DUBUQUE — For Erika Hammond and Erin Wenzel, they made their big moments at the right time Thursday at the Iowa Class 4A regional girls track and field meet.
Hammond earned a trip to the state meet in the shot put with her first throw in the final round at 38 feet, three-quarters of an inch. It was good for second place.
It was good timing on Hammond’s part because she was one inch short of qualifying for the state meet last year.
“I was trying to aim for the top two, so I just wanted to qualify so I knew that I would be for sure in,” Hammond said. “I wanted that bit of relief.”
Hammond used the experience from falling short in 2013 as the goal making it in Thursday.
“I just automatically wanted to go, and I’m really happy now,” she said. “I mostly stressed about shot put because that’s what I’m better at; I like shot put more (than discus).”
Hammond didn’t have her top throw of the season (it was 40-8 on May 1), but that’s something she can work on since the state meet doesn’t start until next Thursday in Des Moines.
“We’re going to do lots of drills and work on my finishing shot, and not have to focus on discus,” Hammond said.
Hammond finished ninth in the discus once the rain fell harder.
Meanwhile, Wenzel was a little nervous about running the 800-meter dash for just the third time this year, but the third time was certainly the charm.
The Clinton senior never surrendered her lead and crossed the finish line nearly 20 meters ahead of the runner-up. Wenzel crossed in 2 minutes, 26.87 seconds.
“I knew that it was going to be a hard race, and if I could stay with the person who came in at No. 1 that I could beat her,” Wenzel said. “I knew I had to get out when everyone was bunched up, and that was going to be my only chance to get out front.”