Drake Relays: Linn-Mar rallies for sprint-medley title

54.8-second anchor for Payton Wensel does the trick

Iowa City West's Valerie Welch clears a barrier in the 100-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays on Friday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. She won in 14.43 seconds. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Iowa City West's Valerie Welch clears a barrier in the 100-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays on Friday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. She won in 14.43 seconds. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Payton Wensel got the baton in third place. The leader was someone she considered “the leading quarter-miler in the state.”

It’s not an optimal combination. But Wensel more than made the best of it.

The Linn-Mar middle-distance ace anchored in 54.8 seconds and gave the Lions the Drake Relays girls’ sprint medley relay championship Friday morning at Drake Stadium.

Ariana Rolle, Olivia Hubler, Jill Bennett and Wensel were clocked in 1 minute, 46.16 seconds, a couple strides ahead of Davenport Assumption.

“I can’t believe it,” Rolle said. “But when we got it to Payton, I knew she had it.”

Wensel wasn’t so sure.

“To be honest, no, I didn’t think I could catch her,” Wensel said in reference to Assumption anchor Joy Ripslinger.

“I knew she was the leading quarter-miler in the state. But I had a job, to chase those front girls. I knew I had to run fast.”

But 54.8 is more than fast. It’s special.

“To come here and run that on a crappy day ... it doesn’t feel real,” Wensel said.

Wensel drew even with about 200 meters to go, then had the most down the stretch.


After a fourth-place long-jump bummer Thursday, Iowa City West’s Valerie Welch bounced back to win the 100-meter hurdles in 14.43 seconds. Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s MiAsia Bergmann was second at 14.86.

“It’s something I wanted for a while,” said Welch, a senior and a University of Colorado signee. “(Thursday) was pretty disappointing.”

Welch broke to the front immediately, and stayed there.

“After the second hurdle, I couldn’t see anybody in my peripherals,” she said. “I hit the eighth hurdle and stumbled, and I still couldn’t see anybody.

“I thought, ‘I’m all right. I’ve got this.’”

A member of Jefferson’s speedy sprint relays last year, Bergmann has expanded her reaches this season.

“I wanted to try something new, and my coaches said I should be a hurdler,” she said. “I started to pick it up pretty quick, and finally I thought, ‘OK, this is my race.’

Video: Valerie Welch wins 100-meter hurdles

“(Second place) is not what I wanted. Maybe I’m waiting for state.”

Ripslinger rebounded after the sprint medley to capture the 800 in 2:10.47. Monticello’s Corrine Gadient was next in 2:14.74.

“I’m really proud of myself. I’m running the times I ran at the end of last year,” Gadient said. “I wanted to finish in the top five and hit 2:15. I beat some girls that were ahead of me.”

Track is a secondary spring sport for Solon’s Josie Durr, who will play soccer at the University of Iowa. But you’d never guess; she was third in the high jump, clearing 5-6. Maria Gorham of North Polk won it at 5-7.


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“I enjoy doing jumping a lot,” Durr said. “I just jump every now and then, but I work hard at all my sports.”

Waterloo East’s Kerris Roberts broke the Drake 100 record with an 11.82-second effort in the prelims, then won the final at 11.87.

Waukee’s Kat Moody and Moe Nealey finished 1-2 in the shot put, separated by one inch. West’s Chandler Haight was fourth.

Dubuque Wahlert was the 800-meter relay champion.


At Des Moines

Shot put — 1. Kat Moody (Waukee) 43-10; 2. Moe Nealey (Waukee), 43-9; 3. Hannah Hood (Creston), 41-2 1/4; 4. Chandler Haight (Iowa City West), 40-11; 5. Marin Ehler (North Fayette Valley), 40-4 1/4; 6. Bradi Botcher (Spencer), 39-10; 7. Libertie Uppena (Midland), 39-3 3/4; 8. Brylie Zeisness (South Hardin), 39-1 1/2.

High jump — 1. Maria Gorham (North Polk), 5-7; 2. Megan Durbin (Greene County), 5-6; 3. Josie Durr (Solon), 5-6; 4. Sunday Faya (Denison-Schleswig), 5-4; 5. Sydney Durbin (Ida Grove OA-BCIG), 5-4; 6. Erica Loussaert (North Scott), 5-4; 7. Madison Harms (Sergeant Bluff-Luton), 5-2; 8. (tie) Megan Witte (Lewis Central) and Alyssa Staudt (Rockford), 5-2.

Sprint medley relay — 1. Linn-Mar (Rolle, Hubler, Bennett, Wensel), 1:46.16; 2. Davenport Assumption, 1:46.63; 3. Waukee, 1:48.10; 4. Sioux City Heelan, 1:49.14; 5. Bettendorf, 1:49.40; 6. Dubuque Senior, 1:51.23; 7. Pella, 1:51.35; 8. Dubuque Wahlert, 1:51.49.

100 hurdles — 1. Valerie Welch (Iowa City West), 14.43; 2. MiAsia Bergmann (Cedar Rapids Jefferson), 14.86; 3. Hannah Schau (Waukee), 14.87; 4. Lauren Nelson (Waukee), 14.91; 5. Grace Martensen (Benton Community), 15.01; 6. Sydney Winger (Waukee), 15.10; 7. Aricka Lambson (Carlisle), 15.23; 8. Autum Barthelman (Sigourney), 15.41.

800 relay — 1. Dubuque Wahlert (Ganshirt, Sherman, Wedewer, Hasken), 1:42.24; 2. Waukee, 1:42.66; 3. Davenport Assumption, 1:42.89; 4. Southeast Polk, 1:42.93; 5. Benton Community, 1:43.57; 6. Pella, 1:44.83; 7. Waterloo West, 1:45.49; 8. Waterloo East, 1:45.54.


100 — 1. Kerris Roberts (Waterloo East), 11.87 (ran 11.82* in prelims); 2. Khenadi Jones (Sioux City West), 12.07; 3. Darby Thomas (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln), 12.09; 4. Mackenzie Woodward (Southeast Polk), 12.19; 5. Keaton Kester (Adel ADM), 12.23; 6. Sydney Milani (Southeast Polk), 12.35; 7. Jill Bennett (Linn-Mar), 12.41; 8. Rylan Santi (Madrid), 12.52.

800 — 1. Joy Ripslinger (Davenport Assumption), 2:10.47; 2. Corinne Gadient (Monticello), 2:14.74; 3. Logan Akason (Waukee), 2:15.69; 4. Lily Campbell (Waukee), 2:16.08; 5. Anna Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 2:16.35; 6. Dianna Slight (Boone), 2:16.74; 7. Bailey Nock (Iowa City West), 2:17.31; 8. Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar), 2:17.74.

*meet record

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


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