Sigourney defends hurdle titles, finishes seventh at State

It was gold or bust for the Lady Savages when they competed in the 100m shuttle hurdle relay at the 2018 State track meet. Summer Barthelman, Leah Carter, Sloane Magill and Autum Barthelman were able to successfully fend off the compeition and take home the hardware, running a time of 1:07.21.

It wasn’t the way that the Lady Savages wanted to end their 2018 State track competition, especially for three seniors who wrapped up their stellar Savage careers on May 19. In the teams’ final event, the 4x100m relay, Sigourney dropped the baton on the second leg and wound up taking eighth in the event. Despite the disappointing finish, the Lady Savages still had much to celebrate in succeeding at defending some of their titles a year ago.

    One of those titles was the 100m shuttle hurdle relay, which they qualified for this years’ final by setting a new PR with a time of 1:07.03 on May 17. All year long they had a target on their back after winning the event in the 2017 State meet, and were able to dominate the event this season, coming in with one of the fastest times in the state. Add in the fact that Summer Barthelman, the lead runner in the shuttle hurdle, went through an appendectomy earlier in the season and hasn’t quite been 100 percent since, it wasn’t going to be easy for the Lady Savages to repeat.

    “We definitely had a target on our back,” Autum Barthelman said. “They wanted to beat us, and we wanted to relive that moment.”

    Sigourney got off to a fast start, slowly widening the gap between them and their competitors as Leah Carter and Sloane Magill held onto the lead Summer had given the team. It was all on Autum’s shoulders with the final 100 meters. She got her usual burst of speed early, but Lynnville-Sully and Sioux Central were making late charges to close the gap.

    “I was freaking out when I saw that Lynnville was that close,” Summer said.

    While the gap narrowed, Autum was able to help anchor her team to a second title in the event in two years. For Autum and Carter, it was their final time running in the shuttle hurdle relay, making it even more special.

    “It was awesome for us to end with another championship since we’re graduating,” Carter said. “There’s no better way to go out.”

    “It was gold or bust for us,” Magill said.

    The Barthelman’s weren’t done, more specifically Autum as she tacked on another gold later in the day. Autum didn’t have much time to rest and prepare herself for the 100m dash final, which had been one of her better events this year.

    Autum qualified for the finals by running a time of 12.65 seconds, setting a new PR on the season and the fifth-fastest time run by the 23 girls in the 1A field. Having just run a fast 100m time in the shuttle hurdle, Autum was prepped to take on the fastest girls in the state. She got out of her blocks quick, but not quick enough, finishing sixth with a time of 12.91.

    She couldn’t dwell on that long though, having to go right back to the start line for her second event in just half an hour. After clearing her mind during her run outs and focusing on the race that was about to unfold, she was ready to run in her third 100m event of the morning, the second of which included hurdles. Even Autum herself, a decorated sprinter and hurdler, was prepared for what happened next.

    “Honestly, in the open 100 I didn’t have a good start in the finals, so my race wasn’t that good. In the hurdles, the girl in lane 5 got to the first hurdle before me,” Autum said. “Automatically in my head I was like, you’ve got to push it. She ran a 15.5 or something in the prelims, so I had to get out in front of her and then keep my pace, which I did.”

    Autum wasn’t used to coming from behind in her signature event, but seeing her competition get a quicker start than her was all she needed to hit that extra gear. Autum overcame clipping two hurdles early on to take the lead about 50 meters in, and before she knew it, the race was over, and she had won yet again.

    The result didn’t come as a shock to her, her teammates or coaches. It was the time that really stood out. The video board revealed Autum had run a blazing fast 14.83 seconds, which even Autum couldn’t believe.

    “I thought for sure they’d be adding time to it because I didn’t think I ran that fast,” Autum said. “I’ve never run in the 14s before. It was my goal for senior year and to run it in my last race, I was just really surprised. It’s good to end my hurdle season with two championships and I had girls push me in the finals.”

    Having the goal of running under 15 seconds, the State meet was Autum’s last chance to make it a reality. She had run on the Blue Oval other times in her high school career, including earlier this year at the Drake Relays when she thought she’d have the best chance at achieving her goal.

    “At Drake, with the fastest girls in the state, I figured I could get in the 14’s but I didn’t,” Autum said. “State was what was left, and I was able to accomplish it. I’m really proud of myself.”

    Following that win, the Lady Savages were sitting nicely with 28 points, a trophy still very much a possibility by finishing in the top three. The quartet from the shuttle hurdle team acknowledged it would be a long shot to repeat with a team title, as Danville was stacked in the final events. They did however have their eyes and hopes set on coming home with another trophy, whether it be bronze or silver.

    Sigourney came up shy of accomplishing that though with an eighth-place finish in the 4x100m relay. The relay team of Summer, Heidi Clarahan, Brooke Waechter and Autum came in with one of the fastest times in the state. The four ran a preliminary time of 51.12 seconds on May 18, setting a new season best. The Madrid girls were the only team to run a faster time in the prelims.

    The Lady Savages still gained one point for finishing in the relay and ended their 2018 State meet with 29 points and took seventh place in the team standings. The trio of Autum, Carter and Waechter won’t run for Sigourney again after graduating later that night, but they have plenty to be proud of with a total of six medals earned this year, three of which were gold in addition to winning the State title in 2017.

    Among those returning next year includes Summer, who in addition to competing in the shuttle hurdle relay and 4x100m relay, she also was in the 400m hurdles and long jump. It was unknown whether she would make it to the State meet after she finished sixth at the District meet. Summer snuck in with the 23rd best jump in 1A girls’ competition, which surprised even her coaches.

    In 2017 Summer wound up medaling in the long jump at the State meet. She was on her way to another successful season and a chance to get a second consecutive medal until she had to have her appendectomy, which threw off her momentum and set her back. Still, with about half the season left, there was time to find her stride. She did just enough to make it back to State, but was unable to medal again, finishing 19th with a best jump of 15’-3.25”.

    Her best individual event, the 400m hurdles, she did much better in by earning a medal, just like she did the year prior. As she had done all year, she got out to an early lead in the first half of the race, but then the lead dwindled, and she was passed near the second turn. In the late stages of the season this is when Summer had lost speed and wound up finishing with a disappointing final stretch. That wasn’t the case when it mattered most, as she was able to finish off strong and take first place in her section.

    “I was shooting for a 1:08 but 1:07 was my goal,” Summer said. “I definitely accomplished that, and I got a second better than I was expecting. I honestly didn’t think I’d get back here this year, and since I did I was hoping to place in the top eight, and I’m pretty proud of what I ran.”

    By running her time of 1:06.18, Summer finished fourth in the field of 23, and by doing so earned her third straight medal in the 400m hurdles.

    “It’s really exciting because I got a medal my freshman and sophomore year and I would’ve been really let down or disappointed if I hadn’t this time,” Summer said. “I’m going to work on running 800s in the offseason, so I have the endurance to finish like I did here.”

    Summer will be one of the veterans expected to help lead the team next season, in what will be her final year as a Sigourney Savage.