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May 15, 1920. That date is significant for Mount Ayr sports, marking the first official all-county track and field event in Mount Ayr school history, however, track and field existed as early as 1914, it was an intramural sport until 1920. Rewind just two years and you have the world embroiled in two wars. The Great War, as it was known then, but more familiar now as World War 1. The second war the world was fighting was a global pandemic, the Spanish Flu, named after the supposed origin of the virus. That pandemic lasted until December of 1920.
Fast forward 100 years to April 2020 and Mount Ayr looked to celebrate 100 years of track and field. The season that never came to be was shuttered due to another global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
Going back to 1920, where it all began, the First Annual Ringgold County Track and Field meet was held on Saturday afternoon, described by the Record-News article of the time as an “ideal day of te Ringgold county high schools held in this city”.
Eight schools of the county had entered the meet, however, Benton and Maloy didn’t show up and Diagonal came out with the first ever victory on the Mount Ayr oval.
The first ever meet that would evolve into the Raider Relays saw plenty of events such as the 100-yard dash; pole vault’ mile run; high hurdles; discus; 220-yard dash; running high jump; shot put; half mile relay; running broad jump; half-mile run; 220-yard hurdles; 440-yard dash and had the one-mile relay scheduled but it was canceled due to darkness (a problem that will no longer be an issue with new lights recently installed at the sport complex).
The Raiders had plenty of fantastic athletes throughout those 100 years, but it took Mount Ayr 94 years to take its first State Track and Field Meet championship, a meet that got its start in 1906.
Elliott has compiled a Mount Ayr Track and Field Century Team in honor of what would have been 100 years of Mount Ayr Track and Field.
Gene Ricker (Class of 1964) Gene was a notable member of the 1964 track team that was second in both the Class A Indoor and Outdoor meets under Coach Chet Roed. At the 1964 Indoor and Outdoor State meets his performances were electric. His Individual state meet honors–1st place in the indoor 50, 100, 440 and 2nd in 220. Throughout his career he collected 69 individual and team relay medals in high school and still holds the school record for the 100. After high school Gene attended the University of Missouri at Rolla on football and track scholarships. He currently resides in Ankeny, Iowa.
Ed Defenbaugh (Class of 1970) The 1970 State Meet champion in the 400 meters. Ed’s talents were felt across several sports and activities while wearing the Raider uniform. He held the school record in the 400m that stood untested for 45 years. A multi-time state medalist, Ed attended Graceland University after high school where he was a standout trackand field performer for the yellow jackets wining indoor and outdoor conference titles in the 400. He currently resides in Maryville, Missouri.
Noah Larsen (Class of 2014) Single handedly scored 28 individual points in the 2014 meet with championships in the 3200, 1600 and a runner-up finish in the 800. He was the anchor runner on the championship 4×800 team earning him the 2014 Class 1A Performer of the Meet Award. A 6-time State Meet Medalist, Noah holds school records in the 3200, 1600, and 4×800. After high school Noah attended Iowa Central Community College where we was a multi-time All-American and NJCCAA national runner-up in the indoor 800m. Noah Finished his collegiate career at The University of Central Missouri where he earned all-MIAA and All-American honors including a Drake Relays Championship anchoring the 1600 medley team for the Mules. Noah currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.
Kyle Dolecheck (Class of 2016) A 16-time qualifier for the state meet over his 4 years of Raider Track. Kyle won the first of 3 – 800m titles in a historic Mount Ayr 1-2 sweep. He was also a member of the winning 4×400 and 4×800 relays in 2014. His senior year he became the fifth boy ever to win 3 consecutive 800m (2014, 2015, 2016) State Titles. He also anchored the State champion 1600m Medley relay in 2016 out of lane 8 from the slow heat. Kyle’s performances in the 2016 State Meet earned him recognition from the IAHSAA as the Class 1A performer of the meet. Kyle is currently attending Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA.
Rick Defenbaugh (Class of 1964) Mount Ayr’s first track and field state champion came in 1963 when as a Junior Rick Defenbaugh won the 60yd Hurdles at the State Indoor Meet. Defenbaugh would go on to achieve 2 more gold medals his senior year with a repeat victory in the indoor 60yd hurdles and the outdoor 120yd hurdles. Rick was an integral member of the 1964 track team that placed 2nd in the indoor and outdoor state meets. Rick currently resides in Ashville, North Carolina.
