EARLHAM — Colfax-Mingo sophomore Colbee Cunningham didn’t participate in last year’s state qualifying track and field meet at Belle Plaine. She even started this season as a JV runner on the 4x200 relay team.
Less than two months later, Cunningham eventually worked her way into some varsity relays and she won a spot on one of the team’s best events.
After winning a run-off in practice, Cunningham is headed to her first state meet after the Tigerhawks won the 4x800-meter relay at a Class 1A state qualifier on May 11.
The win in the 4x800 relay was the only victory for the Tigerhawks on the night.
“My teammates and I worked really hard,” Cunningham said. “They really bonded with me and pushed me hard and it worked out for us. I began the season on the JV 4x200 so this feels amazing.
“I am super nervous so Dakota will have to talk us through it.”
Dakota Hostetter will make her fourth trip to the blue oval after anchoring the 4x800 relay team to a comeback win. The Tigerhawk foursome of sophomore Ilia Hostetter, freshman Abbey McConeghey, Cunningham and Dakota Hostetter finished in a season-best time of 10 minutes, 28.97 seconds.
Dakota Hostetter got the baton in second place but rallied with an anchor leg of 2:24.
“It’s really cool. That’s the one I wanted the most. We have been working hard in that one all year,” Dakota Hostetter said.
The Tigerhawk boys got one automatic berth into next week’s state meet. Junior Reegan Van Dyke won the high jump and just missed an automatic berth with a runner-up finish in the long jump.
Van Dyke will be the only Tigerhawk boys athlete who will participate in the state track and field meet, which kicks off May 18 and runs through May 20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“I felt good. I just wanted to get to six foot because I knew that height would make it,” Van Dyke said. “ I didn’t go to state last year, and I didn’t go out for track my freshman year so this feels good. I love it. It’s amazing.”
The top finisher in every event in all 1A state qualifiers earn automatic bids into the state meet. The next best 14 times, distances and heights earn at-large bids. Those at-large bids will be announced sometime Friday afternoon.
The Tigerhawk boys finished third as a team with 78 points. Host Earlham cruised to the team title with 211 points.
The Cardinals won 14 of the 19 events and went 1-2 in four events. Mount Ayr scored 115.5 points in third. Colfax-Mingo was four points better than Wayne, and Southeast Warren was a distant fifth with 41 points.
Dakota Hostetter led the Tigerhawk girls to a sixth place finish. Colfax-Mingo scored 65 points on the night. The difference between third and sixth was 12 total points.
Mount Ayr (132) completed a perfect team season with another championship. Earlham was second with 103 points, and the remaining top five were East Union (77), Martensdale-St. Marys (76) and Wayne (76).
While Dakota Hostetter is now a four-time state qualifier, the rest of her 4x800 teammates will run inside Drake Stadium for the first time.
“It feels great. I’m so excited to get to go with Dakota again just like in cross country,” Ilia Hostetter said. “That was a fun experience, and I am hoping for another fun experience.
“We just want to keep improving our time. This has been a strong event all season.”
The 4x800 won’t be the only event the Tigerhawk girls perform at state in.
The distance medley relay team placed third but ran a time that ranks 14th in 1A this season. The team of sophomore Jordan Atwood, Cunningham, Dakota Hostetter and McConeghey ran a season-best time of 4:34.56 and earned an at-large berth.
Dakota Hostetter will run on the distance medley relay team at state for the fourth straight season. This time, she’ll be on the 400 leg.
“It’s cool to make it all four years,” Dakota Hostetter said. “I don’t enjoy the individual events as much. They are not as fun. I like being with teammates and passing the batons. Having Abbey to run the mile with me is way more fun that it was the past few years when I had to do it alone, too.”
Speaking of the mile, Dakota Hostetter and McConeghey went 2-3 in the 1,500. Both times though got at-large bids. Hostetter was second with a time of 5:14.72, and McConeghey finished third in 5:15.62.
Dakota Hostetter was passed in the final 50 meters by Southeast Warren’s Elise Emmick, who Hostetter beat last week at the Cardinal Relays.
