What we learned from the final day of Drake Relays competition: Ames girls take second in 4x400

Joe Randleman
Ames Tribune

The Ames girls didn't get a white flag at the Drake Relays this time around, but the Little Cyclones finished the event with their best performance and plenty of motivation for the state meet.

After winning the Drake Relays Cup in 2021, Ames failed to reach the finals in the shuttle hurdle and 4x100-meter relay prelims and the Little Cyclones fell two spots shy of placing in the 4x800 Saturday morning. But the Ames 4x400 team of Saylor Horras, Ali Frandsen, Cameron Moon and Ellie Lynch ran an outstanding race during the finals of the competition to close out the Relays with a second-place finish.

Ames's Ali Frandsen takes off with the baton in the 4x400-meter relay event during the Drake Relays on Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Des Moines.

"It was really tough conditions," Moon said. "I'm just really happy that we finished how we did. We'll definitely be building on that."

The 4x100 team of Ireland Buss, Lynch, Elaina Deardorff and Moon took ninth in 50.01 seconds to just miss the finals cut after entering the meet with the fastest qualifying time. That didn't sit well with Lynch and Moon. 

"After that race we had some unfinished business," Moon said. "We wanted to come back and prove ourselves."

More:How Paityn Noe gave Ballard another Drake Relays champion in the girls 3,000

More:As Drake Relays near, Ames sprinter Cameron Moon emerges as a star to watch

More:Ames' Corey Phillips will play college football and basketball. But he's a great discus thrower, too

Horras got Ames off to a great start in the 4x400. She was thrilled to be competing at Drake for the first time.

"It's been quite the experience," Horras said. "We had ups and we had downs, but I'm so honored I got to experience it as a freshman. A lot of people don't really get that opportunity."

Frandsen, having just placed fourth in the 400 hurdles an hour earlier, gave a gutsy performance in the second leg to keep Ames at the front of the pack. Moon then made sure Ames stayed in front before handing the baton off to Lynch.

Lynch ran a tremendous final leg. Solon's Emma Bock had a fantastic surge and appeared ready to overtake Lynch within the first 100 meters, but Lynch held her off until the final 50 meters.

Even with an outstanding final kick, Bock just barely managed to beat Lynch to the finish line. Ames finished the race in 3:56.57 and Solon's winning time was 3:56.24.

"I knew going into it we were going to have some tough competition to push us," Lynch said. "Solon just had a better day today. They ran really well."

Frandsen completed the 400 hurdles in a season-best time of 1:04.79. She just missed placing second as Northeast Goose Lake's Ellie Rickertsen and Winterset's Darci Wisemen took second and third in 1:04.39 and 1:04.74 respectively.

“It was a really tough race, especially with these conditions,” Frandsen said. “But I’m happy with how I did. I PR’d by one second. I’m ready to get back to work and improve my time and my turnover. I just need to keep doing more workouts so I can peak at state. That’s when it all comes together.” 

Waukee Northwest's Mackenzie Carney won in 1:02.87.

Ames' Nyadio Chan competes in the 4x800 during the 112th annual Drake Relays at Drake Stadium Saturday, April 30, 2022 in Des Moines.

The Ames 4x800 team of Claire Helmers, Nyadio Chan, Sydney Turk and Marley Turk completed the race in 9:44.73 to place 10th. The Little Cyclone shuttle hurdle team of Buss, Sammi Schaben, Jada Britten and Claire Galvin took 16th in one minute, 12.72 seconds.

Early stumble hurts Ballard's Noe in girls 1,500

Ballard's Paityn Noe had high hopes entering the girls 1,500 on Saturday.

Noe won the 3,000 Thursday and was looking to challenge Carlisle's Ainsley Erzen and West Des Moines Valley's Addison Dorenkamp for gold in the 1,500. But she got tripped up shortly after the race started.

“That’s never happened to me before in a race,” Noe said. “The first 200 I fell down and got a little scrapped up, but I got back up and kept running. There wasn’t much else I could do.” 

When she got back up Noe found herself in last place. She rebounded to chase down four runners and nearly caught two more before finishing 17th in 4:52.67.

“It wasn’t the race I wanted, but it just happens sometimes,” Noe said. “You’ve got to keep going.” 

Noe will settle for her 3,000 title and a chance for redemption at state in a few weeks.

“I’m definitely happy with how this experience turned out,” Noe said. “Now it’s just getting ready for state.” 

Area teams compete in 4x100 prelims

The Ames girls weren't the only local teams running in the 4x100 prelims Saturday.

Collins-Maxwell competed in the girls race, Nevada ran on the boys side and Roland-Story took part in both races.

Collins-Maxwell's Alexis Houge competes in the 4x100 meter relay during the 112th annual Drake Relays at Drake Stadium Saturday, April 30, 2022 in Des Moines.

In the girls race Roland-Story's Adalyn Sporleder, Kennedy Petersen, Mackenzie Crutchfield and Kamryn Lande took 64th in 52.06. Collins-Maxwell's Marissa Boege, Chloe Wierson, Avery Fricke and Alexis Houge were right behind in 65th with a 52.09 showing.

Roland-Story placed 24th in the boys race. The Norsemen team of Nate Johnson, Will Bunn, Gavin Carpenter and Eli Thorson finished in 43.93.

The Nevada boys placed 54th. Billy Gibbons, Caleb Kooiker, James Edwards, Caeden DaSilva ran a time of 44.63.