Short-handed Hawks climb to fourth at home meet

JEWELL – Competing without its points machine, the South Hamilton boys’ track team still managed to compete in the upper-tier of its own Hawk Relays last night at the Mike Penning Athletic Complex.

Without senior sprinter Devin Howard, the Hawks still managed to pile up 73 points to finish fourth in the eight-team field. Howard sat out to rest for his 100-meter dash this morning at the Drake Relays in Des Moines; South Hamilton could have easily climbed one spot and maybe even two had he been in uniform.

Howard would have been favored to win the 100 and 200.

“I thought we ran pretty well for not being at full strength,” South Hamilton head coach Darrell Paulsen said. “I thought the kids competed really well and, very honestly, I was surprised with fourth.”

Woodward Academy was also missing several key contributors, but it still claimed the team crown with 109 points. Saydel (94) was second, followed by Fort Dodge St. Edmond (88).

South Hamilton won two events, medaled in eight and double-placed in two. Paulsen said his younger athletes were a big reason why.

“We ran a lot of underclassmen and they did well,” he said.

Zach Zoske put his head down and sprinted to the 400 gold in 54.82 seconds. The 4×800 relay of Jacob Ratzke, Titan Johnson, Caleb Olson and Devin Fisher jumped to the front and never let off the gas to take the top spot in 8:45.89.

Olson, who ran the fastest 4×800 split of 2:08, turned in a 2:09.67 in the open 800 to finish second. Ratzke also claimed an individual silver medal in the 400 hurdles (1:00.54).

Titan Johnson, Ross Enderson, Zoske and Devin Fisher worked together to slot into the runner-up position in the 1,600 medley in a season’s best time of 3:53.23. Fisher completed his two-lap anchor leg in 2:06.5.

Olson also finished third in the 400 (55.65), as did Trey Woodall in the long jump (17-3). The 4×400 – Drake Thompson, Jared Fisher, and Hunter and Titan Johnson – added bronze (3:48.65) as well.

Howard will take off from the starting blocks today at 8:46 a.m.

South Hamilton will next compete as a team on Monday at the Bengal Relays in Gilbert.