By SCOTT JACKSON
Courier sports writer
---- — EDDYVILLE — Kate Birchmier would have enjoyed her second trip to compete at the State Track and Field meet no matter how many of her teammates came along with her.
As it would turn out Thursday, Birchmier won’t have to look far to find a familiar face competing alongside of her. In fact, the two-time state qualifier will be joined by a close friend in one of her two events next week.
Birchmier swept the district titles in both the shot put and discus for the second-straight year at the 2A state qualifying meet in Eddyville. Unlike last year, Birchmier will be joined by Mustang teammate in the shot put as senior Marissa Shuey followed Birchmier’s winning toss of 40-7.5 with a second-place throw of 36-0.25 to edge PCM’s Abbi Gilson for the second and final automatic qualifying berth.
“It’s really exciting because we’re teammates and because we’re so close and we want to see each other do so well,” Birchmier said after beating out Gilson for the discus title by over 20 feet with a toss of 132-8. “It’s great for the both of us. Getting to go state, for the both of us, makes it that much more special.”
“It’s exciting. Kate’s worked hard for what she’s accomplished and I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at,” Shuey added. “This is my first time going to state and Kate’s gone two times in two years. Seeing Kate succeed and do what she’s done has been really great to be a part of.”
Both Birchmier and Shuey were just part of a fabulous night for the Davis County girls, who automatically qualified 10 girls in seven different events through top-two finishes on the way to running away with the district team championship. The Mustangs beat out Mid-Prairie by 11.5 points and are in the running to qualify for four more events based on the final results that will be announced by the IGHSAU over the weekend.
The Ottumwa girls track team also know that five athletes will compete in three different events for sure in the Class 4A portion of the State Track and Field meet next week at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The Bulldogs got wins in three events Thursday night in Johnston with Sarah Schulz joining in on a personal-best time of 1:49.26 for the 4x200 relay team after winning the long jump with a personal-best leap of 16-4.25.
“Sarah had a monstrous night,” Ottumwa head girls track coach Steve Green said. “I told our 4x200 team going that if you come with the right mindset and you believe it, you will come out of here as regional champions.”
Schulz joins Sarah Thordarson, Ellie Hammack and freshman Erin Sheehy in winning the 4x200 race on Thursday. Hope Bitner joined Schulz in picking up a second win in the field for Ottumwa by taking the high jump title with jump of 4-10 to qualify for state.
“Erin just had an amazing night. It’s unbelievable that she was able to anchor the 4x200 for us,” Green said. “Our jumpers did a really good job as well. They really came to compete.”
Like 2A, Ottumwa in Class 4A must await final regional meets to be finished on Friday for the final state qualifying list to be announced by the state over the weekend.
Birchmier and Shuey weren’t the only Mustang teammates to finish one-two on the night. Junior Ally McClure, who automatically qualified for three events on Thursday, finished off her night in grand style by joining sophomore teammate Addie McKee in punching their tickets to run in the girls 800 meters Thursday.
McClure will also run in both automatic qualifying Davis County relay teams, the distance medley and victorious 4x800 team. The Mustangs also got a win in the 100 hurdles from senior Kassidy Sharp, who beat out Eddyville-Blakesburg/Fremont freshman Karlie Taylor in a time of 15.95 seconds.
Taylor will join EBF junior teammate Tasha Alexander in competing at state in three different events. The two will each run for the Rockets’ shuttle hurdle and sprint medley relay teams. Alexander, meanwhile, returned to state by winning the 400 hurdles in 1:06.9.
Davis County’s dominant night wasn’t just limited to the girls side of the field events. The Mustang boys also had a successful night that included their own one-two finish in the discus with senior Zeb Black edging sophomore Conner Davidson by an inch and a half, 139-8.5 to 139-7.
Davis County sent five athletes to state in four events. Wyatt Garmon taking the shot put title and Andrew Cowles winning the 110 high hurdles.
The Albia boys also qualified for four different relay races, winning the 4x800, 4x200, 4x100 and 4x400. Sophomore brothers Ryan and Luke Sarver were a part of all four qualifying teams for the Blue Demons.
Class 3A, the only class in the state to announce its official list of qualifiers, will see quality local South Central representation from Centerville senior Payton Busch, who qualified with the fourth-best time in the boys 400 and top time in the 800-meter run. Ben Grothe also qualified for the Big Reds in the 1600 meters, Kolton Gonnerman advanced to compete in the long jump, Michael Firkins advanced to the discus, and the Big Reds qualified to run in the 4x200, 4x400 and distance medley relays.
