Warrior ladies medal in 4x400 at state track and field meet

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Pictured at the state meet are coach Martha Bauder, Grace Kuehl, Allie Mussman, Kaitlyn Wiley, Jaydin Dettman, Haley Mueller, Brandy Beatty, Hannah Asche, Maddy Wille, McKenna Jaster, Delaney Scherf, Maci Kluesner, Lexi Loan, Gracie Cummer and coach Tom Wilwert. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Maddy Wille stumbles handing the baton off to Hannah Asche during the sprint medley relay.

Delaney Scherf (center) ran the 800 meter event at state, finishing 20th.

Gracie Cummer running in the rain during the shuttle hurdle relay.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central girls took their talents to the state track and field meet May 20-22, and while they didn’t come back with a win, they represented the school, the community and their award-winning coach Martha Bauder extremely well. 


The team started the events on Thursday, with Jaydin Dettman in the 400 meter dash. The freshman finished the race 17th in 1:04.19. 


Bauder commended the young athlete on her poise in the individual race in Drake Stadium, which the coach said “is a daunting experience and one you can’t really prepare for...Jaydin did a great job of attacking it head on, came out with good speed and intensity and finished with her second best time of the season—just over one second off her best.”


The next event was the shuttle hurdle relay, featuring Brandy Beatty, Kaitlyn Wiley, Gracie Cummer and McKenna Jaster. The foursome was unfortunately undone by weather and finished in 18th place with a time of 1:14.60, well behind their season best times. 


According to Bauder, the first and second heats were unaffected by the torrential downpour that hit the stadium as heat three—the one the Warriors were competing in—was getting into the blocks. The rain was fast and hard, and formed puddles on the track, but the decision was made to run the race and it impacted the competitive balance. 


“For any other race it would be bad enough, but with the precision of hurdling, those conditions can be a huge game changer. We didn’t fall down and we ran clean hurdles, but the conditions kept us from having a season best run,” Bauder said. “I figured each girl was about half a second off her expected split and that would have given us our second best time of the season. Then, wouldn’t you know, the remaining heats rain immediately reduced to sprinkles. So it was no coincidence that no teams in our heat made it to the finals.” 


“After getting over the disappointment of the unfortunate weather, we know we have great reason to be excited for next year with three of the four girls returning,” Bauder added. “Still, we will miss the leadership and dedication that Jaster has given so completely to this hurdle group.”


On Friday, the Warriors started the day with the distance medley relay of Maddy Wille, Grace Kuehl, Hannah Asche and Delaney Scherf. The group finished 10th, running a 4:23.61, which beat their previous season best time by five seconds. While they hoped for a top-eight finish, all four runners ran a good race with great handoffs, and Scherf’s 800-meter leg was a personal record split by four seconds. 


“This was a fantastic race for us. We knew that we would need to try to win our heat if we were going to have a chance at placing in the top eight. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite good enough, but it was a fantastic effort and a great way to end the season knowing we have three runners returning. But we will have our work cut out for us to replace the likes of Maddy Wille for sure,” Bauder said. 


Beatty followed that effort with a 17th place finish in the 100 meter hurdles, finishing the race in 17.39. Beatty got behind early after a rough start, which has been a strength all season. Playing catch up is difficult in sprint races, especially with the added element of hurdles. She finished fifth in her heat and, as a result, did not compete in the finals. 


“Any sprinting race at the state level is extremely hard to PR and to make finals. She did a great job to battle back and finish fifth in her heat—just one second from third. We’re hoping to continue working on three stepping in between the hurdles which could make a significant impact on improving for next year,” Bauder said. 


The busy Friday continued with the 4x200 relay with Wille, Kuehl, Wiley and Asche. The team entered the race seeded 19th, and finished two spots better in 17th place, with a time of 1:52.37. Wille started the relay with a solid first leg, and the next three racers all added good splits. But, at the state level, Bauder said it’s hard to separate from the pack unless you can get more relay runners with slightly faster split times, meaning the team would need to drop from 28 second splits to 27 second splits.


With “three girls returning, that’s what we’ll set our sights on for next year,” said Bauder.


On Saturday, the final day of races, the Warriors started in the sprint medley relay, showcasing Beatty, Kuehl, Wille and Asche. While the team was seeded 12th entering the race, they finished a disappointing 23rd in 1:57.16. 


A closer inspection into the finish makes the result sting a little less. They ran the race in their second best time all year, and there was only one second separating 23rd from 12th place. 


“We competed hard in the first three legs of the race, and then Hannah had to battle with a tight pack of 400 meter runners. A lot of jostling and getting boxed in caused disruption in her stride pattern at least four to five times, which can really hurt down the stretch in a close battle,” said Bauder. “Once again, though, we competed well, and have three girls returning who now have some experience to go on for how tough the competition can be at the state level and what we need to do to adapt to that level.”


In the next event, the 800 meter run, Scherf finished 20th place in a time of 2:31.09, against what Bauder described as a “loaded” field. 


“The 800 meter is a grueling event—probably the hardest race along with the 400 meter hurdles from both a physical and mental standpoint. The supreme effort it takes to finish those two races when your body feels like it can’t take one more step and you’re only three-fourths done. Delaney obviously battled right from the start, never giving up, and finished with her second best open 800 meter time of the season,” Bauder said. 


The final event for the Warriors was the 4x400 relay finals featuring Asche, Dettman, Wiley and Scherf. The seventh place finish was Central’s best of the event, and their time of 4:17.51 was just 4/100 of a second away from their second best time and two seconds from their season best set in the preliminary race on Friday. 


This group won the only medal for Central during the meet and placed higher than their eighth place seeding. 


“We tried to go in with the mindset to leave it all out there on the track, give it everything we had and go out on a high note. The state meet is a long, long three-day event of warming up/cooling down multiple times, getting psyched up multiple times eating differently, sleeping differently, sitting at the meet in all sorts of weather for hours on end,” said Bauder. “So, by the 4x400 on Saturday, it’s totally understandable for the athletes to be on their last thread of energy. But all four girls kept their heads and hearts together, ran as hard as they could for themselves and each other and ended our 2021 state track meet on a highly promising note for 2022, which will be here faster than we know.”

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