Gilbert Girls Track and Field Coach Led Tigers to 2 State Titles, 5th-Place Team Finish at State

Jodi Hurn knows how lucky she was to coach a team that oozed depth and talent this past spring. Without both, she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to celebrate her own accomplishment earlier this week.

Following a spring track and field season in which Hurn led the girls team to a fifth-place finish in Class 3A at the state meet, the Gilbert head coach was named a 3A At-Large Coach of the Year by the Iowa Association of Track and Field Coaches on Tuesday. Hurn was joined by four other recipients from across the state, and ADM head girls coach Bart Mueller was named the overall 3A Coach of the Year.

“It’s a special (award) because it was such a special season, and it has a lot of meaning because of that,” Hurn said after learning of her much-deserved recognition. “From day one, the girls bought in. They were willing to do the work day in and day out, so it’s their commitment and their hard work that allowed me to win this award.”

Just how special of a season was it for the Tigers? Let’s start with the regular season where Hurn’s crew won seven meet championships and finished second in two others. Gilbert captured the top spot at a 3A State Qualifying Meet and was the runner-up to ADM at the Raccoon River Conference meet. ADM went on to win the 3A crown in late May.

Gilbert took 12 events to state and celebrated a pair of state championships from the 4×800 and distance medley relays. The 4×800 group — Clare Stahr, Sophia Bleich, Keira Andersen, and Sarah Feddersen — won a second straight state gold medal and set a school record in the process. The distance medley — Taylor Banning, Keaton Hanson, Feddersen, and Emee Dani — also set a new school record en route to the gold.

And that was a theme throughout the season for the Tigers. They set — count ‘em — six new school records in the seven relay events. The quartet of Banning, Hanson, Laurel Mizerak, and Gretchen Mizerak set new records in the 4×100, 4×200, and sprint medley relays. Rebecca Schrader, Bleich, Andersen, and Feddersen etched their names on the record board in the 4×400.

In all, Hurn guided the Tigers to seven medals at the state meet. Gilbert was in contention for the 3A team crown late into the final day of competition and eventually placed 5th overall.

In addition to the talent of the student-athletes, Hurn also knows how lucky she is to lead such a dedicated staff of coaches. Laura Kautman and Allison Hilleman served as her assistants, and she also received plenty of help from the boys coaching staff.

“As much as this award speaks to the girls, it also speaks to all of the work of the assistant coaches,” Hurn said. “Laura and Allison are absolutely amazing at what they do and building relationships with the girls. A million percent, it speaks to the amazing staff that I have.”

Congratulations to Coach Hurn and her entire staff. There’s no doubt the team was one of the state’s best, but it’s the coaches that provided the necessary push and allowed that talent to shine.