Prep Track and Field

Drake Relays: A broken record, and a broken flag, for Payton Wensel

Linn-Mar star scorches 400 hurdles in 1:00.25, runs on winning 400-meter relay

Linn-Mar’s Payton Wensel reacts after winning the girls’ 400-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on Saturday. Wensel won the event in a Drake-record 1:00.25, the second-best time in Iowa history. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Linn-Mar’s Payton Wensel reacts after winning the girls’ 400-meter hurdles at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on Saturday. Wensel won the event in a Drake-record 1:00.25, the second-best time in Iowa history. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — For an instant, Payton Wensel wore a sad face in the media room.

It wasn’t very convincing.

Wensel held up a Drake Relays championship flag, her third of the weekend. The top of it drooped away from the stick of which it had been attached.

“Look at this,” she said, with mock glumness.

Then she lit up and snickered.

A senior at Linn-Mar High School, Wensel capped a productive three-day stretch at Drake Stadium with a record-breaking run in the 400-meter hurdles and as a member of the Lions’ triumphant 400-meter relay Saturday.

Seeded third after Friday’s preliminaries, the foursome of Chana Northrup, Wensel, Olivia Hubler and Jill Bennett finished in 48.18 seconds, edging Dubuque Wahlert (48.30).

Photo Gallery: Saturday's Drake Relays high school girls' events

This is why Wensel lobbied hard earlier in the season to run in the 4x100.

“I knew we had a trio of fast runners in there anyway, and I had a feeling that I could help, too,” said the University of Iowa signee.

Usually it’s Wensel in the spotlight, but Bennett had her moment as the anchor.

“I love anchoring,” Bennett said. “It’s great to be able to finish the race.”

With a Drake record in her pocket already — she anchored the sprint medley relay to a 1:44.07 clocking Friday — Wensel earned another with a 1:00.25 effort in the 400 hurdles, which ranks No. 2 all-time in Iowa.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s insane, going from the form I had last year to now,” Wensel said. “Instead of being awkward and going way over the hurdles, now I’m leaning and driving my arms.”

Wensel was introduced to the event last year and was a quick study. She won the 2017 Drake title in 1:02.17, then lowered it significantly Saturday, winning by more than 2 1/2 seconds.

The old Drake record was 1:01.01, set by Davenport North’s A.G. Bradford, in 2008.


Only one Iowa girl — Debbie Esser of Woodbine (1975) — has broken the 60-second mark in the 400 hurdles. Wensel hopes to become the second.

“I’m definitely looking at sub-60 in the near future,” Wensel said. “I’m happy to put the time I ran today on the board. I was really tired after yesterday (winning the sprint medley and finishing second in the 800). I push myself to be the best I can, every time out, because some people don’t have the opportunities I’ve had.”

Benton Community and Mount Vernon were 2-3 in the shuttle hurdle relay, behind West Des Moines Dowling. Waukee crossed the finish line first but was disqualified, allowing Dowling (1:03.04), Benton (1:05.55) and Mount Vernon (1:06.79) to climb a spot.

“It would have been nice to have won an event, but three (second-place finishes) is pretty good,” anchor Grace Martensen. “We’re like the underdogs here.”

Iowa City West was second in the 3,200-meter relay, in 9:18.22. Waukee won it in 9:15.60.

Deniz Ince moved the Women of Troy from sixth to second with a 2:14.2 third leg.

“I just wanted to pass girls and get us toward the front,” she said. “I got the baton to (anchor) Bailey (Nock) in the best position I could.”

The 1,500-meter race was a carbon copy of Thursday’s 3,000, with Crestwood’s Ellie Friesen tucking behind Mid-Prairie’s Anna Hostetler before outkicking her at the end. Friesen was clocked in 4:31.11, Hostetler in 4:32.10. Nock was third.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Waukee grabbed the girls’ Hy-Vee Cup with 28 points. Southeast Polk (24) and Linn-Mar (20) were second and third.

DRAKE RELAYS: SATURDAY’S GIRLS RESULTS

Hy-Vee Cup (top 5) — 1. Waukee 28, 2. Southeast Polk 24, 3. Linn-Mar 20, 4. Dubuque Wahlert 12, 5. West Des Moines Dowling 10.

3,200 relay — 1. Waukee (Campbell, Caraway, Schaffer, Akason), 9:15.60; 2. Iowa City West, 9:18.22; 3. Southeast Polk, 9:23.29; 4. West Des Moines Dowling, 9:30.72; 5. Johnston, 9:39.28; 6. Dubuque Wahlert, 9:39.32; 7. Ottumwa, 9:40.12; 8. Iowa Falls-Alden, 9:40.64.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. West Des Moines Dowling (Baccile, Odir, Gehrke, Okwaramoi), 1:03.04; 2. Benton Community, 1:05.55; 3. Mount Vernon, 1:06.79.

400 hurdles — 1. Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar), 1:00.25 (Drake record); 2. Isabel Ingram (Ames), 1:02.90; 3. Janette Schraft (East Mills), 1:03.18; 4. Katie Nimrod (Decorah), 1:03.46; 5. Skyler Shellmyer (Urbandale), 1:04.76; 6. Macie Boots (HLV), 1:05.42; 7. Caroline Schaeckenbach (Iowa City High), 1:05.67; 8. Emily Holterhaus (Pella), 1:05.76.

400 relay — 1. Linn-Mar (Northrup, Wensel, Hubler, Bennett), 48.18; 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 48.30; 3. Waukee, 48.75; 4. Benton Community, 48.80; 5. Pleasant Valley, 48.96; 6. Ames, 49.33; 7. Waterloo West, 49.47; 8. Des Moines Hoover, 49.49.

1,500 — 1. Ellie Friesen (Crestwood), 4:31.11; 2. Anna Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 4:32.10; 3. Bailey Nock (Iowa City West), 4:38.32; 4. Janette Schraft (East Mills), 4:42.14; 5. Helen Gould (West Des Moines Valley), 4:43.34; 6. Sophia Jungling (Aplington-Parkersburg), 4:45.80; 7. Marie Hostetler (Mid-Prairie), 4:45.97; 8. Amelia Lesher (North Polk), 4:46.71.

1,600 relay — 1. Southeast Polk (Hill, Clement, Larkins, Milani), 3:52.09; 2. Davenport Assumption, 3:56.18; 3. Waukee, 3:56.71; 4. West Des Moines Dowling, 3:59.35; 5. Solon, 3:59.63; 6. Pleasant Valley, 4:02.46; 7. Decorah, 4:02.89; 8. Dubuque Wahlert, 4:04.98.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

CONTINUE READING

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.