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STC’s Tyynismaa continues strong debut

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - South Tama County senior Stacey Slaven, left, makes a handoff with freshman JoJo Tyynismaa during the Class 3A 4x100-meter relay on day two of the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium on Friday. The Trojan girls qualified for the final in the 4x100, while Tyynismaa also made the final in the 100 hurdles.

DES MOINES — South Tama County freshman JoJo Tyynismaa might be competing in her first Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships, but she is running like a seasoned veteran.

Tyynismaa continued to turn heads on day two of the Class 3A competition at Drake Stadium by adding two more finals qualifications under her belt in the 100-meter hurdles and 4×100 relay.

She earned the right to run for her first individual state medal in the 100 hurdles, her first event on Friday, by winning her heat with a time of 15.35 seconds. That was both a career best for the young Trojan phenom and the third-fastest time run in the preliminaries.

The beginning of day two featured a heavy rain as well, which she said usually makes the hurdles tougher.

“It was pouring, I started and was getting in my blocks and I was in a puddle,” Tyynismaa said. “I just thought, ‘OK, I am just going to have to run out and try my hardest, hopefully I don’t fall or slip or anything,’ that’s what I was hoping for from that race. Running a personal record and qualifying for finals, that was definitely a good thing.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Tyynismaa capped her day with a third qualification, as she and teammates Ashton Graham, Caitlyn Stochl and Stacey Slaven ran a season-best 50.59 to take the seventh seed, missing out on a sixth seeding by two thousandths of a second.

The South Tama freshman will be busy on the final day of competition today since she is running for medals in the 100 hurdles, shuttle hurdle and 4×100, but she said she’d rather have a busy day.

“It’s very exciting, I really felt like this was just another meet for me since I qualified in four events, so it just keeps me active and hopefully my earlier races just prepare me for the later ones,” she said.

Tyynismaa just missed out on a fourth medal as well, as she placed 10th in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:07.69.

“It was raining for that race so it was a little rough, but everyone was running in the rain so I just felt like I had to do the best I could do and stay with those girls who had faster seed times than me and run with them,” she said.

Stochl will also be busy as she runs in both shuttle hurdle and 4×100, something she still has a hard time believing.

“It feels great, like really, really great,” she said.

Even though she will take any medal she can get, Stochl said she is more pumped about one of the races than the other.

“I am more excited for the shuttle hurdle, but I’m definitely excited for the shuttle hurdle too,” Stochl, who runs the anchor for the school-record holding shuttle hurdle team, said.

Tyynismaa and Stochl are the two underclassmen on the 4×100 team, with Graham and Slaven both being seniors, and she said getting to run with Tyynismaa makes her excited for the future.

“Oh my gosh, she is like the top-notch dog here,” Stochl said. “I’m like, ‘I’ve got to warm up with JoJo, maybe if I warm up with her I’ll get better.'”