GRINNELL — Lynnville-Sully seniors Tyson Vander Linden and Gage Vander Leest both have goals of winning individual state track titles later this season.
They both looked like a championship or two was possible after impressive starts to their final prep seasons on Monday during the South Iowa Cedar League Indoor Meet at Grinnell College.
Vander Linden claimed victories in both the 200- and 400-meter dash, while Vander Leest won the 60 high hurdles, was the runner-up in the 200 and claimed third in the long jump.
“It didn’t feel great, but it’s a good start,” Vander Leest said after winning the 60 hurdles with an unofficial time of 8.6 seconds. “My trail leg hit one of the hurdles so I need to clean that up. I was eighth as a sophomore and fifth last year. Winning it this year sounds like a good goal to have.”
Senior Rylan James also won the shot put for the second straight season.
Colfax-Mingo’s lone win came from a Tigerhawk who did not compete in track and field during his first two high school seasons.
Junior Brady Berkey is an SICL champion after winning the high jump in his first attempt. The Tigerhawks also were second in the distance medley and 4x400 relays.
The SICL Indoor meet does not keep team points. It’s Spring Break for both Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully so some athletes at both schools were not available.
The Tigerhawks also held out junior Trinity Schroeder because of a minor injury.
Vander Linden, who won the Class 1A state title in the 400 hurdles last season, opened his night with a win in the 400. He stopped the clock at 51.83 seconds.
He set a new SICL indoor record in the 200 with a time of 23.47.
Vander Leest’s runner-up finish in the 200 was timed at 24.63 and his third-place finish in the long jump was marked at 19 feet, 5 3/4 inches. He was third in the long jump last season, too.
James claimed another conference indoor shot put title with a throw of 47-1 1/2, which set a new SICL Indoor record. That was further than the throw that he won the championship with last year. He was third in the event as a sophomore.
Senior Grant Wehrle gave the Hawks’ another top-five finish in the shot put. He placed fifth one year after claiming runner-up honors. This season, his best throw was 38-0 3/4.
The final top-five finish for the Hawks came in the 4x200 relay. The team of juniors Ethan Wyma, Kinnick McFarland and Slater Young and senior Nate Stock finished fifth in 1 minute, 45.27 seconds.
Berkey was just a golfer his first two spring seasons at Colfax-Mingo. This season, he will try golf and track, and his first track season is off to a great start after a win in the high jump.
“I didn’t expect to win tonight,” Berkey said. “I don’t have very good form yet. I think it can be better once my form gets better.”
Berkey won the event with a leap of 5-8. He also helped the Tigerhawks finish second in the distance medley and 4x400 relays.
The distance medley relay team included sophomore A.J. Gibson, Berkey, senior Zarek Hill and junior Hunter Green, and they crossed the finish line in 4:05.49.
The 4x400 relay team featured Berkey, senior Holister Koenig, Gibson and Hill, and that foursome finished second in 3:48.82. Hill nearly rallied the Tigerhawks to a win, but HLV finished in 3:48.67.
“I feel we did a good job,” Berkey said. “It’s harder to run indoors and this was the first time a lot of us ran these relays. It’s a good start.”
Hill also finished third in the 60 high hurdles. His unofficial time was clocked at 8.8 seconds.
There was a timing issue with the boys 60 high hurdles and the 60 dash so all times for the event were unofficial.
The final top-five finish for the Tigerhawks came in the 400 where Koenig placed fifth with a time of 59.01.
Lynnville-Sully and Colfax-Mingo will both take some athletes to the Iowa State Indoor Meet on Tuesday.
The Tigerhawks host their annual indoor meet at Grinnell College at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday in Grinnell.
Lynnville-Sully begins its outdoor season at East Marshall at 4:15 p.m. on March 26 in Le Grand.