SIOUX CITY – Lineya Wells knew she wanted one thing before the track season started: to win the Missouri River Conference track competition.
The East High School women’s track and field did just that on Thursday, winning the conference meet at Elwood Olsen Stadium with 127 team points.
Wells, one of the senior Black Raiders, was the second-leading scorer with 24.5 points.
Wells had told his teammates throughout the season that they were capable of winning the tag team title.
“I think it was really important,” Wells said. “We’ve lost a lot of really good seniors, so this year we’ve built the idea for all the younger girls that it’s really important for our team. I think they came up with the idea that they wanted to win.
“I want them to want to be big,” Wells said. “I know they can do as well as I can if they work hard and do what they have done.”
The Black Raiders won the 2019 competition at Sergeant Bluff with 171 points. Most of the girls on that team weren’t there Thursday to help the Black Raiders.
Wells took it upon herself to teach the young girls the history of the program and that they could write a small portion of their own history.
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“I feel like our school in the state is one of the smaller (class) 4A schools, so we don’t really have the appreciation we should for how hard we work,” Wells said. “It was nice to have that appreciation, especially for the girls, because we had a lot of injuries.”
Wells assisted the Black Raiders on the oval by winning the 200-meter with a time of 26.02 seconds.
Wells has entered a time faster than that this season at 25.67. It’s good for the ninth best statewide, and ahead of Thursday’s state qualifier at Council Bluffs Lincoln, the Black Raiders senior is seeded No.2 behind West Holly junior. Duax.
The top 2 in each race Thursday in all four classes qualify in the state, then the top eight times / throws in each event are wilds for next week’s state meet in Des Moines.
Next, Wells was the runner-up of the 4×100-meter relay team that won the conference title with a time of 51.21 seconds.
“The 200, I think it’s my best individual race, but I like the way we race the 4×100,” Wells said. “Our 4×1 is exceptional this year.
Brylee Hempey, Trinity Wagner and Alyssa Erick were the other three runners in this race.
Wagner was one of those girls who stepped up and reminded her underclass teammates how good they are individually and as a team.
“It’s something they can build on,” East co-coach Rick Clarahan said. “We need to keep that momentum going and build that tradition.
Wells performed well on the oval, but she also liked what she did in the long jump pit.
Wells didn’t jump at all during her freshman and sophomore seasons until she competed in the long jump at the 2019 State Qualifying meet at Council Bluffs.
She just went to compete and did her best, but there was something there that piqued her interest. She wanted to come back and try the long jump again during the 2020 season.
“I’ve always been a jumping person so I wasn’t that nervous,” Wells said.
Wells was eager to work with jump trainer Joe Glass, but the COVID-19 pandemic obviously had other ideas.
The pandemic canceled the entire 2020 season, so Wells had to wait a year to work with coaches and teammates.
Wells went feet first and started working with Glass when she was cleared there at the start of the season.
Wells qualified for the Drake Relays in April and she was eager to jump among the best in the state.
When Wells arrived at Drake Stadium to jump on April 22, she didn’t know many of her competition. She said it’s easier to participate in the long jump if she knows other girls around her.
Drake didn’t, so she made some new friends pretty quickly on her way down to the pit.
“It made the jump all the more normal for me,” Wells said.
Wells placed sixth at the Drake Relays with a 17-foot, 3-1 / 2-inch jump that came on her first jump. She was the second best Class 4A jumper that day, while Ankeny’s Shelby Ronig was fifth.
Wells enters Thursday’s state qualifier as the competition’s No.1 jumper. His longest jump this season is 17-11 1/2, ahead of Duax’s season best of 17-6 1/2.
Wells won at Olsen last Thursday, with a 16-8 1/4 jump.
“I’m happy to be doing the long jump,” Wells said. “It’s my favorite event now. I think it’s the satisfaction of when you’re in the air and you know you’ve got a good jump.