Gaels’ title hopes dashed in 4×2

DES MOINES — The St. Edmond boys track team had a state title yanked out of their hands here Friday afternoon.

After inserting Kase Baker as the anchor in the Class 1A 4×200, the Gaels ran a time of 1:31.36 out of the first heat and saw that hold up through two more sessions.

However, officials ruled a handoff came out of the exchange zone, leading to St. Edmond being disqualified and Council Bluffs St. Albert crowned the champions with a time of 1:31.47.

“It was a bummer,” SEHS head coach Donn Larson said. “You think you have a state title and it gets pulled away from you.

“We come into that ranked No. 20 and were just hoping to place and come up with a fast time after putting Kase in.”

Larson said that they watched a replay of the race because “none of the guys thought they had an illegal exchange.”

“We looked and there was a yellow flag,” he added. “They were upset about it, but you can’t fault anybody for it.”

As tough as the situation was, Larson was proud of how his team responded. Shortly after, Jackson Bemrich, Nick Bennett, Cael Kolacia and Andrew Gibb placed second in their heat of the distance medley and finished 13th overall in 3:44.06.

“Cael had an incredible split in that medley,” Larson said. “I talked to Sean Newell. He did a great job as a senior of getting them focused after what happened.”

Charlie Shelly, Sean Flattery, Newell and Baker clocked the fastest 4×100 time in the prelims at 43.91, setting a new school-record. Gibb, Newell, Flattery and Shelly record the third-best 4×400 time at 3:25.90 to also advance to Saturday’s finals.

“That just shows what these guys can do,” Larson said. “We’ve told them all year to not underestimate what they are capable of.”

The lone event for the Gael girls was the distance medley relay, which placed 11th in 4:27.29. The unit consisted of Caroline Shelly, Gracie Harvey, Avery Galles and Aubrey Bemrich.

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