Holst snags three race titles at Upper Iowa Conference meet

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Gavin Holst won the 400, 800 and 3200 at the Upper Iowa Conference meet at South Winneshiek on May 2. (Photos by Bev Hamann)

Vaughn Zittergruen grabs the baton from Jesse Polkinghorn in the 4x800 relay. The Warriors finished third in the race at the Upper Iowa Conference meet.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


The Central boys track and field team started last week at the MFL MarMac High School Boys Invite on April 29, accumulating 67 points and placing fourth as a team. The Warriors earned 18 top 10 finishes across the 13 events in which they competed.


Central put up a top five finish in the 100-meter dash, with Jacob Cook crossing the line fifth in 12.31 seconds. Vaughn Zittergruen was eighth after running in 12.91 seconds. Henry Reimer took ninth place in the 200 in 28.51 seconds, while teammate Bryce Heller finished 11th. Zittergruen and Carson Ruegnitz finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 400.


Kyle Reinhart and Jesse Polkinghorn had strong finishes in the 400-meter hurdles, with Reinhart finishing second and Polkinghorn fourth.


In the distance races, Gavin Holst put together a second place run in the 800 with a time of 2:06.96, losing by a little over a second. Polkinghorn earned a time of 2:25.88, crossing the line in fifth place. 


The Warriors finished with a pair of runners in the top 10 in the 1600, with Ruegnitz taking second place in 5:22.90, while Michael White was fourth in 5:37.28. Holst returned in the 3200-meter run with another second place finish, this time losing by a little over two seconds, with a time of 10:27.87. White finished the race fourth.


Central added a few more strong finishes in the relays, starting with fourth place in the 4x400 and third in the 4x800. The Warriors also put together a fifth place run in the distance medley. 


In the field events, Heller took ninth in the long jump with a distance of 14-01 feet. The Warriors claimed fifth place in the shot put with Cook hitting 35-07 feet, while Braden Taylor was 14th. Taylor added a 12th place finish in the discus, and teammate Ruegnitz was ninth.


The Warriors followed that up at the Upper Iowa Conference meet at South Winneshiek on May 2. They enjoyed a thrilling night of races, including three wins, four top fives and nine personal records. Central finished with 77 points to place fourth overall.


“The boys showed the results of their hard work they have put in this season. The team really stepped up to help earn more points where they could. We double placed in four events and had a couple guys end up just short of placing as well. There were boys running races they are not as familiar with, but were doing so to help the team earn as many points as possible,” said coach Colten Ledbeter.


One of the highlights was Holst, who nearly pulled off a perfect night, winning three events and finishing second in a fourth. In the 400-meter dash, Holst held off Brandon Christofferson from MFL MarMac to win the race by less than two-tenths of a second, crossing in 55.04, compared to 55.23 for Christofferson. Holst defeated the field in the 800 by turning in a time of 2:06.43, taking the win by almost 90 seconds over MFL MarMac’s Jacob Schellhorn. The 3200 was the third victory of the meet for Holst, who won the race with more breathing room than the previous two, finishing in 10:34.13 and crossing the finish line a solid 10 seconds ahead of Justin Wagner from Kee. Holst’s only defeat came in the 1600, where Schellhorn returned the favor.


Not to be overshadowed was the rest of the team, who all put together quality finishes. Cook finished seventh in the 100, with Zittergruen close behind in ninth. Both runners were less than two seconds out of first place. Cook added an eighth place finish in the 200, and Reimer took 11th. Zittergruen also competed in the 400, finishing just over three seconds behind Holst in fifth, in a personal record time of 58.27 seconds.


Polkinghorn had a sixth place run in the 800 and put up a personal record time in the 400-meter hurdles with a 1:07.4. That put him in sixth place. Adding to the overall point total was Ruegnitz’s fourth place run in the 1600 and White’s sixth place in the 3200.


Central sent teams out for every relay, starting with the 4x100, where Taylor, Heller, Declan Finley and White finished seventh. The same team also competed in the 4x200 and placed eighth. The Warriors secured two top five finishes in the 4x400 and 4x800, with Zittergruen, Reinhart, Reimer and Polkinghorn grabbing fourth  in the 4x400 and Reimer, Polkinghorn, Zittergruen and Ruegnitz taking third in the 4x800.


In the 800-sprint medley, the Warriors sent out Cook, Taylor, Heller and Finley, who finished eighth. The 1600-meter medley had Reimer, White, Heller and Finley combining for seventh. 


Cook also competed in the shot put, finishing ninth with a mark of 31-09.75 feet, and Taylor and Ruegnitz finished a respective eighth and 12th in the discus.


“It was a great team night with everyone doing what they could to help out. Their willingness to do what’s best for the team makes this group of boys a lot of fun to coach. They boys also came out of the night with some good momentum going into district week,” Ledbeter said.


The team will head to the Community Dreams Complex at Edgewood-Colesburg on May 9 for the state qualifying meet. Action is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. 

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