Eagles soar at State


The Wahlert girls' track state qualifiers and coaches pose for a photo before their state sendoff. The girls took home the runner-up trophy missing the championship by half of a point.

Thunder roars across the sky at the blue oval Friday afternoon quickly followed by a torrential downpour. Everybody in the stadium was covered in a variety of colored ponchos and rain coats waiting for their team to set up in the starting blocks. The rain kept falling creating a slick track and a flow of puddles between the stadium seats.

Thankfully the downpour didn’t throw off speed demon, Libby Wedewer, ‘20 in her relays. Wedewer had left her opponents in her dust with the fastest times in both the 100m and 200m dash prelims on Thursday as well.

“After I won the prelims, of course, I was excited, but I knew there was still work to be done,” Wedewer said about her 100m and 200m dash. “There was a lot of great competition and I knew it wouldn’t come easy, so I had to be ready to go.”

She was ready all right.

“Going into the finals, I knew I had a shot at winning, and I just had to control myself and run my own race,” she said.

In the 100m dash finals, Wedewer took runner-up to Assumption’s Carly King by a hair. But she came out hot for the 200 speeding down the home stretch and swiping the championship title from King. As she crossed the finish line, she broke out smiling from ear to ear with a little pep in her step. She had run a time of 24.73, a new Wahlert record.

“That record was previously held by Laura Sherman, and I remember watching her win the 200 when I was in eighth grade, and getting to experience that was amazing,” Wedewer said. “Crossing the finish line, I immediately had a huge grin on my face because I knew I had just gotten what I worked for all year.

As far as individual events, Wedewer had a solid weekend. For relays, she and her teammates Molly McDonald, Clare Broderick, and Alaina Schmidt took first place in the 4x200m dash and the 4×100 team of Ariana Yaklich, Abby Wallace, Clare Broderick, and Wedewer took first in the prelims.

Flying down the track, in the heavy, continuous rain and cold on Friday, Wedewer anchored her 4×200 team and demolished the competition as she crossed the finish line with about a 30 meter cushion between her and the next runner.

“I was so happy,” said Molly McDonald, ‘20, about the 4×200 championship. “It felt like every hill and workout we ran this season completely paid off. I really just wanted to be able to share that moment with my teammates.”

And they did. It was the Eagles’ third straight 4×200 title.

When it came down to Saturday finals, the 4×100 team of Ariana Yaklich, Aliyah Carter, Abby Wallace and Wedewer, as the anchor, racked up another gold medal for their team.

“I can’t put the feeling into words,” Ariana Yaklich, ‘21, said about winning the 4×100. “I’ve seen all of my teammates win state and Drake titles, and it’s always been a dream of mine to experience that as well. And for it to actually come true was amazing. Also, getting those points for my team and seeing my coaches smile made me even more happy.”

Overall, the girls took runner-up to Glenwood missing the championship trophy by only a half of a point. Finishing in the top three at the state meet is an accomplishment in itself, and the amount of success they had this year speaks volumes to their dedication and work ethic. In total the girls brought  home four gold medals, one silver, one bronze and two fourth place medals.

While the state meet held many accomplishments for the Wahlert runners, the event and the weather itself in a way resembled life and the massive storms and struggles everyone faces. Yet, it is how one chooses to react to those storms that determines their fate. They can act as eagles to rise above it and keep moving forward despite the conditions or they can use the storms as excuses as to why they didn’t succeed. The Wahlert Eagles girls’ track team chose to rise above the storms at state to compete and to win.

Although they didn’t win it all, they left a message for the rest of Iowa. With all of their girls returning next season, they will be back to claim their rightful place on top.