By Ted Schultz
For the Herald
DES MOINES — Audrey Griffin was inexperienced in terms of the Iowa high school state track and field championships.
But she looked every bit the seasoned veteran while competing on the blue oval at Drake Stadium on a sunny and beautiful Thursday morning.
The Prince of Peace freshman outdid every opponent but one while placing second in the Class 1A girls 3,000-meter run in 10 minutes, 38.34 seconds, shattering her personal best time by about 25 seconds. The winner was Abby Schlater of Council Bluffs St. Albert, who ran 10:31.98.
Griffin was fifth early in the race, but then moved to a leading pack of three with Schlater and Mason City Newman's Grace Moore about midway through the race. Griffin was still in the hunt for the title for the next 250 meters before Schlater kicked in for the win.
“I didn't want to go out too fast and waste all my energy, so I tried to stick back a bit and then gradually move up,” Griffin explained of her race strategy. “After I moved up, my plan was to hang with the girl in front of me, and for the most part I did. Then she really sprinted fast and I couldn't quite keep up.”
Griffin said she drew inspiration from the large crowd at the stadium.
“It made me run faster,” she said. “Everybody is cheering for you, so you want to do your best. My goal was to get under 11 (minutes), so I'm happy with that. And second place is great, too.”
Another area Class 1A girl placed Thursday, as Preston's Brook Tebbe placed eighth in the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, 11 inches. That leap was a personal best.
“I came in with nothing to lose,” Tebbe, a junior, said. “I just went out and tried my hardest, my steps were fine and everything worked out. My goal was to get a medal, which I did.”
Brooke Craig of Prince of Peace was 18th in the event at 14-10. Another Prince of Peace athlete, Drew Sikkema, took 11th in the boys 3,200 in 10:08.05. After heading to Iowa City today to compete in a district golf tournament, he'll return to Des Moines to run both the 800 and 1,600 on Saturday.
Prince of Peace's Katie Isenhour was 14th in the girls 400 in 1:01.22, while Preston's girls 3,200 relay team placed 21st in 10:39.36.
By Ted Schultz