Mount Ayr makes noise at State Track
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The state track meet was one to remember, with great weather and three days of events which were all well executed by the Raider and Raiderette track teams.
Starting on Thursday, the Raiderette shuttle hurdle relay team consisting of Tegan Streit, Aubree Shields, Kaylie Shields and MaKenna Jones opened the state meet with a 12th place finish running an 1:11.35 race, coming in just .25 of a second from making the finals.
Later Thursday afternoon, Ryce Reynolds becomes a two-time state champion, a state record holder, a Mount Ayr High School record holder and earns himself a new personal record with an outstanding time of 48.21 in the 400 meter run to finish out the day for Mount Ayr. “I’ve been a state champion, a Drake Relays champion but to hold a state record, that’s a different feeling,” said Reynolds. “I’m glad I was able to experience that. Not many can say they have done that in their entire career, nevertheless their junior season. It’s a great feeling, it might take a little while to wrap my head around it.”
Friday was the busiest day for the athletes as they competed in 6 events that day.
First on Friday morning was the boys 1600 medley relay team of Preston Fleharty, Jaydon Knight, Braydon Pierson and Ryce Reynolds, who earned themselves the title of state champions after performing with a time of 3:34.14.
The second event the Raider track team qualified to run on Friday was the 4×200 medley, which included Tate Dugan, Drew Ehlen, Jackson Ruggles and Preston Fleharty. They finished 16th in this event with a time of 1:34.38.
Aubree Shields, a freshman, jumped a 5-04 in high jump Friday morning, tying the previous Mount Ayr High School high jump record set by Dawn Huff. This allowed Shields to finish 2nd overall, missing 1st by just one inch. “It feels really good. My goal was to get top eight,” said Shields. “I was just thinking to have speed and get over the bar. I don’t think I could have had a better coach. He helps me improve in the next jump and is always supportive.”
The 400 meter hurdles were next, with Ryce Reynolds. Reynolds earned himself another state record, personal record, Mount Ayr High School record and needless to say he was the state champion, leaving him to be the first athlete in Iowa history to be a state champion and state record holder in both the 400 meter run and 400 meter hurdles two years in a row. “I didn’t even know that was something they kept track of but for him [announcer Mike Jay] to say that after I crossed the finish line is the best feeling in the world,” said Reynolds. “I ran the 800 in the distance medley this morning and didn’t know what that would do to my legs and I just knew I wanted to get out hard and run my race. I could feel my form broke down a little bit at the end but you can’t be mad at that.”
After lunch, the boys 4×100 took the track, but after a poor handoff the relay team of Braydon Pierson, Tate Dugan, Preston Fleharty and Jaydon Knight did not finish the event.
A short 20 minutes later, the Raiderette 4×400 relay team of Aubree Clark, Karlie Larson, Aubree Shields and Anne Newton ran with a time of 4:27.25.
To end Friday’s events for the Raiders the boys 4×400 team of Jaydon Knight, Drew Ehlen, Jackson Ruggles and Braydon Pierson ran a time of 3:30.64 to put them in 8th place in the prelims for this event, allowing them to qualify for the finals on Saturday.
For the last day of the state track meet the Raider track team had just two events to run in.
To start the morning the boys 800 meter sprint medley relay ran the team of Preston Fleharty, Jaydon Knight, Braydon Pierson and Ryce Reynolds. This group of guys put up a time of 1:30.40 which was faster than the previous state record. However, they came in 2nd behind Lawton-Bronson who ran a time of 1:31.12.
The final event that the Raider track team ran at the 2023 state track meet was the 4×400 medley relay finals, which they qualified for late Friday afternoon. They went into finals with a time of 1:30.40 and an 8th place finish in the prelims, but came out of finals with a time of 3:26.76, cutting off exactly 3.64 seconds, earning them a 6th place finish.
At the end of the state meet, the Raider track team finished 4th overall, with their team points totalling up to 41 to close out their season.
Coach Brad Elliott was very happy with the turn out of the meet, despite not coming away with a trophy, stating that this meet is one of the most memorable meets for him.
“I looked at the 4×400 time and it’s number five all-time on the MACHS list, a tenth of a second faster than what we ran up here last year and we just went out and controlled what we could control. It’s amazing how a block of wood can motivate and we were there until the end and the greatest lesson is that you can achieve and do great things and sometimes that little sting of disappointment, I think makes us a better human being than any intangible object. I think the guys and gals up here created one of the most memorable state meets Mount Ayr has ever seen with the records that were broken, state records that were broken. The love and family that these boys and girls have for each other and the program and how the parents supported us, it was a great environment. I’m confident we saw one of the best state meets ever in all classes,” said coach Elliott. “I want to thank Chanse Hall for all the wonderful coverage and care about this program. We wouldn’t have built it or developed it without somebody that tells our story. His work over the years has helped us as coaches build credibility and a reputation with just all the kind words, interest and excitement. Mount Ayr will forever be indebted and grateful for the services he’s done to promote us.”