When the GAC Central Track and Field Championships came to an end on Thursday night at Rauch Field, Washington’s girls were celebrating in the pouring rain.
Neither the rain, nor the competition could do much to keep the Lady Jays from reaching their goal on this night.
Led by a total team effort, Washington’s girls won the conference meet for the fifth-straight year. With that, the streak continues.
“This year’s seniors have been GAC champions all four years of their careers,” Washington Coach Michael Olszowka said. “This is something that they will always have. This kind of persistence shows the value of not just great athletes, but also of great kids with strong character and leadership. Each and every year we have great kids that pass on their dedication, desire, and work ethic to the next class. This doesn’t just build teams, it makes an entire program a success.”
Washington’s girls finished first in the team standings with 97 points. Holt was second with 88 team points, Fort Zumwalt South (75) was third, while Fort Zumwalt North (63) took fourth and Fort Zumwalt East (48) was fifth.
Zumwalt East took the boys’ crown with 98 points, with Holt (89) second and defending champ Zumwalt South (83) settling for third. Washington finished fourth (58), and Zumwalt North (46) was fifth.
“Our boys team may have finished fourth, but they had a great meet,” Olszowka said. “We moved most of the freshman and sophomores down to the JV division so they could race the kids they will see for the next three years. This left the varsity team a little short-handed in their division.”
Olszowka added the meet ran very smoothly, thanks to a lot of help.
“The great thing about being a Blue Jay is the support that you receive from across the community and the district,” Olszowka said. “Usually at the GAC Meet each team must supply a coach or two to help run the events and work other parts of the meet. Mr. (Bill) Deckelman takes great pride in setting up high-class events here at Washington. We had enough parents, teachers, coaches, and administrators volunteer to help at the meet that not one coach from another school had to take time to be an official. Instead, their time was used to focus on coaching their kids. The kids on our track team had more than great track performances. They also worked their butts off. They know they are always on call. We would have kids finish an event and then run over to a field event to take someone else’s place so they could prepare for their next event. We had our kids run up to coaches from other schools and physically take hurdles out of their hands, because this is “their track and their home.” And they take pride in being the ones that are responsible for their facility.”
Washington’s girls scored points in all but one event. In fact, Washington’s girls had top three finishes in 13 of 18 events.
Washington had four event champions in the meet.
• M.C. Landolt captured the 100-meter dash championship, crossing the line at 12.57. “M.C. had another amazing GAC Meet, capping a great GAC career,” Olszowka said. “She has become one of three athletes I have ever coached to win a conference title in the same event all four years. This is an extraordinary feat. It takes more than talent to not only maintain one’s physical strengths, but also the discipline and dedication to continue to improve through all four years.”
• Makenzie Straatmann won the 400 with a time of 1:02.68. “Makenzie’s dedication has finally given her an individual GAC title,” Olszowka said. “We were hoping to steal some points in the 400, and Coach (Tim) Rinne recommended moving Makenzie from a sprint relay to the open 400. Makenzie tends to put a lot of pressure on herself. But a great thing about Makenzie is that with the added pressure comes greater strength. Her career has been marred by injuries, but her dedication and desire have helped her overcome injuries and become a GAC champion.”
• Abi Brown topped the field in the 800 at 2:20.34. “Abi ran her best 800 of the season,” Olszowka said. “She was a little stressed because her times have been stagnant. She looked smooth through 500 and she decided to make her ending push 100 earlier than she is used to, earning her a season best.”
• The 3,200-meter relay team of Sarah Bretzke, Sarah Brock, Josie Plowman, and Brown won in 10:07, eight seconds faster than second-place FZS. “The girls 3,200 relay had another strong day. We had Abi going across the board with four events, and we really needed Josie, Brock, and Bretzke to run strong to get us a nice lead so we could hold Abi back a little bit. We had three very strong splits from the first three, including Bretzke’s season best to put us in great position to coast in to a GAC championship.”
Washington’s second-place finishers were Jenna Haas in the high jump (4-10) and the triple jump (31-4.5), M.C. Landolt in the long jump (16-7) and the 200-meter run (26.45), Megan Bauche in the 100 hurdles (16.43), and Plowman in the 3200 (12:06.31). The 800 relay (Brock, Brown, Landolt, Anna Arnold) finished second in 1:51. Bauche took third in the long jump (16-0) and in the triple jump (31-2). Plowman was fourth in the 1,600 (5:38.41) and the 400 relay (Arnold, Bauche, Katie Trigg, Karlee Toraason) took fourth (55.78).
Others who contributed points were Alyssa Unnerstall in the pole vault (fifth), Katie Chafin in the shot put (fifth), Brock in the hurdles (fifth), Bretzke in the 800 (fifth), and Cheyanne Leslie in the 3,200 (fifth).
The Blue Jays had two meet champions, both in the throwing events.
• Austin Subke won the discus with a toss of 135-10, and Nathan Kopp took first in the shot put (45-0.75). “Our throwers got the boys off to a great start,” Olszowka said. “We went 1-2 in the shot and 1-3 in the discus. Nathan and Austin won their first GAC individual championships. These two have been coming on strong for the last four weeks. They have been so consistent that it is easy to focus on technique. As their technique improves I believe that they have a chance to quality out of the district meet this Saturday at Jefferson City.”
Washington’s second-place finishers were Austin Beers in the long jump (19-6.5), Alex Templeton in the shot put (40-9.25), and Caleb Curran in the 400-meter dash (52.88). “Austin Beers has had a tough year,” Olszowka said. “He has been dealing with a hamstring injury on and off all season. With the warmer temperatures he is finally getting back to 100 percent. He stuck a huge PR in the long jump, making him the GAC runner-up for the event.”
Taking third were Curran in the long jump (19-1), Kopp in the discus (122-2), and Travis Elbert in both the 1,600 (4:35.84) and 3,200 (10:23). Isaac Lippert took fourth in the high jump (5-6), while the 3,200 relay (Tate Kitchell, Landon Jarvis, Billy Schneider, Curran) finished fourth in 8:57.02 and the 1,600 relay (Beers, Curran, Jarvis, Lippert) took fourth in 3:55.75.