The Garner-Hayfield/Ventura boy’s track team made a strong showing at the State Track Meet in Des Moines last weekend.
On Friday, the 4x100 meter relay of Adam Monson, Brad Nedved, Seth Williams and Alex Van Gerpen finished in 21st place in the final season for three of the runners.
“It’s tough saying goodbye to Brad, Seth, and Alex after all they have done for our track program. When I took over four years ago they were freshmen and they have come so far in their four years with a Drake appearance and running in several state events. Making it to State in their senior year after the rough year we have had with weather and injuries is an accomplishment in itself and I’m so proud to have been their coach,” said Coach Tracy Schmidt.
Junior Joel Toppin represented the black and red very well with a third place finish in the 3200 meter run on Thursday and a fifth place in the 1600 meter run on Saturday. After finishing seventh in the Class 1A 3200 meter run a year ago with a time of 10:20.58, Toppin had his goal set a bit higher for this season.
“Joel has always said the 3200 meter run is his stronger race. His goal was to go under 10 minutes so our focus this season has been to improve his speed,” said Schmidt.
Toppin got off to a good start, entering the first curve in second place, but soon the pack swallowed up the leaders and Toppin was in middle of the pack at the first mile. As the second mile developed Toppin started passing runners one by one. As the final three laps progressed Toppin did more than pass the next runner.
“Joel just kept creeping up on the runner ahead of him and pretty soon he was in the top five. Then in the final 300 meters he kicked into another gear to finish in third,” said Schmidt.
Toppin’s time of 9:57.13 was a career best and a season long goal for him.
On Saturday in the 1600 meter run, Toppin brought another strong performance to the track, running a personal best 4:32.67 to place fifth.
“Joel’s goal was to go under 4:36 so for him to run a 4:32 on such a hot day was fantastic,” said Schmidt.