DES MOINES - St. Edmond's dramatic drive continued on day two of the Class 2A state meet Friday at legendary Drake Stadium.
Looking to stay in the hunt for their second consecutive 2A state crown and third in four years, the Gael boys received a pivotal victory from their distance medley relay quartet of junior Aaron McElroy, junior Cory Angstrom senior Nate Kolacia and senior Neil Flattery, which clocked a new school-record time of 3:31.19.
North Central Conference rival Clarion-Goldfield (junior Brennan Kurfman, senior Dominic Brandt, junior Jayden Boylan and senior Nathan Davis, 3:33.96) settled for runner-up honors despite a strong late push. A year ago, SEHS captured gold in that same event here in 3:34.08.
Messenger photo by Doug Dornath
St. Edmond’s Aaron McElroy (right)?hands the baton off to teammate Cory Angstrom during the distance medley relay on Friday afternoon in Des Moines. For more photos, please visit CU?at www.messengernews.net
"It feels awesome to defend it, especially coming out of the slow heat," said McElroy, who also participated on the champion Gael distance medley last spring. "This one's a lot better because we were underdogs. I was just glad to get my handoff to Cory."
Kolacia offered similar thoughts after running his first 400 in a meet this season.
"This feels great," Kolacia said. "I was so happy with how we ran. (The 2A title) is going to be really close between about three teams, so this was a must win."
SEHS head coach Bill Kibby was also ecstatic with the distance medley's performance.
"That was a tremendous race," said Kibby. "I thought maybe about a 3:33 would put us right in the money, but it turns out that we did even better. We just put together a time trial on Monday, and Nate ended up running our second best 400 in 51 (seconds) behind only Neil. Our 200 people (McElroy and Angstrom) did their jobs, too."
Hank Lentsch, a Gael junior and recent Drake Relays qualifier, tied for 13th in the high jump (6-00) with Western Christian's Sam VanGinkel and West Burlington's Jeff Giannettino. Cody Jamison (6-4) of Monticello was the winner.
In 2011, Lentsch finished seventh in the state high jump at 6-2.
"Hank feels bad right now because he had cleared 6-2 all year long," Kibby said. "None of the kids had jumps that were great, though, and I'm not sure why."
Lentsch ran in the 110 hurdle prelims as well yesterday, placing 18th in 16.15. CMB-Baxter's Josh Zeiser (14.81) posted the fastest qualifying mark.
In addition, the Gael 4x400 was denied an opportunity for its fifth state title in six years, as the crew of senior Kolton Rottinghaus, junior David Flattery, Angstrom and McElroy checked in 23rd (3:36.12) in the prelims.
Leading the field was PCM Monroe (3:25.83).
"(Yesterday) was a lot of fun," said Kibby. "We'll have to see what happens the rest of the way now."
Entering the final session of state competition, St. Edmond sits atop the 2A team race with 29 points, followed by Mount Vernon (24) and West Marshall (24). Neil Flattery (800), Kolacia (1600) and junior Seth Reel (800 and 1600) will all run on the blue oval today for the Gaels.
On the girls side, SEHS junior Hannah Lentsch was 18th in the high jump (4-10). Tayo Ajose (5-07) from Mediapolis came out on top. Lentsch was making her second straight state appearance in the high jump.
"Hannah's obviously disappointed, but things just didn't go right for her," Gael head coach Donn Larson said. "I'm still proud of her, though, and look forward to seeing what she can do next year."
Action resumes this morning with the girls sprint medley at 9 a.m. Junior Mary Eide (1500) will be the lone representative for the Gael girls.
Contact Josh Meyer at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org