Dan Roe (Class of 1968) The 1968 120yd Hurdle Champion held the school record for nearly 30 years.
Dan Roe participated in football, basketball, track and baseball while at Mount Ayr. After high school he attended Northwest Missouri State on a track scholarship before embarking on a path to become a school administrator spanning communities in Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. Dan retired assuperintendent of Central DeWitt Schools in 2004 and currently still resides in DeWitt, Iowa.
Brent Geringer (Class of 1974)
Mount Ayr’s most decorated track and field athlete won 4 individual state meet gold medals from 1972-1974 in the (3) shot put and (1) discus. His MACS school record in the shot put still ranks as one of the all-time greats in the state of Iowa.
One of a very short list of Iowans to win a Drake relays event as a high school athlete and Collegiate, he attended Rice University and the University of Northern Iowa earning All-America honors 5-times. He holds UNI’s discus mark with a 199-foot, 6-inch throw and is #4 in the indoor shot put with a 60 3-3/4 effort.
Geringer is a 2-time Division II National Champion in the discus (1978, 1979). He was inducted into the UNI Panthers Hall of fame in 2005 as the first UNI track athlete to qualify for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Trials. Brent resides in Wahoo, Nebraska.
Cade Lambson (Class of 2011) Earned State Meet Gold in the for the first time discus in 2009 and set the current school record with his championship toss in 2010 adding to his total of 5 State Medals in both the shot put and discus. He was a many time qualifier for the
Drake Relays in both throwing events while medaling in the discus his Senior year. Cade currently resides in Kansas City, Missouri.
Duane Miller (Class of 1966) A versatile and multi-talented athlete in high school, earning 15 varsity letters – 5 in baseball, 4 in track and field, 3 in basketball, and 3 in football. He was the 1966 Drake Relays High School Long Jump Champion, setting a meet record of 22 feet, 7 and 1/4 inches that stood for 14 years. 54 years later, that jump remains a school record for Mount Ayr Community. After high school Duane attended Drake University where he still holds team records as a standout football player for the Bulldogs. He was selected by the New York Giants in the 6th round of the NFL draft and was tabbed for duty as a kickoff and punt returner. Duane resides in West Des Moines, IA.
Braydee Poore (Class of 2013) A 4-time State Meet qualifier and 3-time Drake Relays qualifier in the High jump. Braydee was a 4-time qualifier at the State meet earning the gold standard competing in the high jump in 2011. He was a 3-time medalist at prestigious events earning runner-up finishes at both the Drake and Kansas Relays. He is the current school and Pride of Iowa conference meet record holder with a jump of 6-09 After high school Braydee attended the University of Northern Iowa and competed in the High Jump for the Panthers earning all-conference honors. Braydee currently resides in Aurora, Colorado.
Mount Ayr Track and Field coaches throughout the 100 year history:
Brad Elliott 2009-present
Coming back around to the current year, Mount Ayr would have graduated six seniors after the State Track Meet in just a few weeks.
Dawson Frost, son of Justin and Jess Frost, plans to attend Simpson College where he will play basketball and major in engineering. His favorite track memory was running at state and all the memories that came with it.
Keelan Klommhaus, son of Kelly and Christy Klommhaus, plans to start work after graduation. His favorite track memory was when Briar Knapp was snoring in their hotel room during State Track in 2019 and Dawson and he threw candy into Briar’s mouth.
Kolben Klommhaus, son of Kelly and Christy Klommhaus, plans to attend Southwestern Community College next year. His favorite track memory was qualifying at Panora last year when they won the shuttle hurdle relay when him, Keelan, Dawson and Briar hugged in excitement after the race.
Isaac Timmerman, son of Lonnie Timmerman and Cortney Wilson, plans to “do something great” after high school. His favorite track memory is the times he broke the other person in a race, being side-by-side and seeing who has the most guts.
Joan Trujillo, son of Salvador and Mabel Trujillo plans to attend DMACC for two years and transfer to Iowa State University for a bachelors in architecture. Joan did not list a favorite track memory.