Payton Wensel crushes her hurdling debut

Girls track & field: Linn-Mar ace sets meet and school record: 1:03.40

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Great Experiment was a smashing success.

Surprised? You ought not be.

Payton Wensel put her toe in the waters known as the 400-meter hurdles at the J-Hawk Relays girls’ track and field meet Saturday at Kingston Stadium.

When she stepped out, she had a meet and school record.

“Honestly, I had no clue how it would go,” said Wensel, a junior at Linn-Mar High School who was trying the event for the first time.

“It was Experiment Day, to see what I could go out and do.”

Here’s what she did: 1 minute, 3.40 seconds. It beat the meet record by more than a second and the school record by nearly two.

It ranks No. 1 in the state this season.

Not a bad debut, to be sure. And still, a lot of room to grow. Her steps were choppy on more than one hurdle. But her major talent carried her through.

“If you watched close, you can tell I’m still learning,” she said. “We lost a lot of good girls to graduation, and it gives me the opportunity to experiment with other races.

“I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again.”

Iowa City West was the class of the 14-team field. The Women of Troy scored 46 field-event points and tallied 102 overall.

West won five events, including 1-2 finishes in the long jump and discus.

Valerie Welch was the long-jump champion at 18 feet, 7 1/4 inches. Leah Dusterhoft (discus) and Chandler Haight (shot put) swept the throws with efforts of 115-4 and 40-4, respectively.

And Bailey Nock captured the 1,500 meters in 4:48.60 and anchored the Women of Troy’s triumphant 3,200-meter relay.

Decorah was the runner-up with 72 points, followed by Cedar Falls (66), Cedar Rapids Prairie (55) and Linn-Mar (46).

“We love the competition here,” said Decorah junior Katie Nimrod, who anchored the Vikings to wins in the sprint medley relay, 800-meter relay and 1,600-meter relay, including a come-from-behind effort in the finale.

“The 4-by-4 is my favorite race, and I love coming from behind.”

Like Wensel, Cedar Rapids Jefferson’s Autumn Anderson was trying something new. She broke fast from the pack in the 800-meters, coasted for a while, then broke free down the stretch to win it in 2:20.87.

“Coach (Bill Calloway) told me to go out like it was a 400,” Anderson said. “They said I was at 31 (seconds) at 200 meters, so I thought I better slow down a little.

“I had more left in me than I thought I would at the end. I felt really strong on the last curve.”

Waterloo East’s Kerris Roberts set a meet record in the 200-meter dash (25.00), and Cedar Falls’ distance medley relay ran a record 4:21.15.

GIRLS’ TRACK & FIELD: J-HAWK RELAYS

At Kingston Stadium

Teams — 1. Iowa City West 102, 2. Decorah 72, 3. Cedar Falls 66, 4. C.R. Prairie 55, 5. Linn-Mar 46, 6. Solon 43, 7. Waterloo East 42, 8. C.R. Jefferson 40, 9. Iowa City High 33, 10. Dubuque Wahlert 30, 11. C.R. Washington 24, 12. C.R. Xavier 15, 13. C.R. Kennedy 11, 14. Waverly-Shell Rock 10.

Shot put — 1. Chandler Haight (ICW), 40-4; 2. Luci Murphy (ICH), 36-8 1/2; 3. Katie Halterman (CF), 36-6; Discus — 1. Leah Dusterhoft (ICW), 115-4; 2. Chandler Haight (ICW), 111-4; 3. Alicia Sill (CRP), 107-2; High jump — 1. Auriona Kimbrough (CF), 5-2; 2. Tarrel Manning (WE), 5-0; 3. Abby Smith (Sol), 4-10; Long jump — 1. Valerie Welch (ICW), 18-7 1/4; 2. Kitra Bell (ICW), 17-11 3/4; 3. Ariana Rolle (LM), 16-3 3/4.

Sprint medley relay — 1. Decorah (Hafner, Quandahl, Mikkelson, Nimrod), 1:50.95; 2. Iowa City West, 1:51.07; 3. Dubuque Wahlert, 1:52.47; 3,000 — 1. Reagan Gorman (CRW), 10:40.20; 2. Hannah Frazee (CRP), 10:43.66; 3. Josephine Berlage (Dec), 10:57.53; 3,200 relay — 1. 1. Iowa City West (Moore, Ince, Skopec, Nock), 9:46.24; 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 10:05.89; 3. Decorah, 10:14.59; Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Solon (McIlravy, Duckett, P.Sands, A.Sands), 1:09.07; 2. Decorah, 1:09.37; 3. Waverly-Shell Rock, 1:09.43; 100 — 1. Kerris Roberts (WE), 12.08; 2. Alanna Muhammad (WE), 12.53; 3. Jill Bennett (LM), 12.54; Distance medley relay — 1. Cedar Falls (Sterrett, Kvale, Michael, Ross), 4:21.25*; 2. C.R. Xavier, 4:29.87; 3. C.R. Prairie, 4:29.88; 400 — 1. Erin Kerkhoff (Sol), 59.85; 2. Kirstin Skriver (CRP), 59.92; 3. Taylor Ryan (Sol), 1:01.45; 800 relay — 1. Decorah (Hafner, Mikkelson, Berns, Nimrod), 1:46.81; 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 1:46.88; 3. Iowa City High, 1:49.09; 100 hurdles — 1. MiAsia Bergmann (CRJ), 15.41; 2. Amara Taylor (CRW), 15.71; 3. Kitra Bell (ICW), 16.22; 800 — 1. Autumn Anderson (CRJ), 2:20.87; 2. Gabby Skopec (ICW), 2:22.94; 3. MaKayla Belew (CRJ), 2:28.05; 200 — 1. Kerris Roberts (WE), 25.00*; 2. Valerie Welch (ICW), 26.16; 3. Alanna Muhammad (WE), 26.41; 400 hurdles — 1. Payton Wensel (LM), 1:03.40*; 2. Katie Nimrod (Dec), 1:05.25; 3. Madison Sexton (Dec), 1:09.95; 1,500 — 1. Bailey Nock (ICW), 4:48.60; 2. Hannah Frazee (CRP), 4:58.64; 3. Reagan Gorman (CRW), 5:00.05; 400 relay — 1. Linn-Mar (Rolle, Hubler, Isaac, Bennett), 51.18; 2. Iowa City High, 51.83; 3. Cedar Falls, 51.87; 1,600 relay — 1. Decorah (Mikkelson, Berns, Quandahl, Nimrod), 4:04.59; 2. C.R. Jefferson, 4:04.64; 3. Cedar Falls, 4:05.64.

*meet record

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

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