Four of the five AHS girls track team members who competed in the Division III State Track & Field Championships, Friday and Saturday, May 31-June 1, in Columbus, started and ended their 2018-19 school year with trips to state tournaments.
Dakota Stamm, Gwynne Riley, Brittney Ramirez, and Kylie Sauder were on the AHS girls cross country team that finished third at the state meet in November 2018.
Stamm and Ramirez were also on the AHS girls soccer team that advanced to the 2018 state semifinals.
And now they, along with teammate Iris Pena, competed at the state tournament in track.
Stamm defended her state championship in the girls 400-meter dash, while the 4×400-meter relay team of Pena, Sauder, Riley, and Stamm won Archbold’s first girls relay title in that event since 2014.
The first time an AHS 4×400 relay won a state title was in 1982.
“Amazing. I don’t know what else to say. I’m thrilled, and I have an amazing coaching staff,” said Dina Gladieux, AHS head coach.
“We had three girls that ran in four races, one that ran in two, and one that ran in one.
“The stamina that they were able to keep performing at that caliber at this level is just amazing.
“We dug our way out of the hole (of winning titles at regionals but not at state). We’re no longer buried.”
Stamm Defends Title
After finishing fourth in the 400 at state her freshman year and second her sophomore year, Stamm broke through last year for her first state championship in a school-record time of 56.4 seconds.
The senior defended her state title and set a new school record in the process, winning in 55.82 seconds.
She defeated second-place Abby Suszek of Cornerstone by 18 one-hundredths of a second. Suszek ran the race in 56 seconds flat.
“It was so awesome,” said Stamm. “The group of girls I ran with– they’re all super tough, super amazing runners. They’re all so nice, too.
“I remember watching in lane 6. She was ahead of me a lot of the race, and she really helped me to push myself.
“I knew she can run a really good time (Suszek was two-tenths of a second faster than Stamm in the preliminaries), so I had to stay with her, and I had to finish.
“My finish was ugly. My form was really bad. I’ve never felt my legs get that tight before, even last year.
“My last 75-50 meters wasn’t my greatest form, but I finished.”
Stamm was feeling the pressure this year as a returning state champion.
“This year it was a different kind of nervousness and a different kind of pressure because I knew I could do it,” she said.
“Since I’m a senior I was like, I don’t know if I’m motivated enough.
“Once that race started, I felt it. The first 10 meters I was like, yeah, I know how this race is going to end. I just felt it in my legs. I knew I could go.
“I was hoping I’d get a 55; I just didn’t know I could do it yet. It’s really cool that I got that time.”
The 4×400 relay team of Pena, Sauder, Riley, and Stamm won by 92 one-hundredths of a second.
The Streaks finished in 3 minutes, 58.03 seconds.
West Liberty-Salem was second in 3:58.95.
“It feels awesome” to be a state champion, said Riley.
“The other races– we weren’t really happy with our places at all or our times.
“The 800 (race)… was good for Kylie and I, but we were still sort of disappointed with it.
“But this 4×4– it was great to end our year this way, and with this group of people it’s just really awesome.”
“We said early on that once the 400 was done, the 4×400 was just going to be fun, because the pressure was off of her, and same with Kylie and Gwynne (who ran in the 800 race),” said Gladieux.
“Once that 800 was done, they’re just gonna run and have fun.
“Gwynne was very frustrated after the 800, and I knew she would want to come back and prove herself.”
“Honestly, this one’s (state title) more fun because I have three other girls to be excited about with it,” said Stamm.
“It’s so much more fun to be on a relay.
“Running individual events is great, but the team aspect of a relay is just amazing, and my teammates… They’re some of the best people ever. It’s so much fun to run with them.”
When Riley handed off the baton to Stamm, who runs the anchor leg, the Streaks were running fifth.
“The first 100 I was like, well, I might not be able to get all of them, but at least let’s get in the top three,” Stamm said.
“And then I got to the top three and I was like, I don’t like this.
“I know I’m not supposed to pass on a curve, and I was just coming off the (final) curve. I was like, screw it, I might as well go all out. It’s state.
“So at the end of the curve I made my move to pass her, and I got around her, and that was it.
“At the end of the race all I could think about was my team. They did their part; I’ve got to finish it for them.
“I thought we all did good. Yeah.”