GRUNDY CENTER - The Spartans have loaded up to again make their presence known at the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships.
Grundy Center is one of the Class 1A girls leaders with 13 entries at the state meet, which starts today at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
The Spartans earned their impressive haul, one year after sending 17 entries to state, after winning their second straight regional team title at last week's state-qualifying meet.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
The Grundy Center girls’ track and field team has 13 entries in the Class 1A portion of the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships, starting today in Des Moines. Front row from left: Zoe Johanns, Jessica Ackerson, Sarah Johns, Shawna Springer, Abbie Delagardelle, Raymi Ackerman and Riley Sents; back row: Erica Buck, Meghan Krausman, Riley Ackerman, Annie Delagardelle, Sarah Frisch, Hannah Stumberg and Sam Meyers.
"It's very exciting to have this many girls going to state," said Grundy Center head coach Todd Rohler. "I never dreamed we would get that many events down there again. Then the girls really rose up and ran well. I'm really proud of how they competed."
A couple ninth-place finishes (one spot out of medaling) helps add to the motivation this go round.
"We had four seniors last year and with the girls that were coming back we just told them for some of you this is your first time down here, and they were disappointed with how they performed a little bit," Rohler said. "We had two relays that finished ninth and didn't get a state medal. They set goals to be back and now they are."
Grundy Center has seven individual event qualifiers, led by senior Zoe Johanns (1,500 meters and 3,000 meters) and junior Erica Buck (400 hurdles and high jump) both making state in two events.
Riley Ackerman is the top seeded of the Spartans' individuals as she has the No. 6-qualifying time in the 400. Abbie Delagardelle is in the 800 field and Hannah Stumberg is in the 1,500.
The Spartans will take to the blue oval at Drake Stadium in six of the seven relays - each of the non-hurdle events. In four of those relays, Grundy Center is seeded in the top 5.
At the state-qualifier, Sarah Johns, Shawna Springer, Meghan Krausman and Ackerman ran 1 minute, 54.05 seconds for the No. 3-seed in the sprint medley.
Abbie Delagardelle, Annie Delagardelle, Sarah Frisch and Stumberg are fourth in the 4x800 after a 9:58.94 clocking, within 5 seconds of the school record.
Fifth-seeded are both the Spartans' 4x400 (Stumberg, Jessica Ackerson, Ackerman and Frisch, 4:11.44) and the distance medley (Krausman, Sam Meyers, Frisch and Stumberg, 4:24.30).
"Getting there is the hard part," Rohler said. "Now that you've made state you have to go out and enjoy it and know that anything can happen."