Western Dubuque junior Audrey Biermann won three individual events and anchored the winning sprint medley relay team to lead the Bobcats to a fourth-place finish at the 2021 Class 3A Track and Field State Championships, at Drake Stadium, May 20-22.
“The weekend was amazing,” said coach Josie Limmex. “We knew our team was special, but it was great to let the rest of the state see what we have as well.”
Wahlert took top team honors with 59 points, Solon was second at 51, Carlisle third with 46 and Western Dubuque right behind at 42.
Biermann picked up her first gold medal in Thursday’s 400-meter race, outkicking Drake Relays champion Ainsley Erzen of Carlisle to win in 55.8.
“She’s a really good runner, so I definitely felt the pressure,” said Biermann after the race. “I’m just so excited. I love that time.”
Earlier in the Thursday session, the 4x800 team of Elly Burds, Gabby Kaiser, Alyssa Klein and Lauren Klein put the Bobcats on the board with a seventh-place finish in 9:56.5.
The Bobcats moved up in the team standings in a big way during the Saturday final session, starting the day with a win in the sprint medley relay, as Ella Schindler, Sammy Recker, Brynn Walters and Biermann raced to the line in 1:47.58.
“It just felt amazing. Just all the work and time we put into it — staying late and working our tails off. To finally get here is just amazing,” said senior Schindler. “We wanted to go for the state record. If we got the baton around the fastest, we could get the baton to Audrey and she would do her thing.”
Biermann — trailing by five yards at the exchange — took the lead from Wahlert Catholic’s Rylee Steffen coming out of turn four to earn her second gold medal of the week.
“I was going to just sit on her shoulder a little bit and hopefully kick at the end, and I did,” said Biermann.
That was only the beginning of a terrific Saturday for Biermann, who followed up the relay win with titles in the 100 and 200 to complete a sweep of the Class 3A sprint events.
Biermann finished the 100 in 12.37, running away from Miracle Ailes, of Keokuk, who was second in 12.52, before running 25.48 to win the 200 and her fourth gold of the week. Ailes was again runner up in 26.07.
“My start in the 100 was really good,” Biermann said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a start that good before. I got out hard and the rest of the race went just really well. Arianna (Yacklich) is a terrific runner and so is Miracle, so I definitely felt the pressure from them.”
By the time the 200 rolled around, there was little doubt Biermann was about to become a four-time champ.
“I love the 200. It’s one of my favorite races. I was pretty confident in that one,” Biermann said. “This feels so good, especially to do this with my team. We’re all really close.”
There were plenty of other solid performances from the Bobcats.
Burds ran a fine 2:19.56 — good for ninth in the 800, while Meredith Bahl was 10th in the 400 hurdles in 1:07.57. Lilly Boge was 12th in the 3000 (11:02.71), Schindler 14th in the 100 (13.11), and Recker 15th in the 200 (26.81). Alyssa Klein was 15th (5:02.16) in the 1,500, with sister Lauren right behind in 16th (5:02.17).
Schindler, Recker, Walters and Erica Ernzen ran 50.61 to finish 11th in the 4x100, while Schindler, Recker, Meredith Bahl and Walters were 13th in the 4x200 (1:47.35). Jessica Veach, Burds, Gabby Kaiser and Bahl were 18th in the 4x400 with a time of 4:14.36.
“We’ve worked all year with big goals and these girls put their whole hearts into achieving them,” Limmex said. “They are all a pleasure to coach and I am still smiling from the weekend.”