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Drake Relays girls' roundup: Cedar Falls' Brinker, Waverly-S.R.'s Reagan Dahlquist come up clutch

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DES MOINES – Pressure makes diamonds.

Cedar Falls junior Myah Brinker and Waverly-Shell Rock senior Reagan Dahlquist were down to their third strike in field events at Thursday’s Drake Relays.

They both came up clutch.

Brinker’s performance under pressure led to a runner-up finish in the discus, while Dahlquist made an adjustment and soared to fourth in the high jump of this all-class meet.

Brinker had scratched on the first two attempts of her Drake Relays discus debut. Needing a quality mark to advance into final round, the Tigers’ junior put everything together and surpassed her personal record by more than seven feet at 130-10. That effort held up for second place behind the winning 140-1 mark from Okaloosa’s Sophia Dykstra.

Entering the discus circle knowing she needed to mark, Brinker made a concerted effort to start slow and then accelerate through the circle.

“This was the time to do it if I was going to do it,” Brinker said. “It was really nice to be able to rally back from the two scratches. I knew that was my last chance to be able to make it to finals and get three more throws. I really just put it all out there.”

Cedar Falls throws coach Bridgitte Duffy wasn’t surprised by Brinker’s poise. During a meet a Waterloo last week, Brinker struggled early before coming back with a 123 to win. The Tigers’ coach is hopeful that Brinker can hit 135 to 140 by season’s end.

“She makes me so proud,” Duffy said. “She does really good at being able to take a minute, reset herself and then get that throw out there.”

While Brinker has also found success in softball and bowling, she says track and field has become her favorite sport.

“They’re all pretty mental sports so it’s nice to be able to have the mental toughness transfer from sport to sport,” Brinker pointed out.

In the high jump, Waverly-Shell Rock’s Dahlquist encountered a subtle roadblock when she knocked the bar off twice at 5-feet, 3 ¾ inches. The Go-Hawk focused on arching her back and cleared the final attempt before elevating over 5-5 ¾ on her first attempt. The early misses were all that kept Dahlquist out of a second-place tie as she finished fourth.

Maddie Olson of Sheldon and Layanna Green of Waukee also bowed out at 5-5 ¾. Keokuk’s Miracle Ailes cleared 5-7 ¾ for the win.

“I got really nervous to be honest once I missed those first two attempts,” Dahlquist said. “I just tried to calm myself down. I took some deep breaths and said, ‘I can do this.’ And I did it.

“I’m really glad that this happened, especially having missed last year for Drake it was kind of surreal coming back and then doing well.”

Waverly-Shell Rock's Reagan Dahlquist cleared the high jump bar at 5-3 1/4 on her final attempt before sailing over her opening effort at 5-5 1/4 to place fourth in the Drake Relays.

Sallee displays consistency

Hudson senior Kylee Sallee has memories of winning a long jump state title and competing in the Drake Relays high jump and long jump as a sophomore inside Drake Stadium.

She was thrilled to return for two events and create new memories on Thursday.

Sallee finished second in the long jump with a mark of 17-6 3/4. Shay Sinnard of Carroll won the event at 18-0 1/4.

“Drake Stadium is always breathtaking and I’m just so excited to be back on the track again,” Sallee said. “It was tough not having a season (last year) so the excitement of getting everybody back in the groove of things is just really awesome and a feeling that can’t be beat.”

Sallee said she settled in as she felt her legs getting warmer during the competition. She improved from 17-4 to 17-5 to 17-6 3/4 on three consecutive attempts demonstrating impressive consistency. Every inch mattered as places third through fifth were within two and a half inches of the senior.

For Sallee, the competition didn’t stop at Drake on Thursday. She drove up to Grundy Center for a track meet Thursday night.

“It’ll be fun being back with my teammates,” Sallee said, during a phone interview on the car ride to her second meet of the day. “Just competing as much as you can is always a blast.”

Hudson's Kylee Sallee completes her first of three mid 17-foot jumps en route to a second place finish in the Drake Relays long jump. 

Wolverines step up to the challenge

Dike-New Hartford took advantage of a chance to punch up against a field of sprinters from larger schools and put up quite the fight.

The Wolverines quartet of seniors Eden Barrett, Alexis Jensen and Jadyn Bennett joined freshman anchor Shelby Ohrt to finish fourth in the 4x200-meter relay with a time of 1:45.38. Ames won the race in 1:42.36 followed by Waukee (1:43.61) and Dubuque Wahlert (1:43.95).

“Being a freshman it’s been an incredible experience running at Drake, let alone running with them,” Ohrt said, looking back at her senior teammates during a post-race interview.

That same quartet finished 11th in the sprint medley and 13th in the 4x100. They own Class 2A’s top times in the 4x1 and 4x2 and showed they can run with the big schools.

“I think it’s awesome to have that competition,” Barrett said. “It’s a good humbling thing. It humbles you and allows you to compete to the best of your ability.”

Tigers third in shuttle hurdle

Cedar Falls junior Maddy McFarland knew when the season started that her school had a special collection of hurdlers. The Tigers have continued to find progress.

Cedar Falls’ quartet of Lauryn Bennett, Noelani Mattson, Johnna Dieken and McFarland was clean over the hurdles in the shuttle hurdle relay, knocking over a second off its top time to place third in 1:06.51

Waukee’s championship time of 1:01.21 was the third best in event history. West Des Moines Dowling was second in 1:04.56.

