Three days on the Blue Oval


DES MOINES — A third-place finish by the 4x200-meter relay team and an eighth-place finish by Lamont Whiting in the 100-meter dash highlighted Estherville Lincoln Central’s 2021 trip to the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet last week.

The 4x200 team of Lamont Whiting, Matt Christensen, Seth Busch and Zack Anderson clocked a time of 1 minute, 31.01 seconds—their best time of the year. That time ranks second in the ELC all time records. Unity Christian won the event in 1:28.58 while Roland-Story was six-hundredths of a second ahead of ELC to finish second.

Whiting ran in the 100 preliminaries on Thursday and finished eighth in 11.39 seconds. That qualified hime for Saturday’s finals, where he finished eighth in 11.55 seconds.

The quartet of Daryl Jensen, Christensen, Busch, and Whiting placed 10th in the 4x100-meter relays on Thursday in 44.44 seconds. That put them 13 hundredths of a second behind the eighth-place finals qualifying team. OABCIG went on to win the finals on Saturday in 42.59 seconds.

Rounding out the relay qualifiers, the ELC sprint medley team of Jensen, Christensen, Busch, and Anderson placed 19th in the sprint medley relay with a time of 1:38.54 on Saturday. The foursome holds the school record in the event of 1:37.42.

Senior Matt Christensen, who ran in all three state sprint relays summed up his time at state. “My experience was that it was fun competing against some of the best runners in the state,” he said.

“My overall experience at state track was one to remember and I will never forget it,” said Whiting. “I was calm until I got down to the track, then my nerves kicked in a little bit. It was a great experience and time with the boys. I can’t wait to see what next year will bring for me and my team.”

“It was a pretty fun experience and all around great atmosphere to run in,” said junior Daryl Jensen. “ Really excited for what next year will bring”.

“My overall experience at the state track was really good,” said junior Seth Busch. “I got to experience the blue oval for the first time.”

“My overall experience at state was exciting, but disappointing that I was battling a hamstring injury all year,” said junior Zack Anderson. “We all ran our hardest, yet I feel as if my injury hampered my performance and therefore resulted in placing worse than we could’ve though. I am excited for next year and what we can do.”

Also running on the blue oval was senior Nick Leonard in the 110-meter hurdles.

On Thursday, Leonard finished 10th in the preliminaries in 15.75 seconds—4 hundredths of a second away from qualifying for the finals. Spirit Lake’s Jack Latham went on to win the finals in 14.49 seconds on Saturday.

“My favorite part about state track was getting to experience running against the best athletes in state and watching my teammates run,” said Leonard.

“It was great to see all the hard work Nick put into running the hurdles pay off with a second opportunity to compete at the state track meet,” said ELC coach Jesse Nitchals.

Also on Thursday, freshman Parker Duitsman competed in the 3200-meter run and placed 24th in 11:04.50. Bellevue’s Brady Griebel won the event in 9:22.83.

“I have to say that my time at state was definitely interesting,” said Duitsman. “ While I didn’t do great, I still got to see my team with boys and girls improve upon their times and become better as a team.  Since I’m a long distance runner I didn’t know much about most of the qualifiers, but State let me learn more about them and bond better as a team.”

Coach Nitchals finishes his first full year as coach of the boys’ track team after the 2020 season was canceled.

“I want to start by saying congrats to the athletes and their opportunity to compete with the best at the State Track and Field Meet,” Nitchals said. “With all that is going on with COVID it was so nice to be able to have a season and the opportunity to be able to compete in meets.

“As this officially my first year coaching as the head boys track and field coach, I had a wonderful experience,” he continued. “The whole team made us coaches look good with their great season they had overall. This opportunity to coach these young men was great, there is never a dull moment with the team. As a coaching staff we are proud of all their performances. The memories will last forever. The opportunity was really earned from all the effort and hard work the boys put in this season.

“I want to thank the assistant coaches Jerry Shultz and Dick Barrett,” Nitchals said. “ They put a lot of effort and time preparing the track and field boys all year. I also want to thank all the support from our community and a big thanks for all the coverage the ELC boys track had.”


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