FOREST CITY — The Forest City High School boys 4 x 400 meter relay team pulled off a thrilling win April 15 in the Forest City Indian Relays to capture the Frank Munch Memorial Trophy. The trophy annually goes to the best mile relay team.
The Indians secured second place in the Class A Division team race at the meet.
The Indians finished the night with 164 points. Humboldt won the meet with 165.5 points and Webster City was third at 121.5.
It was a nearly perfect ending to a very good week for the Indians, who won the team title at Clarion Goldfield on Monday, April 11, then finished third one night later at Clear Lake.
The Indian Relays featured two divisions, Class A with seven teams, and Class B with seven teams. St. Ansgar ran away with the Class B title.
The Class A portion of the meet came down to the wire. Humboldt, who finished second in the 4 x 400 relay, could not have finished any lower in the event without letting the Indians grab the team title in the meet’s final event.
Richard Gildemeister, who won the open 400 meter dash, ran the team’s first leg, opening a lead as both Humboldt and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows were in the same heat. Brandon Finch ran the second leg and ended his lap in a tight race for second place.
Tyler Anderson, who was third in the open 400, took the baton and moved up late in the lap.
“I hung back and let them break some of the wind,” said Anderson. “Then when we got to the third corner and pushed it a little harder and got by both of them.”
Waiting to run his leg, Timmy Thompson stepped from the third spot in the exchange zone to the second. “When I saw Tyler go by the last guy, I just stepped inside and said, ‘we’re first.’”
Thompson, who missed the two previous meets with an ankle injury, ran a strong fourth leg, crossing the finish line first. And while Forest City did its part by winning the race in 3:31.31, the Indians didn’t get the help they needed to pull out the championship.
As Clarion Goldfield Dows and Humboldt raced to the finish line, the Humboldt anchor passed the CGD runner in the final 25 meters to take second place and secure it the team title.
The Indians were consistent throughout the evening and finished with five first-place finishes.
Colton Shipman won the shot put and Finch won the long jump to give Forest City a pair of gold medals in the field events while Gildemeister won the 400 in 53.87. Mitch Lambert placed first in the 110 high hurdles in 17.45.
Anderson was also the runner-up finisher in the long jump, Ben Midtgaard was second in the 110 high hurdles and Grady Hovenga was second in 800 meter run while the 4x800 and the medley relays also scored big points in second place.
“We’re really getting good balance,” said head coach Brian Hovenga. “We’re scoring in the events where we expect to, and getting good performances from everyone else. I’m very pleased where we’re at right now.
If the Indians could have changed anything at all on Friday, it would have been a split second in the exchange zone of the 4 x 100 meter relay. A dropped baton resulted in an Indian disqualification. Any points at all may have helped the Indians capture their own meet.
“They always say the worst sound in the world for a track coach is the sound of a baton hitting the ground,” said Hovenga.
Moments after the meet ended, Hovenga spoke to his team in the endzone of the Waldorf football field. After congratulating the team on a strong performance he talked about focusing on details and doing things right at practice and during competition.
“I was going to be harder on them,” he said of his post-meet talk. “But I really couldn’t after the kind of day we had. Everyone on this team, especially my seniors, works so hard and really gives it their all.”
On April 11 the Indians attended the Cowboy Relays, a make-up event in Clarion Goldfield Dows, where they won the seven-team event with 156 points. Clear Lake was second with 99 and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows third with 82 points.
Anderson won both the 400 meter run and the long jump and ran a leg on the winning 4 x 400 meter relay team.
Grady Hovenga won the 1600 meter run and Colton Shipman won the shot put.
April 12 in Clear Lake, the Indians scored 83.5 team points, finishing behind Algona and Clear Lake.
The Indians did not win an event, but Lambert was second in the high jump and third in the 110 meter hurdles and all six relays turned in second-, third- or fourth-place finishes.