Clinton High School graduates earned the most points in all four events Friday at Day 1 of the Midwest Collegiate Conference womens heptathlon.
Mount Mercy junior Larissa Wilden recorded the most points in the 100-meter hurdles, high jump and 200, while Ashford junior Sarah Wenzel scored the most points in the shot put.
Wilden leads after Day 1 with 2,768 points. Rachel Luehrs of St. Ambrose is in second with 2,536 points.
“I’m one of those athletes who is never satisfied,” Wilden said. “I wish high jump would have gone better. With the hurdles, I was happy. All-around, it was OK.”
She said she expected to be leading after the first day but holding on to first place would be a challenge.
“That’s what happened last year. I was in the lead after Day 1,” Wilden said. “My second day was awful. It’s all my off events.”
Wilden said she needed a long jump farther than 15 feet and a javelin throw of more than 82 feet to feel good about her chances to hold on. The other Day 2 event is the 800-meter run.
“In the 800 I just want to hold on,” she said. “That is my worst event by far.”
An athlete’s performance in each event dictates how many points they earn, regardless of placing. Wilden cleared 5 feet, 5 inches in the high jump, which earned her 795 points, 94 more points than the second-place finisher. That was her most dominant event.
The worst performance in the high jump, cleared just less than 4-1. Wilden didn’t attempt her first jump until two competitors were left in the event.
“There’s no point in going in at 4-5 or something when I usually go in at 4-10,” Wilden said. “If I were to go in at 4-5, my heels might click it because I’m already so high over the bar.
“This whole season we’ve been going in at 4-10 and usually we skip to 5-3. We just get a good jump in and then go to 5-3 and go from there. But because this is the heptathlon and we want to get more points, I jump at lower heights just to make sure I’m OK and score high.”
Wilden scored her most points (814) in the 100 hurdles, finishing in 15.21 seconds. She scored 776 points in the 200, crossing the finish line in 26.24.
In the shot put, she scored only 383 points with a throw of 25-4.8.
“Shot put was awful, but I knew that was going to happen,” Wilden said.
Her former teammate and current competitor Wenzel won the shot put to make Day 1 a clean sweep for former River Queens.
Wenzel had the best throw with a heave of 34-9.8. Wenzel is in seventh place after Day 1 with 2,089 points.
Wilden said it was important to treat each event individually and not let one event affect the next.
“You can’t let a bad hurdle race affect how well you’re going to high jump,” she said. “That’s difficult. I know my freshman year, I had a bad hurdle race and that affected my bad high jump and affected shot put.”
Wilden said that was sometimes difficult for her.
“It’s all a mental game,” she said. “When you have a bad day right off the bat, it’s hard to get out of that funk. When you have a good day, it’s really, really great because then you’re high the whole time and you can use that to feed off.”
Wilden — the reigning MCC field athlete of the week for her NAIA automatic qualifying high jump of 5-6 — said it was a nice bonus to compete in her hometown.
“You get to sleep in your own bed,” she said. “This is only the second time I’ve been on this track and I like it. It’s fast.”
Ashford’s Myra Nichols is in fourth place with 2,271 points, 10 ahead of teammate Alexus Harrison. Ashford’s fourth competitor Haley Fischer is in ninth place with 1,897 points.