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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Bishop Heelan High School girls distance medley relay team had to wait an extra minute or two Friday to see if its time was good enough for a state title.

The four Crusaders -- Hope Sokolowski, Hannah Hutchinson, Madison Jochum and Amber Aesoph -- made a semi-circle huddle and stared up at the Drake Stadium scoreboard. The time wasn’t immediately posted and there wasn’t a running clock during the race.

Once their time of 4 minutes, 4.86 seconds flashed on the video board, that semi-circle closed into a full one. They embraced one another in the first moments as Class 3A state champions at the Iowa high school state track and field meet.

Heelan’s win is the first in program history in a running event.

“This is everything we’ve been working for,” Aesoph said. “It’s such a great feeling to finish that so hard and get the school record that we wanted to do. I know we’ve all been looking forward to that for our coaches and for our school.”

Jochum called it an honor to be the first in a program with ample success.

“It’s great us four came together,” Jochum said.

Sokolowski started out the race, and she didn’t like how she came out of the blocks. The weather was very wet to start out the day, and the events fell under a one-hour delay due to early-morning storms.

Sokolowski was nervous that her slippery start cost the Crusaders a state championship.

“I feel like I made up for it in my running,” Sokolowski said. “I kind of was anticipating that happening, because it was so slippery out there.”

Sokolowski and Hutchinson kept a third-place hold in the pack halfway through the race.

That’s when Jochum turned the race around.

Jochum still wasn’t too pleased how the 400-meter dash ended up Thursday, but she made up for it by running a 400 that included passing two teams and giving Aesoph a lead at the start of her leg.

“All I wanted to do was to put Amber in a good spot to finish in, and that’s all I was thinking about the entire time,” Jochum said. “This is showing off everything I’ve ever worked for the last four years. It’s a great way to end my career.”

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2019 Iowa State Track Friday
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2019 Iowa State Track Friday
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2019 Iowa State Track Friday
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2019 Iowa State Track Friday
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2019 Iowa State Track Friday

As Aesoph was coming around the backstretch for the team’s final lap, all she could do was look at the scoreboard. But, the timer was accidentally stuck after the first lap.

Knowing how close the Crusaders probably were to beating the clock, the Crusaders junior turned the intensity up.

“I’m really glad the way things ended up,” Aesoph said.

Turek wins 400 hurdles

Unity Christian senior Mikayla Turek refused to play the runner-up role this season.

Turek finished second last year in the 400-meter hurdles but won the Class 2A race this time around in 1:03.89.

Turek, however, is the second straight Knights hurdler to win. Last year, Anmarie Stuit won the race for Unity.

“I think it’s pretty special,” Turek said. “My teammate, Anmarie, won it last year and I really looked up to her. To be able to follow her legacy, I couldn’t have done it without my teammates, so I’m really thankful.”

Before the race started, Turek visioned herself getting over the first hurdle. From there, she wanted to run just as strongly in the final 350 meters or so. Turek also put pressure on herself to make sure the first-place medal came back to Orange City.

“Throughout the season, I kept on getting better,” Turek said.

She had a good idea she was a favorite to win even dating back to last week at the state-qualifying meet.

“I really didn’t expect much to happen, I really didn’t know how fast I was going to be by the end of the season,” Turek said. “I focused on getting my own time better, and the way it ended out was really cool. I don’t like to think about times or placing.”

Central Lyon wins 4x200

Callie Yeakel didn’t know if she’d sleep well heading into Saturday. She and the rest of the Central Lyon 4x200 team could be celebrating their state championship throughout the night.

They hope they’ll realize they’re state champions by the time Saturday morning rolls around.

“We’ll be sitting in the hotel room with Elle (Petersen), and I’ll be looking up at the ceiling, and reflecting and that’s when it’s really going to hit me,” Yeakel said.

The Lions won the championship with a time of 1:46.53, edging Tripoli in .32 seconds.

Right after the race was over, Yeakel and No. 2 runner Regan Van Wyhe shared a hug and a laugh.

Then, they went to find teammates Sutton Schlumbohm and Elle Petersen. Once the four reunited, Yeakel leaped into Schlumbohm’s arms and they all put gave each other big embraces.

Yeakel remembered having a conversation with Lions coach Toby Lorenzen at the beginning of the season about this race. Lorenzen told Yeakel that he thought the Lions could be state champions.

Yeakel shook her head and thought her coach was crazy.

Yeakel didn’t know what he meant. Then, the Lions ran a 1:49 at the conference meet earlier this year, and that’s when the Central Lyon quartet started to believe.

“That’s when it started to set in that we needed to work on this race specifically,” Yeakel said. “It’s so possible that we’re going to be state champs. It happened, though.”

Yeakel and Petersen are both seniors. Petersen never thought she would be a state champion, despite this year being her third appearance at the state meet.

“This is the best way I could imagine to end my senior year,” Peterson said. “When we got bumped up into first place in the state, we all thought this was a possibility. We were all imagining what that would feel like.”

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