Drake Relays: Emotions flow for Payton Wensel after 400 hurdles title

Linn-Mar junior captures the flag in 1:02.17

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DES MOINES — It wasn’t Payton Wensel’s first win at Drake Stadium. It’s unlikely to be her last.

It was certainly her most emotional.

A junior at Linn-Mar running the 400-meter hurdles for just the third time, Wensel choked up in the press room after winning the race at the Drake Relays on Saturday afternoon.

“I’ve been nervous all weekend, leading up to this race,” Wensel said after clocking in at 1 minute, 2.17 seconds. “It’s a great feeling to do it in this race.”

Wensel prevailed in a star-studded race, pulling away from Pleasant Valley’s Addie Swanson — also a newcomer to this event — in the final 100 meters.

“I had my eyes on her. I knew she was a great quarter-miler,” Wensel said. “It took a hell of a race to get her.”

Swanson was second in 1:03.69, followed by Decorah’s Katie Nimrod in 1:04.05.

Already a two-time Class 4A state champion in the open 400 (she ran a 54.8-second anchor to clinch the Lions’ victory in the sprint medley relay Friday), Wensel is a natural for the 400-meter hurdles. But she wasn’t sold on it until this spring.

“I think the idea first was planted by (University of Iowa Coach) Joey Woody, to my dad,” Wensel said. “He said I was built for it.

“I’ve still got to keep working on my form. I want to keep getting better. On a good day, I think I can go sub-60.”

Iowa City West made a late push in the 3,200-meter relay, and anchor Bailey Nock actually rallied to take a brief lead with 300 meters to go. But West Des Moines Dowling’s Kelsey Schweizer answered to give the Maroons the title in 9:25.81.

West finished in 9:27.81.

“I just went for it. The last 200, I gave everything I could,” Nock said.

Deniz Ince, Olivia Moore and Gabby Skopec ran the first three legs for the Women of Troy. Skopec moved West into contention.

“With a lap to go, I looked at the pack. I tried to take off the best I could,” Skopec said. “I wanted to give Bailey a chance.”

Monticello was fourth in 9:33.82.

West also finished second in the shuttle hurdle relay. The Women of Troy were clocked in 1:02.54, behind Waukee’s all-time Iowa best of 1:00.95.

“We broke our school record again, so we’re happy with that,” West’s Valerie Welch said. “I think we all ran close to our best.”

The four-team shuttle final consisted of three big schools, plus Mount Vernon. The Mustangs were third in 1:04.49.

“It was a little intimidating being out there with all the big schools,” Mount Vernon’s Catherine Yeoman said. “Our goal was to be in the final. They pushed us to be our best.”

Two days after winning the 3,000, Mid-Prairie’s Anna Hostetler was a close second to Davenport Assumption’s Joy Ripslinger in the 1,500.

“I’m happy with my race, it was a PR by four seconds,” said Hostetler, who was clocked in 4:34.20. “I knew Ripslinger was going to be in there, and she’s hard to keep up with.”

Ripslinger finished in 4:31.92. Hostetler’s freshman sister, Marie, was fourth.

Assumption edged Waukee, 26-25, for the Hy-Vee Cup, which takes into account four relays throughout the weekend. Assumption won the 400 relay (48.97), and Southeast Polk was first in the 1,600 relay (3:51.24).

DRAKE RELAYS: GIRLS RESULTS

At Des Moines

Hy-Vee Cup standings (top 5) — 1. Davenport Assumption 26, 2. Waukee 25, 3. Southeast Polk 13, 4. (tie) Linn-Mar and West Des Moines Dowling 10.

3,200 relay — 1. West Des Moines Dowling (Miller, Timboe, Meilander, Schweizer), 9:25.81; 2. Iowa City West, 9:27.49; 3. Waukee, 9:33.03; 4. Monticello, 9:33.82; 5. Johnston, 9:36.26; 6. Southeast Polk, 9:38.59; 7. Cedar Falls, 9:40.66; 8. Ottumwa, 9:41.48.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Waukee (Winger, Gray, Nelson, Schau), 1:00.95* (all-time Iowa best); 2. Iowa City West, 1:02.54; 3. Mount Vernon, 1:04.49; 4. West Des Moines Dowling, 1:04.85.

1,500 — 1. Joy Ripslinger (Davenport Assumption), 4:31.91; 2. Anna Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 4:34.20; 3. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood), 4:36.35; 4. Marie Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 4:43.36; 5. Bailey Nock (Iowa City West), 4:44.74; 6. Jordan Winke (Albia), 4:45.58; 7. Helen Gould (West Des Moines Valley), 4:48.16; 8. Logan Akason (Waukee), 4:48.28.

400 hurdles — 1. Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar), 1:02.17; 2. Addie Swanson (Pleasant Valley), 1:03.69; 3. Katie Nimrod (Decorah), 1:04.05; 4. Skyler Shellmyer (Urbandale), 1:04.30; 5. Valerie Welch (Iowa City West), 1:06.17; 6. Brianna Hersom (Southeast Polk), 1:06.29; 7. Allison Yuska (South Tama), 1:06.38; 8. Kate Bannister (Waukee), 1:06.66.

400 relay — 1. Davenport Assumption (Harris, King, Nelson, Carroll), 48.97; 2. Waukee, 48.98; 3. Waterloo East, 49.02; 4. Dubuque Wahlert, 49.15; 5. Pleasant Valley, 49.25; 6. Ankeny, 49.33; 7. Benton Community, 49.35; 8. Pella, 49.47.

1,600 relay — 1. Southeast Polk (Hill, Milani, Hersom, Woodard), 3:51.24; 2. Davenport Assumption, 3:53.54; 3. Cedar Falls, 3:58.75; 4. Waukee, 3:59.22; 5. Decorah, 4:01.51; 6. Pleasant Valley, 4:02.45; 7. Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 4:04.26; 8. Solon, 4:05.19.

*meet record

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

Video: Payton Wensel wins Drake Relays 400 hurdles

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