Bulldogs qualify for state track and field in five events

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Cullen McShane (left) is headed to state in the 100 meter dash, while Karter Decker qualified in all three sprint events: the 100, 200 and 400. (Photos by Audrey Posten)

MFL MarMac’s 800 sprint medley team of Wyatt Powell (left), Cullen McShane, Colin Moses and Karter Decker qualified for state track after winning the relay at the May 13 district meet.

Jacob Trudo threw a personal best 45 feet, 8 inches in the shot put at districts. The effort was enough to qualify him for state.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Members of the MFL MarMac boys track and field team have qualified for state in five different events. That includes the 800 sprint medley relay team of Wyatt Powell, Cullen McShane, Colin Moses and Karter Decker, as well as individual qualifiers Decker in the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes, McShane in the 100 meter dash and Jacob Trudo in the shot put.


Qualification was based on the Bulldogs’ efforts at the district meet at Edgewood-Colesburg on May 13. Head coach Kyle Kirkestue credited the meet’s great conditions and atmosphere for some of the success, but said the athletes were also inspired by what was on the line.


“It was their last chance to get down to that blue oval, and it really motivated those guys to push themselves and find that other gear,” he shared.


Nowhere was that more evident than in the first track event of the night, the 800 sprint medley relay. The team was sitting in fifth place going into the final 200 meters when Decker found that extra gear, edging Turkey Valley for first place and cementing a school record time of 1:37.16.


“[Karter] buckled down, gritted his teeth and finished strong,” said Kirkestue. “He and the Turkey Valley kid both fell at the finish line because they both wanted that number one spot.”


When Decker got the baton with his 400-meter leg left, his goal was simply to gain ground on the leader. 


“I hoped I could get him the last 200,” he said. “The last 50 meters, my legs were just giving out on me, and I kept stumbling. But I dove at the end and got him. It was worth it.”


Qualifying for state was especially meaningful for Moses, one of MFL MarMac’s seniors. His mom ran at Drake’s blue oval as a sophomore—also in the sprint medley.


“So it’s nice to be able to do the same event,” Moses said. “She was in tears. She was so proud of us and all the hard work we’ve done all year. It all came together right when it counted.”


Kirkestue said each member plays an important role in the relay. Powell has an edge, while McShane is a “utility guy” who can run either the 100 or 200.


“He’s just got that next step quickness we need in that spot,” Kirkestue explained. “Colin Moses is a guy who is going to help us stay in a position we need to stay in. He’s a security blanket type guy. Then Karter Decker is our hammer. For that race, you have to have a guy who can run that 400 meters. That’s how you make or break the race.”


According to Kirkestue, the win set the tone for the whole meet.


“That race has been the lifeblood of our season,” he remarked. “If that team has a great showing, it’s infectious for everybody.”


Decker went on to win the 100 and 200 meter dashes with respective times of 11.28 and 23.00—finishes that have him ranked fifth and ninth in Class 1A heading to Des Moines. He placed second in the 400 at districts, but punched his ticket to state with a time of 52.11, which is 14th best in Class 1A.


“Karter is probably one of the best sprinters MFL MarMac has had,” said Kirkestue, who described the sophomore as mentally tough and a hard worker. “He takes practice time seriously and he is very focused on honing his craft. He’s detailed when he gets in the blocks and he visualizes himself running and crossing that finish line. He’s just so tuned in when he’s racing.”


Both Decker and Kirkestue agreed the 100 is Decker’s best race. He’s lost the event just once all season, to Decorah’s Haywood Stowe, who qualified for the 100 in Class 3A.


Decker said he likes the 100 because it’s easier and shorter, as well as the most fun. 


“And it’s the closest race usually,” he said.


His game plan for all three sprint events is largely the same.


“For the 100 and 200, it’s just a sprint the whole time, so you just go as hard as you can,” Decker shared. “The 400 is a sprint too, but you have to conserve yourself a little more for that one, and you have to take a little different approach.”


He’s humbled by the opportunity to compete in all three races at state, along with his rare feat of participating at the state level in three different sports—football, wrestling and track and field—in one school year.


“Not a lot of people have had that opportunity,” Decker said. “I love playing different sports, and not focusing on one thing too much. Different sports prepare you in different ways.”


Joining Decker in Des Moines in the 100 meter dash will be McShane, who placed second at districts with a time of 11.39, which is eighth best in Class 1A.


Kirkestue said McShane has been one of the team’s biggest surprises. The junior started the season running the 100, before Kirkestue transitioned him to more of a relay role.


“As the season went on, I kept thinking, ‘I need to put Cullen in that open 100.’ I’m glad I did. When I put him back in at Clayton Ridge, his best time was an 11.33. Right then I’m like, ‘This kid is going to qualify in the 100 meter dash,’” Kirkestue said. “The way he’s sitting now for qualifying, he’s the eighth fastest time in Class 1A. If those times don’t change, those would be our eight finalists. We have the potential to get both Cullen and Karter to the finals on Saturday.”


Rounding out MFL MarMac’s qualifiers is Trudo, a senior, who threw a personal best 45 feet, 8 inches in the shot put at districts. He was third in the event.


“That was awesome. He definitely deserved it,” said Kirkestue, who’s watched Trudo improve throughout the season. “The beginning of the year, he was throwing 39s, and then he hit a 40, then 42 and 43. At the state qualifying meet, he ended up throwing over 45 feet. That is his personal best by 1.5 feet. He’s gotten better every meet.”


Trudo will head to state ranked 18th.


The state track and field meet will take place Thursday through Saturday, May 20-22, at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.


Other district results

Several other MFL MarMac events fell just shy of qualifying for state, including the 4x800 relay group of Moses, Brandon Christofferson, Carver Blietz-Bentien and Cayden Ball, which placed third with a time of 8:56.02. Moses was also third in the long jump, based on a distance of 19 feet, 6.5 inches. In the 1600 meter run, Ball placed fourth after crossing the line at 4:59.28.


In other results:

•400 meter dash - Caleb Nordheim, fourth, 56.26

•400 hurdles - Tristen Koehn, fifth, 1:02.22

•800 meter run - Christofferson, eighth, 2:13.49

•4x100 - Team of Radloff, Powell, Moses and McShane, fourth, 47.31

•4x200 - Team of Powell, Radloff, Blietz-Bentien and Koehn, fifth, 1:41.82

•4x400 - Team of Cyrus Johnson, Victor Breuer, Izayah Streicher and Nordheim, seventh, 3:58.18

•1600 Distance Medley Relay - Team of Hunter Kugel, Johnson, Breuer and Streicher, eighth, 4:20.52

•Long Jump - Radloff, ninth, 16 feet, 9.5 inches

•Discus - Josh Reichard, eighth, 104 feet, 10 inches; Trudo, 11th, 98 feet, 4 inches


As a team, the Bulldogs finished second with 92 points, trailing only South Winn with 139 points. Kirkestue said he’s unsure the last time the team finished that high at districts—if ever.


“It’s been a whole group effort,” he said. “Everyone has scored points on our team. Each guy knows his race and what he needs to do to help the team. We’ve steadily creeped up and gotten better each meet.”

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