Prep Track and Field

Grace Martensen: Master bottle-flipper, elite hurdler

State track, 3A girls: Benton sophomore anchors winning shuttle, then wins 100 hurdles

The winning class 3A shuttle hurdle relay team from Benton Community includes Laura Maschino, Elizabeth Masten, Mallory Thys and Grace Martensen (second from left) celebrate at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Benton Community won in 1:04.78. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The winning class 3A shuttle hurdle relay team from Benton Community includes Laura Maschino, Elizabeth Masten, Mallory Thys and Grace Martensen (second from left) celebrate at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Benton Community won in 1:04.78. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Snoop around on social media enough, and you’ll stumble across a video of Grace Martensen flipping a Gatorade bottle.

The partially filled bottle lands vertically and perfectly, on top of a clock, inside a locker and on a door handle, among other places.

“Most of them only took one take,” she said.


Some pretty crafty stuntwork, to be sure. Then there’s this — she’s the best hurdler in the state in Class 3A.

Martensen anchored Benton Community to the 3A shuttle hurdle relay title, then won the 100-meter hurdles solo at the state track and field meet Saturday at Drake Stadium.

“I can’t really describe it. It’s amazing,” said Martensen, a sophomore. “There wasn’t a lot of time between the races, so I kept my sweats on and stayed loose.”

Running in Lane 8, Martensen brought the Bobcats’ shuttle from behind to win in 1:04.78. Laura Maschino, Elizabeth Masten and Mallory Thys put her in position to finish the job.

“We’d beaten all those teams before,” Masten said. “We knew we had a shot.”

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“I hate running on the outside, but we had to deal with it,” Martensen said. “We went out and executed. It was a clean race, and we had our best time. I couldn’t be more proud.”

Union and Mount Vernon were second and third.

The third-place finisher in the 100 hurdles last year, Martensen ran them in 14.85 Saturday to edge Grinnell’s Sienna Durr.

Davenport Assumption won its fifth consecutive 3A girls’ title, accumulating 93 points. Pella was second with 77, followed by Dubuque Wahlert (49), Decorah (47) and Benton (44).

Katie Nimrod became the first Decorah girl to win three events in a single state meet. The junior anchored the Vikings to victory in the finale, the 1,600 relay.

Kayla Quandahl, Sarah Mikkelson, Brooke Berns and Nimrod ran in 3:56.09. Solon was second in 3:58.62.

Video: Grace Martensen, Benton show hurdles prowess

“I did the workouts, so I was ready,” Nimrod said. “We would run six sets of 300 (meters), walking 200 in-between. That gets you ready for this.”

Quandahl said, “We knew we had to get this one. It’s good to end on a good note.”

STATE TRACK & FIELD: 3A GIRLS

Teams — 1. Davenport Assumption 93, 2. Pella 77, 3. Dubuque Wahlert 49, 4. Decorah 47, 5. Benton Community 44, 6. Crestwood 30, 7. Sioux City Heelan 27, 8. Adel ADM 25, 9. Carlisle 23, Mount Vernon 20.

Results (top 3 and area placewinners)

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Sprint medley relay — 1. Pella (Thoreson, Malek, Vos, Pingel), 1:47.90; 2. Sioux City Heelan, 1:48.31; 3. Davenport Assumption, 1:48.84; 5. Decorah, 1:49.35; 7. Benton Community, 1:50.14.

800 — 1. Joy Ripslinger (Davenport Assumption), 2:09.39; 2. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood), 2:15.93; 3. Carly Rahn (Gilbert), 2:16.91.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Benton Community (Maschino, Masten, Thys, Martensen), 1:04.78; 2. Union, 1:05.35; 3. Mount Vernon, 1:05.37; 6. Maquoketa, 1:06.52; 8. Solon, 1:07.81.

100 — 1. Keaton Kester (Adel ADM), 12.18; 2. Carly King (Davenport Assumption), 12.34; 3. Emily Vos (Pella), 12.42; 4. Hannah Anderson (Washington), 12.45; 5. Ellie Masten (Benton Community), 12.52; 7. Elizabeth Masten (Benton Community), 12.57; 8. Anna Garwood (Union), 12.70.

100 hurdles — 1. Grace Martensen (Benton Community), 14.85; 2. Sienna Durr (Grinnell), 14.95; 3. Megan Hudson (Union), 15.03; 8. Catherine Yeoman (Mount Vernon), 15.83.

200 — 1. Keaton Kester (Adel ADM), 24.72; 2. Carly King (Davenport Assumption), 25.25; 3. Emily Vos (Pella), 25.27; 7. Anna Garwood (Union), 25.79.

1,500 — 1. Joy Ripslinger (Davenport Assumption), 4:39.00; 2. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood), 4:41.48; 3. Adrianna Katcher (Center Point-Urbana), 4:43.56; 8. Katie Tallett (Cedar Rapids Xavier), 4:52.23.

400 relay — 1. Dubuque Wahlert (Ganshirt, Sherman, Wedewer, Hasken), 48.46; 2. Pella, 48.99; 3. Benton Community, 49.02; 4. Mount Vernon, 50.30; 7. Decorah, 50.89.

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1,600 relay — 1. Decorah (Quandahl, Mikkelson, Berns, Nimrod), 3:56.09; 2. Solon, 3:58.62; 3. Dubuque Wahlert, 3:59.31; 7. Mount Vernon, 4:04.70; 8. Independence, 4:06.34.

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

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