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Wensel leads Lions into 2017
by Brandon Leonard Correspondent · March 16th, 2017

The chance for a three-peat will have to wait until May for Linn-Mar junior Payton Wensel, but her first gold medal in the 400-meter dash came last week at the Dickinson Relays at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls. Wensel reigned supreme over 192 other entrants in her signature event and also showed off her skills in the 800 meter run, finishing eighth behind Waukee star Logan Akason by just .47 seconds. Wensel finished with a time of 2:20.54 to go along with her winning 400-meter dash time of 57.25 seconds.

Wensel, who already has earned a long list of accomplishments in her short prep track and field career, will be the team leader heading into the 2017 season as the team prepares to reload in search of another successful season. The Lions placed fifth with 52 points at last year's Iowa High School State Track and Field Meet in Class 4A and they will aim to place higher this season in addition to competing for a Mississippi Valley Conference Championship. Linn-Mar will be looking for plenty of people to step up and earn points, as they will be without Stephanie Jenks this year, who was basically a lock for wins in distance races during her time as a Lion.

Along with Wensel, expect the likes of sophomore sprinter Jill Bennett, do-it-all junior Ariana Rolle, and senior veteran Hanna Saville to shine in 2017. Bennett and Rolle placed seventh in the 4x100 meter relay at the 2016 State Meet with junior Olivia Hubler and Kira Ramsey, who graduated last year.

The Lions varsity squad will be competing at the University of Dubuque this Friday on St. Patrick's Day. Start time is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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