As the Wayne Lady Falcons traveled to Mount Ayr on May 13, they knew everything they had worked towards all season long had come down to this final evening at the District-State Qualifying Meet. The weather was nearly perfect for this big competition where Wayne would square up against 13 other Class 1A teams including Bedford, Diagonal, East Union, Essex, Lamoni, Lenox, Moravia, Mormon Trail, Moulton-Udell, Murray, Seymour, Southwest Valley and the always tough host school, Mount Ayr.

The Lady Falcons were on a roll after securing 8-1st place team finishes this season with 7 consecutive championships leading up to the district meet. While each competitor was focused on doing the best they could in each of their events as they hoped for a trip to state, it proved to work at the team level as well when at the end of the night Wayne held the top place once more. The Lady Falcons were crowned the Class 1A District 7 Champions after putting up 153 points on the board.

“I’m just very proud of our girls’ effort last night,” said Head Coach Aaron Cooper. “We had some ups and downs and a lot of emotions, but at the end of the night we came out on top.”

While it was a full team effort to take the championship, 8 from the team won’t see their season ending just yet having qualified for the 2021 Iowa High School State Track and Field Meet that will be held in Des Moines at Drake University from Thursday, May 20 through Saturday, May 22.

The 1st Lady Falcon punching her ticket to state was Junior Emily Jones. Jones qualified for state her freshman year before the cancellation of the 2020 season. She placed 1st in the discus event (112’6) and will compete at state at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 21. Jones’ throw in the district meet landed her in 5th across all of Class 1A district state-qualifying competitions.

Another repeat state qualifier from her freshman year, Reese Brown, junior, has earned her 2nd trip to the blue oval after qualifying in 3 separate events. Brown took 1st place in the 100m dash after a nose-to-nose tight race where she recorded a new personal best time (12:86).  This time earned her the top spot across all of Class 1A as she enters the state competition preliminaries on Thursday, May 20 at 7:20 p.m. In the 200m dash competition, Brown was just edged out at the finish line to take 2nd however another new personal best time (26:75), not only earned her a trip to state in the 200m dash, but has her sitting with the 3rd top time from Class 1A district competition. She is scheduled to compete on Thursday, May 20 at 5:10 p.m. in the 200m dash preliminaries.

Brown qualified for her 3rd state competition in the final event of the evening, the 4x400m relay. Brown along with Jocelyn Marquis, sophomore; Jaide Harvey, senior and Devyn Davis, sophomore, have been tearing up the track this season in this event bringing home several gold medals all year long. They once again claimed the gold to earn themselves the trip to state where they will compete on Friday, May 21 at 7:50 p.m. in the preliminaries. They will be entering state competition with the 12th top time (4:19:46) for this event following this district meet.

Marquis gained another gold medal and state qualification after placing 1st with her 4x100m shuttle hurdle relay team of Cortney Knutson, freshman; Morgan Knutson, junior and Morgan Goretska, sophomore. This hurdle team recorded a new personal best time (1:12:81) to place them at 19th entering state competition after the evening of districts.

 After recording a personal best time (1:02:56) in the 200m dash, Marquis learned on May 14 she had qualified for state in her 3rd event as well.  Right on the tails of the 1st place winner, Marquis placed 2nd at districts with a time that places her 11th entering state competition.

“I’m very happy for those who qualified and hurting for those who didn’t, but as a team we accomplished everything we could’ve accomplished this year,” Cooper added.

Placing 2nd and earning points towards the team’s championship was the 4x200m relay team of Marquis, C. Knutson, Davis and Sterling Berndt (1:54:46) and the 800m sprint medley team of Davis, C. Knutson, Berndt and Tana Newton (2:02:77). Jones also took 2nd in the shot put with a new personal best throw (34’4.25) while Maddy Wood grabbed 4th also recording a new personal best (33’4.5).

The 4x800m relay team of Wood, Harvey, Ava Goben and Hagan Arnold recorded a new personal best time (10:53:84) after placing 3rd as did the 1600m distance medley team of M. Knutson, Goben, Katy Gibbs and Mya Willey with their 3rd place finish and new PR (4:53:95).

In the 100m hurdles, Goretska finished 3rd with a new PR (17:93) while M. Knutson was right behind in 4th (18:12). Another consecutive duo was that of Harvey and Maddy Gunzenhauser in the high jump event after placing 3rd and 4th respectively (4’6).

Harvey also took 4th in the 400m dash (1:08:39) as Arnold grabbed 4th in the 800m run (2:40:83). In the 1500m run, Goben took 4th (5:46:14) while Arnold finished 5th (5:50:20)

Placing 5th in the discus was Wood (90’1) and in the 400m hurdles was Goretska (1:18:60). The 4x100m relay team of Gibbs, C. Knutson, M. Knutson and Berndt also placed 5th (55:55) with Amaiya Hawkins finishing 6th in the long jump (14’6.75).

The Lady Falcons close out the 2021 season with 9 championship wins under their belts along with 2-2nd place finishes and 1-3rd place finish.

“It was a truly special season for a special group,” said Cooper in closing.

Check back next week for results from the 2021 State Track and Field Meet to see how our Lady Falcons fare.

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