Ipswich Tribune -

IHS teams combine for championship


Photo courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting

Ipswich Girls and Boys track teams - 2019 Combined Champions!

Similar to last year, Ipswich obtained second place in the girls' State B track and field meet last Friday and Saturday in Sioux Falls, losing only to Deubrook Area 76-67, as that school racked up its third straight State B girls' team title. But any Ipswich disappointment in the narrow loss was quickly mitigated by the Tiger boys finishing fourth in their State B team outcome. And those respective placements, second from the girls and fourth by the boys, were the recipe for Ipswich's coveted first-ever Combined Girls and Boys Championship Award in Ipswich's state track and field history!

The Deubrook girls had grabbed a narrow lead over Ipswich, 45-42, at the end of the first day and on day two the Lady Tigers indeed hung around until the final event, even taking a brief lead or two, until the 4x400-meter relay, where Deubrook was also one of the eight finalists in the event. And Deubrook captured that finale in 4:10.98, while Ipswich finished fourth, clocked at 4:13.60, valiant efforts by Tessa Kilber, Abby Grabowska, Bailey Hammrich and Taylor Maurer, last week's Aberdeen American News Athlete of the Week. (Halle Heinz replaced Grabowska in the prelims.)

On Friday the two schools had also gone head to head in that days' lone relay finals, the 4x800. Deubrook won it at 9:48.59, while Ipswich finished second at 10:00.90 (Tessa Kilber, Aleah Steger, Ashley Ptacek and Emily DeRaad). Ipswich was also second in the girls' 4x100 in :51.64, ran by Bailey Hammrich, Taylor Maurer, Halle Heinz and Lily Gaston. (She was also third in the long jump at 16-01.25, as well as third in the triple jump at 34-04.75.)

The Lady Tigers indeed did all their scoring damage without winning a single event, a tribute to their versatility. They scored 14 points in the pole vault, where Taylor Maurer was second at 10-06.00 and Mackenzie Evans placed third at 10-00.00.

Kamryn Heinz finished second in the shot put at 38-05.00. Aleah Steger was Ipswich's remaining girls' no-relay event placer, placing sixth in the 1,600-meter run at 5:37.17, after just missing a top eight placement in the 3,200 a day earlier.

Ipswich picked up a fourth-place finish in the girls' 4x200 relay at 1:50.20 (Bailey Hammrich, Taylor Maurer, Tessa Kilber and Lily Gaston). The Lady Tigers were fifth in the medley relay at 4:34.91 (Paige Mehlberg, Halle Heinz, Abby Grabowska and Tessa Kilber). (The Lady Tigers indeed placed in each of the five relays, something that doesn't occur all that often.)

Girls' State B team scoring tapered off to 53 points with Colman-Egan's third-place finish and White River tied with Chester Area for fourth at 38.

Meanwhile, the boys' team race wasn't quite as close, as Viborg-Hurley topped second-place Wall 76-63, also punctuating its championship with a 4x400 relay win in 3:33.74, topping guess who, Ipswich, second at 3:35.35 powered by Maxwell Geditz, Carson Simes, Riley Nehlich and Ben Kulesa. (Matthew Hettich replaced Simes in the prelims.) That helped propel Ipswich to its fourth-place tie with Freeman with 32 team points. Freeman wasn't entered in the 4x400. (Another Lake Region Conference team Warner finished third in the boys' team race at 41.)

And Geditz had earlier captured the Class B boys' high jump at 6-4.00, giving the entire Ipswich contingent its lone event championship last weekend and he added a seventh in the boys' 800-meter dash at 2:03.38.

Ipswich had also qualified for the finals of the boys' 4x200, where the Tigers placed third in 1:33.99 and those runners were William Kadlec, Maxwell Geditz, Ben Kulesa and Carson Simes. Tiger runners also placed third in the 4x100 finals, clocked at :45.39 (Dylan Owens, William Kadlec, Matthew Hettich and Carson Simes). So the IHS boys placed in three of the five State B relay events.

There was a planned welcome home on Monday evening in the School Theater, giving Tiger fans a final opportunity to greet and congratulate the Tiger girls and boys thinclads, featuring the 2019 seniors. They will definitely be missed and Coach Todd Thorson would certainly remind you of that fact! For starters, the seniors combined for 60 career State B medals. After introducing the senior girls and boys at Monday's program, he said: "Thank you, seniors from the bottom of my heart." Factoring in the entire season and the state results on both the girls and boys side capped by that awesome Combined Championship plaque, Thorson said that this is arguably the best year that Ipswich has ever had in the sport and a significant reason was that outstanding senior leadership.

The senior girls were Abby Grabowska, Bailey Hammrich, Kamryn Heinz, Kari Kanable, Taylor Maurer, Aleah Steger and his own daughter, Ashlee who he especially thanked, saying that she has not ever missed a Tiger track meet, even when she was a toddler. The senior boys, meanwhile, were Daniel Braun, Thomas Goetz, Ben Kulesa, Reece Moehlenbrink, Riley Nehlich, Sheldon Neitzel, Jacob Nierman, Jaden Onken and Carson Simes. And the seniors who may not have qualified for this year's B definitely made their impact felt in other ways.

Thorson announced the end-of-the-season special awards to the Tiger boys and Lady Tigers, most of which are voted upon by the team members themselves.

Thorson also had mentioned some other thank yous during the welcome home, too numerous to list in this short space. His first, though, was to thank the people taking time off their Memorial Day evening to attend the celebration. "Thank you for coming," he said. "And man, what a year!" (And he was obviously summing up not just the State B results, but also the weather-plagued track and field conditions throughout the season, where it was even difficult to practice certain field events!)

But even those didn't deter Ipswich from eventually setting a LRC girls and boys combined team total scoring record (447.5) and then again in the Region 2B meet (407) hosted by Gettysburg!


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