WINTERSET — Track and field is all about numbers, and for Perry that number is seven.
The Bluejay thinclads will on the track for three individual and two relay races, while the Jayettes will run in one individual race and — for the first time since 2006 — will compete in a throwing event. The representation in seven different events is the most for Perry in several seasons.
Reece Dunlap qualified in both the 100 and 200, with Adan Medina earning a spot in the 400. The duo will be joined by Jose Castellanos and Alexis Garrido for the 4×400, with Jacob Thompson, Alex Long, Kaleb Olejniczak and Zach Thompson to carry the baton in the 4×800.
Emma Olejniczak will run in the 400 for the Jayettes, with Taylor Lathrum to throw the shot put.
The Perry boys scored 47 points while the girls amassed 60 finishing seventh and sixth, respectively, in the eight-team meet.
Lathrum placed second in the shot put with a throw of 34 feet, 1-1/2 inches. She is coached by Emi Einck, who as a senior in 2006 placed fifth at state in the discus. No Jayette thrower has appeared in the state meet since.
“I had it glued in my head at the start of the year that I was going to go to state no matter what and now I am,” a smiling Lathrum said afterwards. “I knew when I saw the other girls throwing that I had a chance, but it was still emotional for me when I realized I had made it.”
“Coach Einck has worked with me every day at practice and been a huge help,” she added. “Now that I am going to state I want to go and have fun, but I also want to throw 36 (feet) which is my best. If I do that at state I will be very happy.”
Einck said having Lathrum qualify made her relive her own experience.
“It had me thinking about it for sure,” she said. “It is real pleasure to be able to share with her what I know and see her put it to use. I am so happy for her.”
Olejniczak was not a top-five seed entering the meet in the 400 but dropped her season-best time in a strong effort that ended in 1 minute, 4.54 seconds. DC-G’s Ally Ferguson was first in 1:03.97, with Olejniczak holding off DC-G’s Hanna Carlson by 1.07 seconds for the second spot.
Sid Vancil, Breanna Penenger, Mariah Duffy and Olejniczak were third in the 4×800 in 10:21.63. The quartet was faster than Williamsburg, who grabbed the final spot at state, by two full seconds, but as Williamsburg as second at their district they were assured a spot, keeping the Jayette foursome from appearing in the same event in consecutive years.
Dunlap ran an 11.27 100 and a 23.13 200 to place third in both events, with his clockings swift enough for at-large bids. Medina ran 51.62 in the 400, finishing just behind Winterset’s Nick Nelson (51.43) and nipping DC-G Anthony Jacobsen (51.62) in a bang-bang finish.
The Bluejay 4×400 ran a 3:29.77 to place fourth and the 4×800 an 8:29.49 for third; both earned at-large spots at state.
J.R. McCord was sixth (38’11-1/2) and Eli Saemisch eighth (37’10) in the shot put, with Janier Puente sixth in the discus (111 feet). Brandon Kenyon placed seventh in the 400 low hurdles in 59.63 with Long crossing seventh in the 800 in 2:13.42.
Dunlap, Saemisch, Kenyon and Nic Fellom also scored points after placing fourth int he 4×200 in 1:36.67.
Grace Stewart’s 11:55.06 was third in the 3000, with Penenger fourth in the 400 low hurdles in 1:18.21 while Duffy placed fifth in the 1500 in 5:28.4.
Olejniczak and Vancil were 4-5 in the 800 in 2:31.65 and 2:31.66, with Haileigh Kenyon eighth in the 200 in 31 seconds while Lathrum’s spin of 95’2 in the discus was eighth.
The 4×400 team of Vancil, Peneger, Stewart and Olejniczak was fourth in 4:33.95, with Maddie West, Alejandra Rivera, Chelsea Krueger and Star Love sixth in the 4×100 in 1:02.39.
Saemisch, Rivera, Kenyon and Damaris Robles ran a 5:12.54 in the distance medley and Maddie West, Gabby West, McKinley Thompson and Krueger running a 2:18.41 in the 4×200. The former placed seventh and the latter eighth.
The state meet is May 19-21 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The Class 2A/3A portions of the meet will compete from 9 a.m. until approximately 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday; Saturday’s all-class events begin at 9 a.m.