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Humboldt victorious in its own back yard

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla: Humboldt Morgan Olson hands off to Alexis Hansen at the North Central Conference meet on Thursday in Humboldt. For more photos, please visit CU.messengernews.net

HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt girls track and field team used a balanced effort all around to claim the North Central Conference title here Thursday night.

Iowa Falls-Alden was second followed by Algona, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows, St. Edmond, Webster City, Hampton-Dumont/CAL and Clear Lake.

Both Kendal Clark and Lily Groat were double winners for Humboldt, who also scored victories in three relays.

Groat won the 100 hurdles in 16.7 and the 400 hurdles in 1:09.5 with Clark sweeping the shot put (41-2.25) and discus (141-7).

Morgan Olson, Alexis Hansen, Jori Hajek and Paige DeWinter won the 4×100 relay for Humboldt in 51.4, with Olson, Hansen, Groat and DeWinter placing first in the sprint medley in 1:57.5.

Hajek, Rylie Satern, Macey Varangkounh and Jennika Beach were the shuttle hurdle relay winners, clocking a time of 1:12.1.

DeWinter was second in the 400 for the Wildcats, Hajek the 100 hurdles runner-up and Hansen scored silver in the long jump for Humboldt.

The Wildcats ended a 29-year NCC championship drought with a league title in 2017. Humboldt was second in 2018 and third in ’19, before last year’s event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“I am very proud of the girls for what they accomplished,” Humboldt head coach Spencer Ross said. “We knew coming in that we had a chance to do something very special. The girls had been super focused on the little things in the last few practices, and it was easy to tell that they really wanted to win this thing. They showed up and performed.

“This is such a fun group to be around. Everyone has embraced their role on this team, and was willing to do whatever it took to achieve this goal together. Conference titles don’t come easy in the NCC, but this group can forever say they finished on top in 2021.”

The Gaels had two winning relays, as Caroline Shelly, Michaela Leiting, Emma Alstott and Aubrey Bemrich were first in the 4×800 relay in 10:24.3, with Mya McClain, Gracie Harvey, Avery Galles and Bemrich claiming the distance medley in 4:37.2.

“It was a great night against outstanding competition,” SEHS head coach Monica Shelly said. “We love this conference because it gives us a chance to run against bigger schools. The girls embrace that challenge.”

Bemrich was second in the 800 along with runner-up relays in the sprint medley, 4×200 and 4×400. McClain, Aleah Anderson, Harvey and Galles comprised the sprint medley, McClain, Shelly, Harvey and Galles the 4×200, and McClain, Alstott, Shelly and Galles the 4×400.

Alstott was also third in the 400 hurdles.

“We had a lot of PRs,” Shelly said. “But we still have work to do before districts.”

Algona’s Dionna VanGorkom won the high jump, clearing 4-8, and the 4×200 relay of Ava Henry, Radaisyia Thomas, Kayla Thompson and Alexa Chase the 4×200 relay in 1:53.6.

Clarion-Goldfield/Dows had first place finishes from Matea Conlon in the 100 (12.7), Mackenna Hasty in the long jump (15-5.25) and the 4×400 relay of Conlon, Kendall Lienemann, Hasty and Raven Kinnetz in 4:20.7.

In junior varsity action, Reese Lemberg captured the 800, Hannah Landwehr won the 1500 and the Gaels claimed the 4×200, 4×400, sprint medley and distance medley relays.

Jacey Ash, Kaili Henning, Anderson and Elly Berry won the 4×200, Landwehr, Lemberg, Leiting and Andee Barwin the 4×400, Ash, Sylvia Hess, Henning and Barwin the sprint medley, and Anderson, Landwehr, Barwin and Leiting the distance medley.

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