Hannah Pruessner, Taylor Covington, Kierstin Monzyk and Molly Munsinger just realized they had ran a 4:07.37.
Jefferson City, Mo. - “Speechless” was how Coach John Tucker described his feelings after watching the girls 4x400 meter relay team, Hannah Pruessner, Kierstin Monzyk, Taylor Covington, and Molly Munsinger, shatter the school record by five-seconds, break the state record, and finish second on Saturday at the State Track Meet.
After winning their heat on Friday, New Haven watched as Midway set a new Class 1 record with a time of 407.91, breaking Rock Port’s record of 409.55, which was set back in 1991.
Immediately after watching Midway break the state record Tucker said, “Taylor Covington came up to me yesterday (Friday) after they ran their 4:13 and said, ‘Coach we can run a 407... that means we all have to run a second faster.‘ Right then I knew, they are going to fight them... they are going to be in the race.”
Pruessner ran the first leg side by side with Midway as she handed it off to Covington, Midway’s Jessica Owens took off with a two or three step lead while Covington refused to let Owens pull away.
Midway had at most a one-second lead until Kierstin Monzyk shifted gears at the 200 meter mark to give New Haven a three or four step lead. Monzyk held off Midway’s Dee Stark as Munsinger (the anchor) busted out after Monzyk handed off the baton, holding onto the lead when Midway’s senior Cady Wright made a bold move, passing Munsinger on the final turn and able to hold off Munsinger down the straight away.
Pictured left to right is the girls 4x400 meter relay team; Hannah Pruessner, Taylor Covington, Kierstin Monzyk, and Molly Munsinger.
Midway finished with a time of 4:04.75, breaking their own record of 4:07.91 they set on Friday. The official results have both schools breaking the class 1 state record since they both ran under what the record was before the race started.
Wright came up and told New Haven’s sophomore Molly Munsinger that she had never ran so hard in her life. Earlier in the day Wright won the 4x200 relay with the same three teammates. Wright’s 4x100 relay team finished fourth
As Munsinger crossed the finish line she had a slight look of disappointment, but quickly changed once she realized they had ran a time of 4:07.37, destroying the school record (412.2) which was set in 1998 by Elisha Cook, Chrissy Linkinhoker, Courtney Haynes, and Amanda Laune. This was also Tucker’s first year of teaching and coaching at New Haven.
Coach Tucker said, “I honestly didn’t think and I hate to say that now because it makes me sound pessimistic I didn’t think we could run that fast.”
Tucker thought they could run 4:11 - 4:10 or maybe just under 10. Tucker was not the only one surprised by their time.
In our post race live interview with Pruessner, Covington, Monzyk, and Munsinger; Monzyk said, “I thought we could maybe run a 4:10, but never imagined running a 4:07.”
Pruessner, Covington, and Munsinger tried to explain how it felt, all three of them saying, “Oh my gosh it feels amazing, words can’t explain it, and still can’t believe it happened.”
Tucker said, “It really said something about the girls when Taylor [Covington] came up to me. I think it says a little something about the coaching staff, helping to build their confidence. At the end they take what we tell them and they do it... today was them, that was all them our there.”
Sophomore Taylor Covington hands it off to Senior Kierstin Monzyk for the third leg in the 4x400.
Tucker concluded by saying, “Our girls ran as perfect of a race as you could run. I still never thought we would break our school record and the class 1 state record and finish second. We did nothing wrong and at the end they were just a bit faster.”
“I couldn’t be any happier for how well they ran. I am very proud of them and it was great to see our entire team, boys and girls, not only cheering them on but oh excited they all were.”
How fast of a time is 4:07.37? We already know that the three sophomores and one senior are the fastest 4x400 meter relay team in school history and the second fastest time any team has ever ran in Class 1.
Before this year New Haven’s time would have won a 4x400-meter-relay State Championship every year dating back to 1981. They also became the third team to ever run under 4:10 in a State Championship final.
Comparing New Haven’s 4:07.37 to this year’s Class 2 times, New Haven would have finished in second place. If you look at Class 2 times over the past 31 years New Haven’s time would have won a Class 2 State Championship 19 times.
This weekend is the Class 3 & 4 state meet and compared to Class 3 4x400-meter-relay teams, New Haven would be running at state this weekend with a good chance of qualifying for the finals.
We will have a story later this week about New Haven’s overall performance. Coach Tucker told QNN, “This is the most fun I’ve had a state track since 2002 when we won the Team State Championship.”
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Below Shamrock fans cheer as New Haven makes their way to the awards area.