar. It took me a little while to compose myself and get up, but it’s OK, three top-five finishes in my career here at state and I couldn’t be any more proud.”

Keahna was clearly devastated by not being able to defend his title, but he still had another race later in the afternoon with the open 400. He came out and turned in a solid time with a 53.04 to place 18th, and he said what helped him get his mind right was getting among his people.

“It was just spending time in the stands with my family and friends and teammates. I was with my cousin, Sonny Demarce, and he made me laugh a couple of times and it cleared my mind a little bit and got my mind off of high jump,” he said. “Also my girlfriend, Morgan Haughey, was up there to give me support and say how good of a job I did. Everyone is still proud of me and how I did, it’s not what I wanted this morning but I couldn’t be any prouder of what I’ve accomplished.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON