The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Sports

May 25, 2014

Harksen completes sweep of sprints

DES MOINES — Derek Harksen is going out to pasture in style.

Harksen, a senior from Camanche High School who will forego college to farm with his father, completed a sweep of the Class 2A sprint races Saturday, winning the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Iowa track and field state meet at Drake Stadium. He won the 400 title Thursday.

"I did not see this coming," he said.

He had to know it was a possibility, though, since he was among the state leaders in all three events.

"No, not really," he said.

"I think he probably thought about the 200 and 400; those have been his events most of his career," Camanche coach Mark Metzger said. "But late in the season the 100 started coming around, and pretty soon he was sitting at the top of the list in 2A, so we decided why not give him the shot to go for all three."

One difference this year was his health. He had to battle injuries in the past, but not this year.

"This is the first year I'm 100 percent running," he said. "It feels good to run 100 percent and not run hurt.

Harksen won the 100 in 11.20, six-hundredths of a second faster than runner-up Blake Mossberg of Hinton.

"I think I had a pretty good start in that, so I'd say my start is what got me there," Harksen said.

In the 200, Harksen had to track down Mossberg, who had the lead early, and outsprint him down the straightaway.

"That guy in lane five (Mossberg) had a great start, so I knew I had to get going right away," said Harksen, who was in Lane 4 and had a clear view of Mossberg because of the race's staggered start. "That is a big advantage. If I can see someone ahead of me, it makes me go a lot faster. I like that better."

When he was finished with the sweep, he said none was more satisfying than the others.

"They're all awesome," he said.

Indians eighth in relay

The Indians also were hoping for a big day in the 400-meter relay, with Harksen anchoring, but they finished eighth.

"We kind of put a lot of pressure on Derek to win it for us, but he did a good job," said Thomas Brantley, who ran the second leg with an ailing hamstring that he re-injured in the preliminaries of the shuttle hurdle relay. "I think if I were 100 percent we would have done a lot better, run a lot faster time.

"I've been trying to stretch it out as much as I can, but the thing's just not going away. I stopped running for a few weeks back in the season, but I guess it didn't help."

Kaczinski fourth in 1,600

Northeast senior Eli Kaczinski capped his career with a fourth-place finish in the Class 2A 1,600. His time, 4:25.27, broke his personal record by four seconds.

"The 1,600 is a faster and faster race each year," he said. "Today I wanted to make sure I got out fast and didn't regret anything and left it all out on the blue oval."

Kaczinski battled Tim Rose of South Hardin for the lead much of the race but was passed by Monticello standouts Michael Melchert and Ben Ahlrichs over the final lap.

"It wasn't necessarily the game plan; I was feeling good on the first lap and I felt this was going to be a great day," Kaczinski said of getting out early. "I didn't feel tired at all, so I thought why not shake things up a little bit."

He wasn't totally shocked to see Rose, who wound up with winning in 4:20.90, out there with him.

"It did surprise me, but he's been talking about the mile ever since the beginning of the weekend, so I knew that he was going to come ready to run, and that's what he did."

Bellevue's Andrew Meyer placed 20th in the race in 4:38.84.

In the Class 3A 1,600, Central DeWitt's Kyle Marti was 14th in 4:37.55.

Eighth is enough

Eighth was a popular finish for area runners.

Northeast's Nick Anderson put on an impressive charge over the final lap to take eighth in the 2A 800.

He was running last in the 12-man second flight for the first 400 meters but accelerated over the final 400, finishing fourth in his heat in 1:58.99, a personal record.

"I wanted 1:58, and I really wanted to medal; that's always been my goal," he said. "I think I start going when I see some people start slowing down and starting to drag; that's when I usually start to bring it."

He ran the race just the way he wanted.

"I always like going out slower than everyone else on the first lap," he explained. "It gives me a little more energy, a little confidence coming around that last lap. That's usually what leads to my big kick. I just smelled some blood and went and got some people.

"When you get one, you just want to get another. You've just got to keep going until you either get them all or you hit the finish line."

Clinton's Deshond Robinson wrapped up his career with an eighth-place finish in the 4A 200.

"I'm pretty satisfied with what I did this track season and with everything," he said. "The 200-meter dash is a really hard race and I was in lane eight, so I don't know what the chances of me getting first were. All I've got to say is I've done great out there and I'm satisfied."

Robinson got what he really came after on the first day of the three-day event when he successfully defended his title in the 400, and he said that probably affected the rest of his week.

"I guess I wasn't just mentally prepared for this race," he said.

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