By Jon Gremmels Herald Sports Editor
The Clinton Herald
---- — TIPTON — As the season goes on, the meets get more meaningful for Camanche’s Derek Harksen.
He set himself up well to end his high school career in style as he qualified for next week’s boys track and field state meet in four events Thursday at the Iowa Class 2A Tipton District meet. He also helped the Indians win the team title.
Harksen swept the sprint races and anchored the 400-meter relay team to victory. He was especially pleased with the 100 meters, in which he and teammate Easton McDaniel finished 1-2, earning both runners berths at state. The top two finishers in each event advance, while others will have a chance if they wind up with one of the next eight-best times from other districts across the state. Because of Thursday’s nasty weather, not all districts were run.
Harksen opened the night by winning the 100 during a brief span in which the rain stopped. He finished in 11.24 seconds, with McDaniel’s 11.48 clocking beating Jacob Brinkman of Iowa City Regina by seven-hundredths of a second.
The Indians almost had another 1-2 finish in the next race, the 400. Harksen won easily in 50.79, while Trever Greene of North Cedar edged Camanche’s Jeremiah Jones 52.90-52.95 for the second spot, forcing Jones to wait to see if his time is good enough to advance.
Harksen completed the sprint sweep by taking the 200 by almost a second, winning in 22.86.
Harksen capped his day by anchoring the victorious 400-meter relay unit. McDaniel, Thomas Brantley, Brady Beal and Harksen won by four-tenths of a second in 44.80.
The Indians edged Bellevue for the team title by 1.5 points, 100-98.5.
“We did a lot of good things,” Camanche coach Mark Metzger said. “When you’re trying to look ahead to the state meet, you want to get things there that you think can score and medal, (and) you’ve got to make some adjustments.”
Camanche recorded a big win early, taking first in the shuttle hurdle relay. A strong second leg by Zach Feller put the Indians in the lead, and Beal and Brantley made sure they held on. Blake Bialas ran the opening leg.
“I’ve been hurt all year, and this is the best I’ve felt,” Feller said. “I just wanted to catch him and pass him.”
The Indians placed second at state in the event last year, but Brantley is the only member of that unit who is back.
“We’ve had to work hard to get there, but hard work pays off,” Feller said. “Blake has come on strong, Brady is running well and Tom, obviously, is good.”
The Indians also advanced with a second-place finish from McDaniel, Brantley, Beal and Will Seeser in the 800 relay (1:35.14).
Drake Sachsenmier also is returning to state in all four wheelchair events: the 100, 200 and 400 races, and the shot put.
Camanche had all but clinched the team title after it won the 400 relay, but Bellevue cut the gap by four when Jace Michels, Jake Schroeder, Aaron Beckley and Noah Reed won the 1,600 relay in 3:34.78, while Camanche came in third.
Michels also won the 400 hurdles race in 57.03 for the Comets, while Andrew Meyer took second in the 3,200 (9:51.22), Reed was second in the 200 (23.54) and Robert Schroeder was the runner-up in the 110 hurdles (15.51), Evan Dalldorf placed second in the long jump (20 feet, 3.25 inches). The Comets qualified for state in the shuttle hurdle relay (second in 1:01.86).
Northeast placed fourth in team race with 79 points. Eli Kaczinski was a double winner in the 3,200 (9:48.75) and 1,600 (4:35.87), Axel Dondiego won the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and Nick Anderson made a strategic run to the title in the 800 (2:02.60).
“I knew he (Mount Vernon’s Nolan Teubel) was a strong racer and had a lot of endurance, so I just tried to stick with him as long as I could and then kick it in as fast as I possibly could to get the win,” Anderson said.
Anderson held back a bit on the first lap, made one move over the first 100 meters of the second lap and made his final kick over the final 100 or so meters.
Even though there was a cold, steady rain falling much of the night, he said it wasn’t that bad getting ready for one of the later races in the event.
“It’s all about preparation, staying warm at camp until it’s your time to warm up,” he said.
Nick Kennicker earned a trip to state for Northeast with a second-place finish in a close 400-meter hurdle race. Michels won in 57.03 seconds, with Kennicker (57.78) and West Branch’s Matt Shawver (57.88) close behind.
“With the weather, it was good make sure it I had secured it tonight,” Kennicker said of earning the top-two finish that brings automatic qualification to state, rather than waiting to see if his time was fast enough for one of the eight at-large berths. “It guarantees another day on the track.”