Gael teams motivated to deliver

Submitted photo: St. Edmond boys state track qualifiers are front row (left to right): Denny Ehn, Liam Shannon, Levi Wester-Odom, Thomas Cosgrove, Anthony Valles and Aaron Hindt. Back: Jakob Koopman, Grant Galles, Klay Baker, Leo Ehn and JT Laufersweiler.

DES MOINES — St. Edmond head coaches CJ Tracy and Donn Larson have the same mindset heading into the start of the state track and field meet here inside Drake Stadium.

The Gaels qualified 14 events combined between the two programs, including nine for Tracy and the girls.

Class 1A hits the blue oval for the afternoon sessions both Thursday and Friday starting at 2:40 p.m. with all four classes beginning Saturday at 9 a.m.

Mariah Myers, who placed third in 4A in the discus last year while competing for Fort Dodge, is in both the discus and shot put. She is joined by individual returning state qualifiers Anna Lursen and Josie Harvey.

Lursen will run in the 800 and Harvey the 100 hurdles, while seniors Michaela Leiting (1,500) and Hannah Landwehr (3,000) also advanced.

Submitted photo: St. Edmond girls state track qualifiers are front row (left to right): Alex Leiting, Anna Lursen, Faith Shirbroun, Hannah Landwehr, Andee Barwin and Michaela Leiting. Back: Josie Harvey, Sasha Hess, Brianna Saathoff, Lily Eslick, Mariah Myers, Reese Lemberg and Ellie Knox.

The Gaels qualified in the 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley relays.

“We want to perform our best and set PRs in every event,” Tracy said. “If hardware (for placing in the Top-8) comes with it, that’s just an added bonus.

“I told the girls that, as coaches, we get to see what hard work and effort they put in on a daily basis. We are excited for the state of Iowa to see what we see. It’s going to be a great experience and a great weekend filled with memories.”

Myers posted the third-best shot put throw at districts with a toss of 37-11 and the fourth-best discus throw at 126-3. During the regular season, she ranked fourth in the discus and eighth in the shot put.

Lursen had the fifth-fastest 800 at districts while Harvey posted the 11th-fastest time in her event. Last spring, Lursen was 10th in the 400 and Harvey 20th in the hurdles.

“We’ve been working on getting everything as close to perfect as we can,” Tracy said. “I just can’t say enough about the work ethic of these girls. What they have put in daily at practices is a testament to what they want to achieve.”

St. Edmond’s 4×400 relay is seeded fifth, with Ellie Knox, Landwehr, Sasha Hess and Lursen. The 4×800 of Knox, Landwehr, Michaela Leiting and Lursen is seeded seventh.

The distance medley of Faith Shirbroun, Brianna Saathoff, Hess and Lursen is 10th.

Knox, Landwehr, Hess and Lursen were 13th in the 4×400 prelims last year, while Shirbroun, Hess, Saathoff and Lursen placed 16th in the sprint medley. The 4×800 of Leiting, Knox, Landwehr and Lursen also qualified.

For the Gael boys, Anthony Valles is set to run in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, along with the distance medley relay. Grant Galles, Klay Baker and Aaron Hindt join him in the DMR.

JT Laufersweiler, Galles, Baker and Hindt will run the 4×200, with Laufersweiler, Galles, Thomas Cosgrove and Hindt on the 4×400.

“We want the kids to remember to take it all in,” Larson said. “Do the best they can and enjoy the atmosphere because it is like nothing else.

“This is a really good weekend to highlight track and field in the state of Iowa and these kids get the opportunity to be part of that.”

Last year, Baker was on the third-place distance medley relay. Valles ran on the 4×800 that finished fifth. Galles and Cosgrove also have state experience under their belt in the 4×400.

“It’s my 15th season and I still get nervous,” Larson said. “But as coaches, we have no control over it. We just have to hope we have them ready to go.”


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