SUMNER — A compressed week of track and field meets brought out the best in Krayton Allen.
The Sumner-Fredericksburg senior was the fastest girl on the track last week as she followed up four event titles in Monday’s North Iowa Cedar League East meet with four additional wins during Thursday’s state qualifier in Osage. Her workload included the open 100, 200 and anchor legs on Sumner-Fredericksburg’s 4x100 and 4x200 relays.
“I knew I could do it and I just told myself I had do it because this is my last year and I wanted to go all out,” Allen said. “Winning eight championships in a week was really exciting. I was really proud of myself and my teammates, too.”
Allen’s championship efforts headlined the first conference and regional team wins in the history of a Cougars track and field program that has risen to new heights during her high school years. This week, she hopes to run down her first Class 2A state championship.
“I’ve always had a dream of being a state champion, but now I just have to make it happen,” Allen added.
The sprinter’s top state finish entering this season was a runner-up effort to Madrid’s Rylan Santi in last year’s 100-meter race. Allen is the top returner in that event this spring, and as clocked the second-fastest 2A time of 12.63 behind AHSTW freshman Cara Comer’s 12.57. Her top 200-meter time ranks third, while she joins Hana Wedemeier, Jordan Burrows and Ivy Hirsch on 4x100 and 4x200 relays that have produced 2A’s fastest qualifying times.
“I feel like every time we run a relay, I don’t have to worry about us dropping a baton or false starting,” Allen said. “We’re all very confident in each other and we all believe in each other.”
Allen ran on 4x200 relays that placed seventh as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore, while the team has seen athletes help expand the variety of point scoring options in relay and field events over the past two years.
“She has a great, outgoing personality,” Sumner-Fredericksburg coach Steve Kalous said of Allen. “She leads the team by that. She’s the kind of person you want to be around and they just enjoy spending time with her. ... She’s a hard worker and does everything you want.”
Allen is also a multi-year, all-state softball selection and basketball player who grew up embracing distance runs.
“Every summer, every day, I’d go for a long distance run,” she recalls. “I’m not much of a long distance runner, but I somehow loved to go for runs.”
While she’s become accustomed to sprinting past her opposition on the track, Allen also gravitated back towards distance running when she opted to go out for cross country over volleyball the past two years.
“There was never a day where I didn’t leave practice happy,” Allen said. “Running three miles wasn’t the most fun thing to do, but our teammates and coach, Mrs. (Linda) Wright, was awesome. She definitely made it fun and enjoyable for everyone.”
A natural on the track, Kalous says Allen has put in the time to get the most out of her ability.
“It helps to be talented in sprinting, but she also works very hard,” Kalous said. “She puts in the time and effort and she works on the little things. ... She’s a very good starter.”
Beyond high school, Allen plans to join the Hawkeye Community College track and field team before transferring to UNI to major in elementary education. Celebrating a relay title with her teammates this week would be the dream finish to a high school track and field career filled with victories.
“My favorite thing is just how close we all are,” Allen said. “It would be hard to be as confident going in there knowing that we have to win without having a team that’s close.
“We’re just all so close that we can put each other in our places, but we can also have a lot of fun with it. I’m really grateful for this year’s team and how far we’ve all come.”