MFL MarMac boys will be represented in four events at state track meet

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Juniors Wyatt Powell (left), Carver Blietz-Bentien and Kade McElwaine and senior Karter Decker make up MFL MarMac’s 4x100 relay, which placed third at the May 11 state qualifying meet at Monticello but advanced to state on time thanks to a school-record-breaking 44.21 seconds. This marked the third time this year that the team set a new school record. (Submitted photo)

Bulldog senior Karter Decker turned in a time of 11.09 seconds in the 100-meter dash—the third best qualifying time in Class 2A. He later won the 200 in 22.18 seconds, which was the top qualifying time in 2A. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Sophomore Parker Kuehl, shown here handing off to teammate Karter Decker, makes up the third leg of MFL MarMac’s state-qualifying 4x200 relay. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

Wyatt Powell and Carver Blietz-Bentien comprise the first two legs of MFL MarMac's 4x100 relay, which is headed to state.

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


The MFL MarMac boys track and field team has qualified four events for the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships.


Senior Karter Decker will run in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and the 4x100 and 4x200 relays also advanced based on their efforts at the May 11 Class 2A state qualifying meet at Monticello.


“We knew it would be tough, but I was excited for it,” said Decker. “We’ve never run in any meets like that this year, where all the teams are better and close to us. It’s exciting to run against the best competition.”


Decker’s time of 11.09 seconds placed him third in the 100 behind Talib Bird of Northeast - Goose Lake (10.93) and Owen Douglas of Williamsburg (10.97). 


In an indication of the strength of that district, it was also the third-best time in all of Class 2A that night. It’s also not Decker’s best. He broke the school record with a time of 10.81 seconds a few weeks ago.


According to Decker, the competition brought down his time in the 200, which he won in 22.18 seconds. That edged Douglas’s 22.33 and was the top qualifying time in all of Class 2A. 


Similar to the 100, where five runners from the district advanced to state, four from the 200 are moving on.


Both the 4x100 and 4x200 relied on times to qualify for the state meet. The Bulldogs were one of five teams from the district to advance in each race.


The 4x100—made up of Wyatt Powell, Carver Blietz-Bentien, Kade McElwaine and Decker—placed third after crossing the line in a school-record-breaking 44.21 seconds. It was the 16th-best qualifying time in Class 2A, which is led by the 43.36 mark set by West Sioux Hawarden.


The 4x200 includes McElwaine, Blietz-Bentien, Parker Kuehl and Decker and was a tick off breaking the school record in that event. Their time of 1:32.88 was fifth in the district (Williamsburg won in 1:31.06), but still the 20th-best effort in the state. Camanche posted the top 2A time of 1:30.88.


Similar to his individual races, Decker said it helped running the 4x100 and 4x200 against faster teams.


“Those races will be just like the prelims at state—similar times,” he said.


Decker previously placed at state in the 100, 200 and sprint medley relay. Powell, a junior who was part of the sprint medley as a freshman, also has state experience.


“It’s a different atmosphere down there,” Powell said. Although intimidating, it’s exciting to know “you belong,” he added.


Powell is responsible for recruiting Kuehl and McElwaine to the team this year. He lured them with the opportunity to improve their speed for other sports, but saw the potential for a state-level relay team.


“They are great athletes,” he said.


For McElwaine, a junior, it was his first experience ever at a track meet.


At first, he said, “I was nervous and didn’t know what to do.”


Although his third year out for track, these relays are also a departure for Blietz-Bentien, who previously focused on middle distance races.


“I got promoted to ones and twos,” Blietz-Bentien said. “Breaking the school record and getting to state is a big accomplishment.”


Now, reflected McElwaine, “there’s good teamwork and chemistry between all of us.”


According to Decker, for the relays, the key to success at state is completing good hand-offs and, of course, running fast.


At Drake Stadium in Des Moines, the atmosphere causes your adrenaline to kick in, he said. “You run faster than you ever have before.”


The goal, added Blietz-Bentien: “We want to compete and do our best.”


The athletes are bolstered by their success in other sports this school year. Football, wrestling and basketball have all competed at the state level.


“We have a culture going here,” said Blietz-Bentien. “It’s not just one sport. It started with football and it’s trickled over.”


“We’ve been building it since we were young,” Kuehl shared.


State track is Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20, in Des Moines. Decker will run first in the 200 (4:40 p.m.) and 100 (6:45 p.m.) prelims on Thursday. The 4x200 final will be at 5:10 p.m. Friday, followed by the 4x100 prelims at 6:40 p.m. If the athletes advance to the finals, those races will be Saturday afternoon.


Other results from state qualifying meet

Last week’s state qualifying meet included some other strong results for MFL MarMac.


Powell placed sixth in the 100 and Koda Warrington 18th in the 200, while Brandon Christofferson was third in the 400, just one slot away from automatically qualifying. Eli Hanson and Keith Anderson turned in respective 21st- and 23rd-place finishes in the 800, and Brent Roe placed 22nd in the 1600. Carter Streicher powered his way to ninth in the 110 hurdles and 11th in the 400-meter event. Teammate Tucker Ruff placed 12th in the 110 hurdles.


Outside the 4x100 and 4x200, the Bulldogs’ best relay finish was the shuttle hurdle relay, where Izayah Streicher, Anderson, Ruff and C. Streicher placed fifth. Powell, Blietz-Bentien, McElwaine and Christofferson combined for seventh in the sprint medley, and Warrington, C. Streicher, Jaxon Millage and Ruff took ninth in the distance medley.


Kuehl led MFL MarMac in the field events, after launching himself to sixth in the high jump. Hanson and Warrington were a respective 10th and 12th in the long jump. Aiden Schoulte threw his way to 13th in both the shot put and discus, while Hunter Christofferson was sixth in the discus and 16th in the shot put.

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