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Gaels earn pair of Top-10 medals

-Messenger photo by Britt Kudla St. Edmond Sam Mericle hands off the baton to Drew Szalat during 1A boys 4x800 Relays on Thursday at Drake Stadium

DES MOINES — A pair of Top-10 relay finishes highlighted the opening day of the Class 1A state track and field meet here Thursday for St. Edmond.

The Gael boys finished eighth in the 4×800-meter relay, while the SEHS girls placed 10th in the same event. St. Edmond also competed in the shuttle hurdle relay, finishing 15th in the prelims.

Hayden Mayer, Sam Mericle, Drew Szalat and Aaron Lursen clocked a time of 8:33.31 for their medal effort. Earlham, who was in the same district meet as the Gaels, won the event in 8:04.95. Madrid, also at the same qualifier, was third overall.

Mayer, Szalat and Lursen were part of the same relay that finished 12th a year ago. Mayer and Szalat are seniors, Lursen is a junior and Mericle a sophomore. McCar

“All year, we had Top-8 in mind,” Mayer said. “This is a group of guys who are really close. I’m super proud that we were able to succeed in the goals we set. There is no other group of guys I’d wanna do it with.”

After winning the 4×800 title a year ago, Caroline Shelly, Emma Alstott and Michaela Leiting returned for St. Edmond, placing 10th. The trio was joined by Gracie Harvey, as they went 10:28.26.

Pekin won in 9:55.02, just ahead of runner-up South Winneshiek, who finished in 9:55.93.

“I’m super proud of these girls,” Shelly said. “Michaela has battled some allergies and asthma this season, but has pushed through. It’s sad to be done with the 4×800, but I know these girls all gave it their all and that’s all you can ask for.

“We still have some races left over the next few days, so I’m super excited, yet nervous, to see what we can do.”

Shelly, Alstott and Harvey are seniors, while Leiting is a sophomore.

The shuttle hurdle relay of Thomas Cosgrove, Quinten McCarville, Szalat and Isaac Landwehr finished 15th in the prelims in 1:05.71. McCarville and Landwehr are seniors, and Cosgrove a sophomore.

The Gaels will run in the 4×200, distance medley and 4×400 relays, along with McCarville competing in the high jump on Friday. Shelly and Lursen will run in the 800 on Saturday.

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