Prep Track and Field

Payton Wensel ends her career with 8 state track titles

Linn-Mar star anchors an all-time Iowa best in the sprint medley

Linn-Mar's Payton Wensel celebrates after crossing the finish line as she anchors the Lions in winning the class 4A spring medley relay at the 2018 Iowa High School Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Lions set a record with their win in 1:43.64. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Linn-Mar's Payton Wensel celebrates after crossing the finish line as she anchors the Lions in winning the class 4A spring medley relay at the 2018 Iowa High School Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, May 19, 2018. The Lions set a record with their win in 1:43.64. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — It would have been a crummy, unfitting ending to a brilliant track and field career.

But there was Payton Wensel, a puzzled look on her face, asking her teammates about their baton exchanges following the Class 4A 400-meter relay as they waited to hear which team was disqualified.

“We nailed them,” Olivia Hubler said. “They were perfect.”

And in the end, they were.

Linn-Mar’s race was ruled clean; the Lions’ winning time of 48.00 seconds stood at the state track and field meet Saturday at Drake Stadium.

It was the eighth and final state championship for Wensel, who will continue her career next year at the University of Iowa.

Her legacy?

“I want to be remembered for what I did with these guys,” Wensel said, her eyes teary and her arms clutched around her teammates. “They’ve been amazing for four years. I’ll miss them a lot.”

Chana Northrup, Wensel, Hubler and Jill Bennett won that 400-meter relay. But the Lions’ race of the day came early.

Ariana Rolle, Hubler, Bennett and Wensel set an all-time Iowa best in the sprint medley relay — 1:43.64, breaking their own mark set earlier his season.

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“It’s amazing. I was just going for the win, and I looked back and saw the time,” said Wensel, who anchored in 53.7 seconds.

It was particularly satisfying for Rolle, who missed the majority of the season with injuries — an ankle, a hip flexor then a hamstring.

“I can’t put this into words, because we’ve been running together for quite a while,” Rolle said. “I wanted to do this at Drake, but some things aren’t worth rushing.”

The team race was never in doubt. Waukee ran away with its third consecutive title with 122 points. Iowa City West was the runner-up for the second straight year; the Women of Troy tallied 76 points. Then it was Southeast Polk (70) and Linn-Mar (55).

As they did in Thursday’s 3,000-meter race, West’s Bailey Nock and Deniz Ince ran 1-2 in Saturday’s 1,500.

“It’s everything we worked for, everything we planned for,” said Nock, a University of Colorado recruit, who finished in 4:38.09. “I’m kind of sad. I don’t want it to end. It’s bittersweet.”

Ince followed in 4:42.28.

Southeast Polk’s Sydney Milani capped a memorable weekend, becoming the first girl in state history to sweep the 100, 200, 400 and 800. She set all-time Iowa bests in the 100 (11.49), the 200 (23.68) and the 400 (52.90). 

STATE TRACK & FIELD: 4A GIRLS

Teams (top 10) — 1. Waukee 122, 2. Iowa City West 76, 3. Southeast Polk 70, 4. Linn-Mar 55, 5. Ames 38, 6. Cedar Falls 37, 7. Pleasant Valley 36.5, 8. West Des Moines Dowling 33, 9. (tie) Iowa City High and Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln 27.

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Sprint medley relay — 1. Linn-Mar (Rolle, Hubler, Bennett, Wensel), 1:43.64 (all-time Iowa best); 2. Waukee, 1:47.22; 3. Pleasant Valley, 1:48.78; 4. Iowa City High, 1:49.46; 5. Southeast Polk, 1:49.65; 6. Cedar Rapids Prairie, 1:49.72; 7. West Des Moines Dowling, 1:49.79; 8. Des Moines Hoover, 1:49.83.

800 — 1. Sydney Malani (Southeast Polk), 2:10.38; 2. Lily Campbell (Waukee), 2:12.11; 3. Deniz Ince (Iowa City West), 2:12.78; 4. Logan Akason (Waukee), 2:14.08; 5. Lauren Van Dyke (Sioux City East), 2:15.27; 6. Allison Bookin-Nosbisch (Ottumwa), 2:15.38; 7. Bailey Nock (Iowa City West), 2:15.39; 8. Mackenzie Michael (Cedar Falls), 2:17.66.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Waukee (Drees, Keplinger, Peters, Winger), 1:01.09; 2. Ames, 1:02.30; 3. West Des Moines Dowling, 1:02.88; 4. Iowa City West, 1:04.75; 5. Ankeny Centennial, 1:05.29; 6. Cedar Falls, 1:05.42.

100 — 1. Sydney Milani (Southeast Polk), 11.49 (all-time Iowa best); 2. Darby Thomas (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln), 11.86; 3. Elma Vojic (Waukee), 11.88; 4. Kerris Roberts (Waterloo East), 11.95; 5. Jill Bennett (Linn-Mar), 12.23; 6. Caitlyn Jones (Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson), 12.32; 7. Amaria Kirby (Pleasant Valley), 12.41; 8. Grace Matera (West Des Moines Valley), 12.48.

100 hurdles — 1. Sydney Winger (Waukee), 14.12; 2. Isabel Ingram (Ames), 14.15; 3. Juru Okwaramoi (West Des Moines Dowling), 14.71; 4. Mira Bacille (West Des Moines Dowling), 14.92; 5. Elayna Bahl (Western Dubuque), 15.02; 6. Kitra Bell (Iowa City West), 15.03; 7. McKenna Davidson (Southeast Polk), 15.11; 8. Esther Ubadigbo (Des Moines Roosevelt), 15.15.

200 — 1. Sydney Milani (Southeast Polk), 23.68 (all-time Iowa best); 2. Darby Thomas (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln), 24.64; 3. Jill Bennett (Linn-Mar), 25.26; 4. Stevie Lambe (Dubuque Senior), 25.44; 5. Caitlyn Jones (Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson), 25.47; 6. Grace Matera (West Des Moines Valley), 25.53; 7. Juru Okwaramoi (West Des Moines Dowling), 8. Olivia Hubler (Linn-Mar), 25.75.

1,500 — 1. Bailey Nock (Iowa City West), 4:38.09; 2. Deniz Ince (Iowa City West), 4:42.28; 3. Helen Gould (West Des Moines Valley), 4:43.61; 4. Logan Akason (Waukee), 4:44.17; 5. Jessica McKee (Johnston), 4:46.62; 6. Sydney Schaffer (Waukee), 4:48.07; 7. Brooklyn McKee (Johnston), 4:48.14; 8. Lilly Geelan (Linn-Mar), 4:50.49.

400 relay — 1. Linn-Mar (Northrup, Wensel, Hubler, Bennett), 48.00; 2. Waukee, 48.26; 3. Ankeny, 48.29; 4. Pleasant Valley, 48.62; 5. Waterloo West, 48.78; 6. Ames, 49.18; 7. Waterloo East, 49.82.

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1,600 relay — 1. Waukee (Taylor, Peters, Caraway, Campbell), 3:53.21; 2. Southeast Polk, 3:53.67; 3. Ames, 3:56.53; 4. Des Moines Roosevelt, 3:59.56; 5. Iowa City High, 3:59.61; 6. Cedar Falls, 4:01.39; 7. Ottumwa, 4:03.98; 8. West Des Moines Dowling, 4:05.23.

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

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