“I love her. She is so nice. She is one of those people that you are happy for even though she passed me in the last 50 meters,” Dakota Hostetter said of Emmick. “We are really good friends. We have been running against each other for a long time. I do think all three of us will make it with those times. She had that kick today though.”
Dakota Hostetter came up short of an automatic berth in the 200. She finished second with a time of 27.84. She was .02 seconds off another win but still advanced to state after picking up one of the final at-large bids.
“It stinks that it was so close. I wasn’t expecting to make it anyway, but it will be cool to go in that if I make it,” Dakota Hostetter said immediately following the event.
Junior Rhiannon Haley and sophomore Braedynn Rawlins gave the Tigerhawks a 3-4 finish in the shot put. Haley was third with a toss of 33 feet, 0 inches, and Rawlins placed fourth with a toss of 32-11 1/4.
On the boys’ side, Van Dyke locked up his first state berth with a leap of 6-0 in the high jump.
He then nearly pulled off another automatic berth in the long jump but came up just short, finishing second with a leap of 19-3. The winning jump was 19-4 1/2.
“I was jumping like 17-5 in the preliminaries. Then I popped off a 19-3. They told me 19-4 won, which stinks to be so close,” Van Dyke said. “I know I am going in one event though. Being able to go in two would be awesome.”
Another close call came in the shot put. Senior Jimmy Camp finished second in the event, but he only trailed winner Drew Williamson of Earlham by an inch. Camp’s runner-up throw was marked at 42-11 3/4. Williamson won with a toss of 43-0 3/4.
Two Tigerhawk relays were third on the night.
The shuttle hurdle relay team of sophomore Cauy Fitch, junior Nick Barnes, sophomore Nathan Evans and freshman Trinity Schroeder finished with a time of 1:09.61.
The 4x800 team also was third with a time of 9:28.31. That foursome included Schroeder, Barnes, junior Alex Lewis and freshman Zack Barnes.
C-M girls tie for third at Martensdale
MARTENSDALE — With the state qualifier looming, Colfax-Mingo girls’ track and field coach Zach Tomas decided to lighten the load for his Tigerhawk squad.
Even so, Colfax-Mingo was still very competitive in the Martensdale-St. Marys Girls Invitational on May 8.
Dakota Hostetter added to her team-high point total with 22.5 more points after winning the 100- and 200-meter dash, and the Tigerhawks finished in a tie for third in the team standings.
Wayne scored 150 points to win the Class B standings. Host Martensdale-St. Marys was four points better than East Union and Colfax-Mingo, who both scored 128 in third. Twin Cedars was a distant fifth with nine points.
The Tigerhawks won four events on the night.
Hostetter won the 100 in 13.85 seconds and crossed the finish line first in the 200 in 28.44. Hostetter has now won the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000 in 2017.
McConeghey won the 1,500 in 5 minutes, 20.42 seconds.
The other win came in the shot put as Colfax-Mingo finished 1-2. Rawlins won the event with a toss of 31 feet, 10 inches, and Haley was second with a throw of 31-9.
The Tigerhawks also went 1-2 in the 200. Hostetter was followed at the finish line by Atwood, who stopped the clock in 30.15 seconds.
Ilia Hostetter and junior Ries Wilson each finished second in an individual event.
Wilson was the runner-up in the high jump with a leap of 4-8, and Ilia Hostetter finished second in the 3,000 with a time of 13:59.23.
Senior Alivia Haley grabbed the bronze medal with a throw of 90-5 1/2.
Three relays were third overall — the shuttle hurdle, sprint medley and distance medley.
The sprint medley team of sophomore Samantha Jeter, freshman Jodine Woods, Atwood and junior Courtney Burdess was third with a time of 2:10.17.
The shuttle hurdle relay of juniors Bridget Reese and Danielle Decker, senior Reagan Nichol and sophomore Hannah Johnson crossed the finish line with a time of 1:26.14.
The distance medley team finished third. The team of Atwood, Cunningham, Dakota Hostetter and McConeghey finished in 4:39.26.