“I had a great group of girls with me starting us off in that relay,” McFarland said. “They go hard.

“At the beginning of the season it was just kind of like, ‘OK, yeah we’re good. Now after these workouts, coming here running, it’s just like, ‘Wow, we’ve improved a whole lot.’ We’ve got great coaches to help us out.”

Trojans sprint to success

Success in the 4x100 is becoming a tradition at Waterloo East. Thursday was no exception.

The Trojans’ quartet of Valeigha Wright, Ellasa Horton, Jocelyn Nichols and Nyla Norman qualified for the event final and placed fourth in the 4x100 in 49.6. Waukee won the event in 48.59.


Event winners, Northeast Iowa leaders

SPRINT MEDLEY – 1. Ames (Elaina Deardorff, Ireland Buss, Morgan Engles) 1:48.92, 2. Dubuque Wahlert 1:49.09, 11. Dike-New Hartford (Jadyn Bennett, Shelby Ohrt, Eden Barrett, Alexis Jensen) 1:51.49.

3,000 – 1. Shewayne Johnson (Ballard) 9:46.88, 2. Lauren McMahon (Ankeny) 9:59.15, 11. Emma Hoins (Waverly-Shell Rock) 10:21.01.

4x100 – 1. Waukee 48.59, 2. Ankeny 48.9, 4. Waterloo East (Valeigha Wright, Ellasa Horton, Jocelyn Nichols, Nyla Norman), 49.6, 13. Dike-New Hartford (Jensen, Barrett, Bennett, Ohrt) 50.87, 24. Cedar Falls (Sarah Alaugh, Emma Cawelti, Grace Penrith, Lindsey Sires) 51.3.

HIGH JUMP – 1. Miracle Aires (Keokuk) 5-7 ¾, 2. Maddie Olson (Sheldon) 5-5 3/4, 4.Reagan Dahlquist (Waverly-Shell Rock) 5-5 ¾.

DISCUS – 1. Sophia Dykstra (Oskaloosa) 140-1, 2. Myah Brinker (Cedar Falls) 130-10, 17. Abby Boehm (North Fayette Valley) 116-0, 18. Emmaleigh Ohrt (South Winn) 114-9.

4x800 – 1. Southeast Polk (Grace Larkins, Libby Hartz, Mattison Plummer, Jenna Francois) 9:19.9, 2. Johnston 9:27.5.

SHUTTLE HURDLE – 1. Waukee (Natalie Harris, Kynzi Winger, Camryn Weers, Mackenzie Carney) 1:01.21, 2. West Des Moines Dowling 1:04.56, 3. Cedar Falls (Lauryn Bennett, Noelani Mattson, Johnna Dieken, Maddy McFarland) 1:06.51.

100 – 1. Holly Duax (Sioux City West) 12.34, 2. Jessica Kyne (Hoover) 12.46., 8. Lindsey Sires (Cedar Falls) 12.92, 11. Eden Barrett (Dike-New Hartford) 12.96.

400 – 1. Ainsley Erzen (Carlisle) 56.28, 2. Audrey Biermann (Western Dubuque) 56.99, 9. Alyssa Larson (Independence) 1:00.18.

4x200 – 1. Ames (Cameron Moon, Olivia Jones, Ellie Lynch, Morgan Engels) 1:42.36, 2. Waukee 1:43.61, 4. Dike-New Hartford (Barrett, Jensen, Bennett, Ohrt) 1:45.38, 9. Waterloo East (Ellasa Horton, Neveah Jones, Denia Willingham, Nyla Norman) 1:46.9, 20. Cedar Falls (Sara Albaugh, Grace Knutson, Grace Penrith, Lindsey Sires) 1:48.6.

SHOT PUT – 1. Jadan Brumbaugh (Mt. Pleasant) 43-3, 2. Kelsey Fields (Creston) 41-5, 4. Breanna Hackman (Nashua-Plainfield) 39-0 ¼, 17. Boehm (NFV) 36-4, 20. Brinker (CF) 36-0 ½.

LONG JUMP – 1. Shay Sinnard (Carroll) 18-0 ¼, 2. Kylee Sallee (Hudson) 17-6 ¾, 10. Carlee Rochford (New Hampton) 16-7 ½, 24. Miah Norman (Waterloo East) 14-9 ½.

110 HURDLES – 1. Mackenzie Carney (Waukee) 14.69, 2. Natalie Harris (Waukee) 15.03, 7. Paige Kisley (Osage) 15.55, 8. Maddy McFarland (Cedar Falls) 15.58.

800 – 1. Ainsley Erzen (Carlisle) 2:13.73, 2. Kathryn Vortherms (Centennial) 2:15.5, 16. Kiki Connell (Charles City) 2:24.19.

400 HURDLES – 1. Mackenzie Carney (Waukee) 1:04.39, 2. Darci Wiseman (Winterset) 1:04.49, 6. McFarland (Cedar Falls) 1:05.78, 9. Taylor Kvale (Dike-New Hartford) 1:06.47.

1,500 – 1. Ashlyn Keeney (Liberty) 4:39.24, 2. Shewayne Johnson (Ballard) 4:44.97, 6. Kiki Connell (Charles City) 4:47.09.

4x400 – 1. Ames (Olivia Jones, Ellie Lynch, Morgan Engels, Cameron Moon) 3:59.46, 2. Southeast Polk 4:02.69.


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