Saints Girls Qualify Eight Events for the State Track Meet

The Saints girls shuttle hurdle relay team are the 2017 TIC East Conference Champions, with a time of 1:11.41. L to R: Claire Groth, Avery Hendrickson, Maddy Eibes, and Caitlyn Juhl. (EJ photo/Colby Fossey)

The St. Ansgar girls’ track and field squad qualified eight events for the state meet to be held in Des Moines May 18-20. The state qualifying meet was held on Thursday, May 11, in Northwood. The Northwood-Kensett girls’ squad won the regional title in a close battle with St. Ansgar and AGWSR.  Northwood won the meet with 96 points while AGWSR and the Saints tied for second with 93 points.

Mariah Hulshizer and Grace Heimer got things started for the Saints, qualifying in the shot put event.  Hulshizer was fourth in the shot put (36-9) and Heimer was fifth (35-10).  Hulshizer also qualified in the discus throw where she placed fourth (114-3).  Both girls qualified as a result of being in the top 14 performances after the 10 regional qualifying winners.

Maddy Eibes will compete in two events at the state meet this year. She will run in the shuttle hurdle relay with team members Caitlyn Juhl, Claire Groth, and Avery Hendrickson. Eibes will also compete in the 400M hurdles at the state meet. (EJ photo/ Colby Fossey)

Addy Carlson got things started for the Saints in the running events where she placed fifth in the 3000 meters with a personal record of 11:47.73. Next up for the Saints was the shuttle hurdle relay team.  The Saints had the top time entering the event and won the race in 1:11.41 with a come-from-behind anchor by senior, Caitlyn Juhl. Other members of the winning shuttle relay team were Claire Groth, Avery Hendrickson, and Maddy Eibes. Juhl then turned around and one race later qualified for the 100 meter dash finishing second in 13.11 seconds.  

Grace Heimer qualified for the state meet after finishing in fifth place (35-10) at the district meet in Northwood on Thursday, May 11. (EJ photo/ Colby Fossey)

In the second half of the meet, Juhl finished second in the 100 meter hurdles to qualify, running 16.66 seconds. Maddy Eibes finished fourth in the 400 meter hurdles in 1:11.64 to qualify based on performance. Topping things off for the Saints was the 4×100 meter relay team of Juhl, Gabby Finberg, Groth and Chelsey Huisman winning in a season’s best time of 52.48.

Coach’s Comments- By Phil Baldus, Head Girls Track Coach

First let me congratulate Coach Clevenger and Coach Sherman and the St. Ansgar boys’ team for an outstanding performance tonight in winning the district championship. They have been awesome all year long.

We had some great performances on the girls’ side tonight also. Congratulations to all our state meet qualifiers. We missed out on a lot of chances to compete this spring due to inclement weather, but they persevered through it all and came ready to compete tonight. Our distance runners had a great night, the best of the year.  Addy started things off with her best performance in the 3000 meters and finished the night with her best performance in the 1500.  Congratulations to her on qualifying in the 3000 meter run. Our half milers all came ready to run tonight. Congratulations to Shelby Heimer, Raven Huisman, Addy Witt, Jessica Gonnerman and Sam Hermann. They all had good performances tonight. We are really proud of their efforts.

Our strengths all year have been in the throwing events and the sprints. Congratulations to Grace and Mariah. They have struggled towards the end of the season, but they battled and did the job tonight. It’s really nice to see them both qualify for state.

We have a group of sprinters that have battled tough all year. Caitlyn Juhl, Claire Groth, Maddy Eibes, Chelsey Huisman, Gabby Finberg and Madison Minnis have all had a good year. Caitlyn is our top hurdler, has been our leader in the 100 all season and gives us a great start in the 4×100 relay. She’s worked hard in the off season and her work has paid off, qualifying in four events.  Claire’s improvement in the hurdles this season has been one of the keys to our hurdle success. Maddy has only run the 400 hurdles four times and has steadily gotten better. It’s been really nice to see their improvement pay off with a trip to the state meet.  Chelsey Huisman has become a better racer this year. She has become our “finisher”. She has really had some great races anchoring our 4×100 relay.  Gabby Finberg and Madison Minnis represent our youth movement.  Gabby was hurt early in the season, but has come on strong lately. She is our top long jumper and one of our top 100 meter runners.  Madison Minnis is a freshman. She just keeps getting better and better. She loves to run and she is really finding out what it’s like to race!

Saints discus thrower Mariah Hulshizer. (EJ Photo/courtesy Mike Byrnes)

We are really excited to represent St. Ansgar at the state meet. It will be nice to have a large group go to Des Moines. Caitlyn, Maddy, Mariah and Chelsey all have state meet experience. We hope their experience can help the others as they compete. We have a few chances to score some points, but we’ll have to be at our best.  

We have to say goodbye to our eight seniors – seven of whom have been out for track all four years: Lindsey DeBower, Maddy Eibes, Claire Groth, Rylie Hansen, Mariah Hulshizer, Caitlyn Juhl, Tara Kramer and Holbrook Schutjer. Not all of them have gotten to compete at the highest level in state competition, but they have been to practice every night – rain, snow or shine – and have hung with us throughout four years of North Iowa track. That says a lot about each and every one of them.  Their attitudes and perseverance are what make them great kids to have around our track team. They have been a great example for the younger athletes. We wish them well in their future endeavors.

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