DES MOINES — Determination and desire are powerful tools in athletics. Mix in speed and talent, championships come.
Finishing second two straight years in the Class 1A 100-meter dash motivated Lynnville-Sully’s Meliek Meyer. The senior was not going to be denied at the 2014 Iowa State Track and Field Championships.
“I just wanted it. Two years in a row it was second, second. This year I finally buckled down and did some hard work and I won it,” Meyer said after his state championship run down the straightaway on Drake Stadium’s Blue Oval Saturday.
Meyer showed he was serious in the preliminary races, posting the fastest qualifying time in the 1A 100-meter dash. In Saturday’s final, Meyer won the first individual state championship for Lynnville-Sully since 2004 in a blazing time of 11.13 seconds.
Senior Bailee Samson was in that final sprint also, claiming third place in 11.56 seconds.
“I had a pretty good start and finished strong. Taking third at state, I can’t complain about that,” Samson said.
Back up one day, Meyer and Samson were part of a senior quartet which set a new school record in claiming second in the 1A 4x200-meter relay race at state. Payton Haack and Brandon Dunsbergen provided the other two fast legs to the relay, finishing in 1 minute, 32 seconds.
“We can’t be disappointed in second. We all had good handoffs and ran well. Madrid edged us out right at the finish,” Samson said.
On Saturday, Samson and Meyer ran one more race individually but together. In the 200-meter dash, Meyer almost pulled off the double but got nipped at the end by Kyle Groeneweg of West Lyon at Inwood, who was second in the 100 meters to Meyer.
Meyer gathered in the second-place medal in the 200 in 22.56 seconds behind Groeneweg’s 22.10. Samson finished fourth in 22.79 seconds.
“Oh my gosh, I’m not fond of the 200,” Meyer said with a smile following the race. “No, it was a fun race and real close right to the end.”
“The 200 is too far for me too,” Samson said. “I had a clean start and happy to finish fourth overall.”
Samson and Meyer then regrouped to end their careers for the Lynnville-Sully’s Hawks in the best fashion. They combined with sophomore Sage Ehresman and senior Caden Doll to capture the 1A 4x100-meter relay state championship in school-record time, 43.92 seconds.
That was the fastest time in Class 1A in the state all season. It was a great birthday gift for Doll. And it secured third place in the team standings for Lynnville-Sully, which ties the highest team finish by a Lynnville-Sully boys’ track team.
“I’m glad I got to run with this awesome group of guys,” Doll said after the foursome won the relay race, “I got to experience not just making it to state but winning a state championship.”
“I’m so blessed to have these three seniors to run with. They’ve showed me the way with their leadership and guided me all season,” Ehresman said. “I’m so happy to get this state championship.”
Samson said he had a good start on the lead-off leg of the 4x100-meter relay race and had a good handoff to Ehresman. Ehresman passed the baton to Doll, who put it in the hands of Meyer on the anchor leg.
“We said it all weekend that we were going to win it. We went out and did it,” Meyer said. “We all ran well and had good handoffs to give ourselves the chance to do it and we did.”
Senior Darin Hofer collected a state medal also Saturday. Hofer finished seventh in the 1A 110-meter high hurdles in 15.65 seconds. Doll ran in Friday’s preliminaries, finishing 10th overall in 15.99. The top eight advanced to the finals.
The Hawk 4x400-meter relay team of Haack, Hofer, B. Dunsbergen and Doll ran 19th in Friday’s preliminaries in 3:37.
THE TOP PERFORMANCE for the Lynnville-Sully girls at the state meet was turned in by freshman Elizabeth Van Manen on Friday. Van Manen pulled duty on Friday morning, competing in the Class 1A discus event and running the lead-off leg of the Hawks' distance medley relay team.
Van Manen checked in at the discus then moved to the track for her 200-meter leg of the relay race. She handed off the baton to sophomore Kasiah Ehresman and went back to the throwing ring.
Lynnville-Sully’s distance medley relay team of Van Manen, Ehresman, junior Cori Rice and senior Tara Vos finished 20th in 4:37.28. The Hawk 4x400-meter relay team of Ehresman, Vos, Rice and junior Madison Rasmusson placed 18th in the preliminaries on Friday in 4:18.33.
Back to the discus ring, Van Manen had a great first throw — a personal best and school record distance of 111’9”. It was good enough to get her to the finals. On her last throw of the event, she pushed her school record to 113’11” and claimed the sixth-place medal.
On Saturday, Rasmusson ran 12th in the 800-meter run in 2:27.48. Senior Alexa Vander Leest concluded her career with her fastest time in the 1,500-meter run. Vander Leest finished 17th in 5:18.31, but only three seconds separated her from 10th place in the race.