DES MOINES — CLINTON -- As Deshond Robinson rounded the first turn, Jase Grant of Dubuque Senior went whizzing past the Clinton High senior, and Robinson's heart sunk a bit.
Grant had the state's fastest time in the 400-meter dash most of the season and edged Robinson last week at the district meet.
"I didn't think I'd stand a chance against him because he's quicker than me out of the box," Robinson said.
As he approached the final turn, it appeared Robinson's chance of repeating as champion was a lot more than 100 or so meters away.
But, Robinson found another gear and passed everyone in front him and became Clinton's first back-to-back state champion in a sprint race since Carl Nelson did it in the 100-yard and 220-yard dashes in 1932 and 1933. Robinson's time (48.66) was five-hundredths of a second better than his winning time of a year ago and .13 ahead of Grant, the runner-up.
"I was kind of feeling dead over there, but then I figured, I had to go another 150 meters, and I was like, 'That's nothing really.' I just gave it all I've got to finish it out.
Robinson's win came less than an hour after he qualified for Saturday's finals in the 200 and capped a successful day for Clinton High.
Earlier, Brady Ernst placed second in the 4A high jump, breaking his previous personal best of 6 feet. 2 inches, by clearing 6-4 and 6-6. Jared Seay of Johnston cleared 6-7 to win.
In the girls high jump, the River Queens' Elle Tubbs placed fifth at 5-2.
In Class 1A Thursday:
# Prince of Peace sophomore Sydney Laufenberg placed fifth in the girls shot put with a throw of 37-5.25.
# Easton Valley's Logan Wilhelm placed sixth in the 400 in 51.32.