Heavy hearts

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla South Central Calhoun Chase McAlister hands off the baton to Spencer Moon during class 2A on Friday at Drake Stadium

DES MOINES — Chase McAlister and all of the South Central Calhoun state track qualifiers are competing with heavy hearts at Drake Stadium this week.

A day before the state meet began, classmate Jacy McAlexander passed away following a courageous battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma. The 17-year-old never stopped supporting the Titans, and they made sure to honor him on Friday.

McAlister, Nic Englin, Tanner Macke and Spencer Moon recorded a time of 3:36.28 to earn bronze in the Class 2A distance medley relay. Englin and Macke are both seniors, while McAlister and Moon were juniors with McAlexander.

“Getting third is great, but I’d give anything to have him back,” McAlister said. “We fought hard, but he fought harder than anyone I know.”

McAlexander was involved in football, cross country and golf, along with several other activities at the school. He was first diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at eight years old, with it returning in 2016.

“My teammates and I have mentioned multiple times how we thought of him as we were running,” McAlister said. “He’s always in the back of our minds.

“It puts life into perspective for us. We’re thankful for every day we have. He was a friend to all of us and we’ll miss him deeply. He’ll never be forgotten. He gives us extra motivation to run harder when we feel like giving up.”

Josh Henkenius, Jared Birks, Englin and Macke placed 12th in the 4×200 relay, recording a time of 1:33. Colton Bahr was 15th in the high jump at 5-11.

Southeast Valley’s Kiersten Fisher picked up her first medal, as the defending Drake Relays runner-up was fifth in the high jump at 5-3. The freshman also qualified for the 100 hurdle finals with the third-best time of 15.63.

Katara Jondle, Morgan Farnham, Karissa Hiesterman and Kanyon Pepples were 16th in the 4×200 relay in a time of 1:49.74.

Emmetsburg’s Niklas Kulms secured bronze in the 400 hurdles, as the senior raced around the blue oval in 55.48.

Molly Schany was 10th in the discus (112-2) for the E-Hawks, with Delaney Joyce placing 16th in the 400 hurdles (1:10.17). Annie Brennan added a 21st in the discus (95-11), Zach Foxhoven was 23rd in the long jump (5-9) and the distance medley of Joyce, Hailey Foxhoven, Abbie Schany and Taylor Steinkamp was 21st in 4:30.07.

Pocahontas Area earned a 15th in the distance medley behind Jessica Sump, Allison Devereaux, Sarah Powers and Jill Vonnahme, finishing in 4:25.03, and an 18th from the 4×200 of Ryan Anderson, Cam Callion, Shea Ruffridge and Chase Boeve. That quartet finished in 1:34.11.

Clarion-Goldfield/Dows’ 4×200 relay of Meleah Johnson, Kendall Leinemann, Sid Magee and Courtney Harle finished 21st in 1:52.40, with East Sac County’s Caitlin Schueneman placing 12th in the high jump (5-1) and Bailey Wollesen finishing 16th (4-11).