CEDAR FALLS — In recent years, you have been able to find an Observer-area high jumper on the awards stand at the Dickinson Relays, one of the state’s largest indoor track and field meets.
Calamus-Wheatland’s Cole Moeller won the boys high jump in 2017. Northeast’s Braeden Hoyer followed in his footsteps and won back-to-back crowns in 2018 and 2019.
With both jumpers now in college, somebody new was going to have step up — or leap up — to continue that run of success.
Enter Northeast sophomore Elizabeth Chambers.
Chambers cleared 4-10 during one of the first outdoor meets of her freshman campaign, but dwarfed that in Monday’s season debut.
The sophomore cleared 4-10 on her first try, then set a new personal-best by clearing 5-0 on her first attempt as well.
The bar kept climbing and so did Chambers, she cleared 5-2 — breaking the school record of 5-1 held by Lynne Ketelsen and Shauna McAleer — and then made it over 5-4. Most impressively, she accomplish both on her first attempt.
Ultimately, the next height, 5-6, proved to be the decider as only Keokuk’s Miracle Ailes — the reigning 3A state champion — was able to get over the bar.
But due to her lack of misses at the other heights, Chambers finished second among the other four jumpers (all of them returning state placewinners) who cleared 5-4.
Chambers’ record-breaking runner-up was the highlight of a big day for the Rebels, who had three other top-10 finishes at the meet.
Two of them came in the individual events.
Sophomore Ellie Rickertsen ran the fifth-fastest time — 9.33 — in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles to qualify for the finals and then lowered that time to 9.26 to finish fourth overall.
Junior Neveah Hildebrandt, meanwhile, earned the last of 16 spots (nearly 240 athletes competed in the prelims) in the finals of the 60-meter dash with a clocking of 8.28.
The Rebel was even better in the finals, taking 10th overall with a time of 8.26.
Both Rickertsen and Hildebrandt ran legs on Northeast’s 4x200 team — Madison Tarr and Alexis Ehlers joined them — which earned a final top 10 finish by finishing right at 10th with a clocking of 1:52.43.
The Central DeWitt girls track team had their own top-10 finish in the relays, thanks to the 4x800 team of Crystal Burke, Mason Lange, Carly Small and Hannah Payne.
Together, the quartet finished 10th overall with a clocking of 10:31.23.
Northeast senior Claire Abbott brought home a top-20 finish in the shot put, taking 15th with her throw of 36-3.75 (Central DeWitt throwers Talbot Kinney and Maggie Borota joined her in the top-50 with throws of 33-1.5, good for 33rd, and 32-5, good for 40th, respectively).
Rickertsen, meanwhile, wrapped up a busy day by taking 19th in the 200-meter dash with a clocking of 27.95. Three spots behind her was Hildebrandt, who crossed the finish in 28.03.
Northeast’s 4x800 team of Cenady Soenksen, Makenzie Petersen, Grace Ketelsen and Miya Messerich was 22nd in 11:02.29, while Central DeWitt’s 4x200 quartet of Colleen Klostermann, Morgan Machovec, Small and Savanah Meyne took 25th in 1:55.69.
Klostermann added a time of 8.39 to finish 27th in the 60-meter dash, while Machovec’s leap of 14-10 in the long jump made her 36th (Northeast’s duo of Jaden Smith and Paige Holst and Meyne all jumped 14-7).
Messerich chipped in a 38th-place time of 1:06.42 in the 400-meter dash and was followed close behind by Lange (44th in 1:06.84), Alina Manvelova (48th in 1:07.14), Alyssa Fowler (49th in 1:07.15), Tarr (56th in 1:07.36) and Payne (62nd in 1:07.64).
Soenksen added a final top-50 performance by taking 46th in the 800-meter run with a clocking of 2:42.22.
Calamus-Wheatland’s 4x200 team (Addy Widel, Aubrey Connelly, Emma Bopp and Madison Thompson) provided the Warriors’ top finish with a 75th-place time of 2:12.24.
Connelly was also 93rd in the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 29.51.
Knoche brings home pair of top 10 finishes
Fresh off state medals in the 1A 800- and 1,600-meter runs, Calamus-Wheatland junior Chase Knoche started his quest for a repeat performance by landing in the top 10 of both races.
Knoche had the eighth-fastest time in the 1,600, clocking in at 4:39.93 (teammate Chandler Gannon was 35th in 5:07.38) and took ninth in the 800 with a time of 2:06.19 (again a Warrior joined him in the top 40 with Magnus Sands finishing right at 40th with a time of 2:11.45).
The Northeast 4x400 team had its own strong performance with the quartet of Thomas Machande, Grant Rickertsen, Cade Hughes and Joe Hasken placing 10th overall — they were the only non-4A team in the top 10 — with a clocking of 3:39.32.
Rebels senior Atzin Dondiego uncorked a 17th-place throw of 46-11.5 in the shot put, while Cal-Wheat junior Dillon Grau was just four spots back of him with his own throw of 46-1.
Rickertsen, meanwhile, just missed out on a spot in the finals of the 60-meter hurdles by taking 18th in a time of 8.73.
Hasken was the 44th athlete across the finish line in the 400-meter dash, doing so in 55.06 and was also part of the Rebels’ 4x800 team — Andrew Hilgendorf, Machande and Caleb Gruhn joined him — that took 27th in 8:55.59.