WAVERLY — The last time Carollin Mellin, Meghan Coulter, Alli and Grace Bookin-Nosbisch lined up to compete in a 4x800 relay, the teammates made Ottumwa girls track and field history.
The quest to create more history started on Tuesday for the Bulldog teammates, starting the 2020 season the way the 2019 season ended — with a first-place finish.
The defending 4A state championship team posted a time of 9:43.33 on Tuesday in the season-opening Wartburg Indoor Invitational high school meet. The time was over five seconds ahead of the second place team from Waukee and just over seven seconds shy of the “Blue Standard” automatic qualification for the Drake Relays.
“It was a tremendous effort by each and every one of our girls,” Ottumwa head girls track and field coach Jim Schlarbaum said of Tuesday’s indoor opener. “Much of the team we brought didn’t have much experience competing at this level. They clearly had some nerves going in, but once the gun went off, they performed exceptionally.”
The 4x800 was not the only winning event for the Ottumwa girls track and field team on Tuesday. Anne Guest, who tied for third at state last year in the high jump reaching 5-2, won the Wartburg high jump title reaching 5-5, three inches better than Waukee junior Layanna Grace. Kacy Nickerson also had a high finish in the high jump for OHS, placing fourth reaching 5-0 to open the season, joining Guest in posting a personal-best in the event.
“Kacy’s comeback in a big way after dealing with an injury last season,” Schlarbaum said. “Our experienced runners and jumpers outdid themselves.”
Alli Bookin-Nosbisch did not get the chance to see if she could score consecutive 800 meter wins after winning the state championship in the half-mile race last May. Alivia Van Maanen produced Ottumwa’s top 800 time on Tuesday, placing 14th in 2:41.93 while Alexis Johnston finished 23rd in 2:48.28.
Lina Newland led OHS in the 55-meter dash, placing 20th overall in 7.92 seconds. Montana Hill placed 30th for the Bulldogs in 8.25 seconds.
Newland also led Ottumwa in the long jump, reaching 14 feet and 4.5 inches to finish 18th in her season debut in the field. Mya Davis reached 12-11 in her first long jump competition of the season, finishing 35th.
Chloe Schneckloth placed 17th for Ottumwa in the 200 meter dash, posting a season-opening time of 29.26 seconds. Katie Nelson was 24th in the race for OHS in 30.16 seconds.
Schlarbaum got a look at a pair of brand new runners on the Ottumwa girls track and field team in the 400 meter dash. Freshmen teammates Raylynn Kendrick (35th in 1:16.11) and Sarah Hunger (38th in 1:19.65) both hope to add to the depth of the Bulldogs, who are looking to improve after a season-best sixth-place finish as a team at state.
“Every year when we get those state medals, I always see those big team trophies (given to the top three teams in each class). I always wondered if our team would have what it takes to bring one of those trophies home,” Schlarbaum said. “Don’t get me wrong, the teams that win those trophies are extraordinary, but I think we’ve got a pretty extraordinary team of our own.”
Monserrat Guerrero Chapula placed 27th with Ottumwa’s top 1,500 time of 6:35.82. Chloe Shaw posted a season-opening time of 7:04.88, placing 31st for the Bulldogs.
Isabelle Mellin finished 14th for Ottumwa in the 3,000-meter run, opening the season posting a time of 12:45.58. Lilly Mitchell finished 22nd, making her OHS varsity track debut with a time of 14:19.76.
Zoey Jones placed 20th to place the Bulldog girls in the hurdles, running the 55 meter race in 10.01 seconds. Emma Weilbrenner was 36th in 11.35 seconds.
Freshman Jordan Pauls led Ottumwa in her varsity debut, throwing the shot put over 29 feet (29-2.5) to place 26th. Fellow Bulldog freshman Emma Strayer finished 45th in the shot put with a season-opening throw of 20 feet, seven inches.
Freshmen teammates Olivia Coram, Ella Allar, Katie Shewry and Jennifer Davis posted a time of 4:58.64 in an 18th-place finish for Ottumwa in the 4x400 relay. The Bulldogs also placed 22nd in the 4x200 relay with senior teammates Melanie Alvarado, Guadalupe Patlan and Yasmena Diaz joining freshman Mallory Morgan to post a time of 2:09.7.