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Tigerhawk girls finish one spot off medal in 4x800 relay

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 9:55 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 10:38 a.m. CST
(Troy Hyde/Daily News)
Colfax-Mingo freshman Abbey McConeghey, right, hands the baton to sophomore Colbee Cunningham during the Class 1A girls' 4x800 relay at the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The Tigerhawks finished ninth in the event.
(Troy Hyde/Daily News)
Colfax-Mingo sophomore Ilia Hostetter begins the Class 1A 4x800 relay in the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Thursday. The Tigerhawks placed ninth in the event.

DES MOINES — All three of Dakota Hostetter’s teammates had no doubt.

The Tigerhawk senior took the baton with a handful of runners in front of her.

By the time the race was over, Hostetter was all alone at the finish line.

Hostetter turned in an impressive anchor leg to rally her Tigerhawk teammates to a win in the opening heat of the Class 1A girls 4x800 relay Thursday morning.

Colfax-Mingo nearly came home with a medal but finished ninth with a time of 10 minutes, 22.40 seconds at the annual Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.

The ninth-place finish by sophomore Ilia Hostetter, freshman Abbey McConeghey, sophomore Colbee Cunningham and Dakota Hostetter is the best in at least the last 15 years at the school.

“All four girls ran PRs today, so there is not much more I can ask for,” Colfax-Mingo coach Zach Tomas said.

“It would have been nice to finish one position higher for that medal, but I am proud of how they ran today.”

The previous best finish was 11th in 2015. That relay also included Dakota Hostetter and her older sister Kennedi. Thursday, she got to run with her younger sister Ilia.

All four Tigerhawk runners ran personal-best split times Thursday. Ilia Hostetter started the relay with a 2:41. She was the most nervous runner coming into the race because most teams put their second-best runner in the lead-off spot.

“Ilia wasn’t happy about where she has to start because of what other teams do,” Tomas said. “Our order doesn’t make sense, but it works for us.”

Ilia Hostetter added “I was afraid I was going to be 100 meters behind everyone but it wasn’t that bad. We know that if we get Dakota and Abbey in good positions they will come through for us.”

McConeghey followed with a 2:29, Cunningham ran a 2:46 and Dakota Hostetter ran a 2:23.5 anchor leg.

“It’s a great experience with a great group of girls,” Cunningham said. “Being in between the two fastest girls on our team is a lot of pressure for me. I just wanted to run a PR and not let the other girls get too far ahead of me.

“I handed (Dakota) the baton, and I really had no doubt that she was going to catch them. She is amazing.”

Tomas said both McConghey and Dakota Hostetter enjoy the thrill of chasing down runners who are in front of them. Neither enjoys being in the lead as much.

“When I am in first, I am paranoid that someone is going to pass me,” McConghey said. “If I am behind and chasing them, I know they are the ones who are probably getting paranoid. I have more confidence running from behind.”

Dakota Hostetter has more motivation when she has someone to run after.

“It’s easier to see what’s in front of you and go get it,” Dakota Hostetter said. “I am used to chasing at this point, but I am glad they are confident in me.”

Earlier in the day, Dakota Hostetter ran in the 200-meter dash prelimins, Running in a sprint event on the blue oval for the first time in her historic career, the Tigerhawk senior placed 19th overall with a personal-best time of 27.60 seconds.

The goal for Hostetter, who picked up the event this season after running mostly distance events her first three seasons, was to run a PR and not finish last in her heat.

Both goals were met.

“It’s harder to get into a groove with sprints, but it was a fun experience,” Dakota Hostetter said. “I have two more races left in my career. I want to really push it hard in those last two.”

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