South Hamilton junior Austin Busch throws the shot put at the Nielsen Family Co-Ed Indoor in Humboldt on Friday. He won the event with a personal-best toss of 53 feet, 10 inches. DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

HUMBOLDT — Austin Busch had a simple goal as a sophomore thrower — to make it to the state meet. The coronavirus pandemic wiped out that goal, but that didn’t deter Busch.

He went to work. When the facilities at South Hamilton were closed, he traveled to Story City to use Roland-Story’s publicly owned park last spring. This past fall, on days that school ended early, he’d hone his craft prior to the start of football practice. And when the Iowa weather betrayed him during the winter months, he simply built himself his own ring for inside practice.

Which brings us back to the present and that goal of a year ago has now changed. The South Hamilton junior doesn’t just want to make it to state. He wants to win it.

“As track season was starting last year, he really wanted to take this seriously,” South Hamilton throws coach Carlton Ness said. “He threw all spring (in 2020) by himself, he threw all summer by himself. So coming into this season, there were a lot of unknowns, but I knew starting out it was going to be pretty special.”

Busch took what he’d seen privately into a public setting on Friday, as he opened the season with a personal-best throw in the shot put by almost 10 feet — yes, 10 feet — at the Nielsen Family Co-Ed Indoor. His best toss of 53 feet, 10 inches not only won the meet, but put him at No. 2 on the statewide leaderboard, regardless of class, entering the outdoor season.

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

And Ness quickly pointed out that he had a throw of 55 feet that was thrown out by a foul.

“When he was throwing on Friday, he was super into it and really just perfecting his craft,” Ness said. “He’s so much bigger and explosive now.”

Busch has been working plenty on the discus as well, an event he’ll be able to unleash when he competes outside. Ness said he’s consistently been over 150 feet in practice.

South Hamilton’s teams took limited participants to the indoor and brought home three gold medals. In addition to Busch’s throwing exploits, Tanner Blue won the 60-meter hurdles in 9.16 seconds, and Ashlyn Erickson took the girls’ 400-meter dash in 1:05.28.

The Hawk boys didn’t put together any relays. The Hawk girls threw together a 4×400 — Erickson, Tanna Thompson, Hallee Feaker and Abby Ervin — and placed second in 4:34.43.

DFJ photo/Angela Hewitt

“It’s exciting because I’ve missed this,” South Hamilton girls’ head coach Dan Brodie said. ‘I thought we competed well and the times will definitely work themselves out.”

Thompson secured the silver in the 200 in 29.41 seconds and 400 in 1:07.32, and Emmaly Fields placed third in the shot put (33-5), as did Ervin in the 400 (1:09.30). Erickson was fourth in the 800 (2:52.64), as was Caleigh Hewitt in the high jump (4-8).

Brock Galetich won a pair of medals for the Hawk boys. He was second in the 200 (25.01) and third in the 60 (7.55). Ty Skartvedt was the 400 silver medalist (57.92), Logan Halfwassen the 3,200 bronze medalist (13:21.91).

“We had a lot of kids gone on spring break, so we knew we weren’t taking a full squad,” South Hamilton boys’ head coach Darrell Paulsen said. “It was a neat indoor and we’re looking forward to getting outside.”

The Hawk boys tallied 40 points, the girls 38. Both teams placed fourth.

South Hamilton is scheduled to open the outdoor season with a co-ed meet at Greene County on Monday.

Nielsen Family Co-Ed Indoor

Friday at Humboldt

Girls Team Standings

1. Humboldt 111; 2. Forest City 83; 3. Pocahontas Area 501⁄2; 4. South Hamilton 38; 5. Aplington-Parkersburg 321⁄2.

South Hamilton Girls Results

High Jump — 4. Caleigh Hewitt 4-8.

Shot Put — 3. Emmaly Fields 33-5; 5. Mackenzy Grady 30-4.

200 Meters — 2. Tanna Thompson 29.41; 10. Hallee Feaker 32.48; 14. Kenzie Henderson 33.74.

400 Meters — 1. Ashlyn Erickson 1:05.28; 2. Thompson 1:07.32; 3. Abby Ervin 1:09.30.

800 Meters — 4. Erickson 2:52.64; 7. Ervin 2:57.75; 9. Valerie Wagner 3:06.25.

4×400 Relay — 2. South Hamilton 4:34.43 (Thompson, Feaker, Ervin, Erickson).

Boys Team Standings

1. Humboldt 122; 2. Forest City 701⁄2; 3. Pocahontas Area 621⁄2; 4. South Hamilton 40; 5. Belmond-Klemme 20.

South Hamilton Boys Results

Shot Put — 1. Austin Busch 53-10.

60 Meters — 3. Brock Galetich 7.55.

200 Meters — 2. Galetich 25.01; 11. Chandon Ewurs 26.87; 13. Evan Winkler 27.31; 18. Landon Gruefe 29.03.

400 Meters — 2. Ty Skartvedt 57.92; 9. Landon Grove 1:05.83.

60 Hurdles — 1. Tanner Blue 9.16.

800 Meters — 4. Clay Willadsen 2:27.52; 8. Grove 2:43.46.

1,600 Meters — 7. Willadsen 5:32.85; 8. Logan Halfwassen 5:57.92.

3,200 Meters — 3. Halfwassen 13:21.91.


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