Fairfield’s Jonny Swanson advanced to state in the boys 110 and 400 hurdles. Daniel Schwartz qualified for the high jump while the Trojans also qualified for the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Skylar DeJong advanced in the 3200 run, Drew Richmond made it in the long jump and Brandon Strasser qualified for the discus for Oskaloosa. The Indians will also run a team in the 4x100 and 4x200 relay while the Indians will join the Big Reds and Trojans in competing in the boys 3A shuttle hurdle relay.
In 3A girls action, defending state champion Sydney Howard will return to compete for Fairfield in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Marissa Repp made it for the Trojan girls in the high jump while Sidney Baumann qualified for the girls 3A discus as did Fairfield’s 4x100, 4x200, 4x800 and sprint medley relay teams.
Oskaloosa’s Asia Laudermilch will take on the 100 dash while Tori Palmer will run both run in the 800. Bailey Blythe will run for the Indians in the 1500 and 3000 while Taylor Richardson qualified for Osky in the 400 hurdles and the long jump.
Allie Christenson made it in the high jump. The Indians also will compete in the shuttle hurdle, 4x200, 4x800 and distance medley relay.
Chariton’s Kellie Lahart will also run in both the 100 and 200 meters. Emily Seuferer will head to the field to compete in the shot put for the Chargers.
The Pekin boys will send several of their runners to Des Moines to compete in Class 1A after automatically qualifying Thursday in Highland. Freshmen Chase Copeland will run in 100 while fellow freshmen Austin Fariss made it in 1600.
Senior Cory Loyd advanced to the 110 high hurdles and won the 400 hurdles, beating Van Buren state qualifier Garrett Saunders in a time of 58.6 seconds. Eric Adam and Jared Bond both qualified for the shot put and discus while Pekin’s 4x200, distance medley, 4x800 and shuttle hurdle relay teams also qualified for state.
GIRLS TRACK RESULTS
Class 4A Girls Regional Track Meet
Thursday, May 9
Ottumwa Individual Results (Top Two Finish automatically qualifies for state)
Shot put — 8. Bethany Knox 32-2.5 (PR), 11. Karissa Wilcoxson 27-9 (PR).
Discus — 8. Aurora Aldaba 85-0, 10. K. Wilcoxson 71-9.
High jump — 1. Hope Bitner 4-10, 4. Jami Nickerson 4-8.
Long jump — 1. Sarah Schulz 16-4.25 (PR), 4. Shyanna Rice 14-11.
3,000 run — 9. Jaiden Cloyd 12:22.30 (PR), 10. Sydney Cloyd 12:35.54 PR.
100 hurdles — 9. Kelsey Guyette 17.92, 11. Chloe Davis 18.18.
100 dash — 4. Sarah Schulz 13.21 (PR), 5. Erin Sheehy 13.27 (PR).
4x800 — 6. Ottumwa (Claire Carlson, Sarah Keith, Tory Wolver, Georgia Garrett) 10:55.8.
200 dash — 4. Erin Sheehy 27.28 (PR), 12. Bethany Knox 28.82 (PR).
1,500 run — 9. Sarah Keith 5:41.64, 10. J. Cloyd 5:48.63.
4x200 — 1. Ottumwa (Sarah Schulz, Sarah Thordarson, Ellie Hammack and Sheehy) 1:49.26 (PR).
400 dash — 4. Sydney Strunk 61.17, 6. Charlette Flanders 64.12.
400 hurdles — 7. Tory Wolver 1:16.87, 12. Elizabeth Martinez 1:22.57.
Sprint Medley — 6. Ottumwa (Dani Reed, Hope Bitner, Shyanna Rice, Georgia Garrett) 2:05.26.
Shuttle Hurdle Relay — 6. Ottumwa (H. Bitner, Chloe Davis, Shyanna Rice, Kelsey Guyette) 1:12.10 (PR).
Distance Medley — 6. Ottumwa (Kristi Cary, S. Rice, A. Thompson, C. Carlson) 4:56.02.
800 run — 11. Andrea Martinez 2:46.91 (PR), 12. Ashley Capetillo 2:48.30 (PR).
4x100 — 4. Ottumwa (Sarah Schulz, Ellie Hammack, Sarah Thordarson, Erin Sheehy) 52.43 (PR).
4x400 — 4. Ottumwa (Ellie Hammack, Sydney Strunk, Hammack, Ashlyn Thompson) 4:13.37.