DES MOINES -- There’s a delicate balance for runners who qualify for the track and field state meet in the 200- and 400-meter dashes.
Because there is little more than a half-hour between the races on the opening day of the three-day event, a runner has to decide whether to go all out in the 200, which is just a qualifier for Saturday’s final; ease off in the 200 to make sure there’s something left in the tank for the 400, which is a final; or doing something in between.
The decision worked well for Camanche’s Derek Harksen on Thursday at Drake Stadium, but not so well for Bellevue/Marquette Catholic’s Sarah Lampe.
Harksen placed third in his heat (23.018 seconds) and qualified seventh overall for Saturday’s final in the Class 2A 200, then earned runner-up points in the 400, where he finished second to Cherokee’s Marc Husman. Husman finished in 49.04 seconds, Harksen in 49.73.
“I was hoping for first, but I’m OK with second,” Harksen said. “He got out quick. I probably should have run my race instead of trying to keep up with him.”
Harksen admitted he put the emphasis on the 400.
“It wasn’t like I wasn’t trying in the 200,” he said. “I was trying to save it in the 200 because I was (seeded) higher (in the 400). I don’t think I can get first (in the 200), but I’m already in, so I get a medal.”
Lampe, on the other hand, put on a hard charge to win her heat of the 200 in 26.07 and qualify fourth for Saturday’s final. But, she seemed to hit a wall at about the 100-meter mark of the 400 and finished last in her heat and 16th overall. This from the runner who led 2A much of the year in the event and still had the second-best time entering the state meet.
Harksen’s second-place finish gave the Indians eight points and put them in a tie for seventh place in the Class 2A standings.
The Indians also earned a spot in the finals of the shuttle hurdle relay. Thomas Brantley, Devin Norman, Shykeem Williams and Mike Osaro took second in their heat and fourth overall in 59.71. North Polk led the qualifying by setting a 1A record with a winning time of 58.17.
Northeast scored five points and was tied for 15th. The Rebels scored in a pair of events.
Eli Kaczinski helped himself with a late pass and placed fifth in the 3,200 meters in 9:59.65. Michael Melchert led a 1-2 finish for Monticello, winning the event in 9:38.93. Bellevue’s Andrew Meyer was 14th (10:18.12).
“I knew if people were going to catch me, I was going to have to catch someone,” Kaczinski said. “I’m happy to break 10 minutes -- that’s my best time this year.”
He said the runners went out a little fast for his liking.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I didn’t want to go out the first mile that fast. I did my best to hang on. After the first half mile, you could see the group in front would be the first group, and I tried to stay in contact with them.”
Northeast got its other point from an eighth-place finish by Kevin Boughton in the long jump. His first jump was his best (20-9), but five of his jumps were better than 20.
“It’s not too bad,” he said. “I wanted to at least make the finals. I wanted to jump better, but I met one goal, at least.”
Teammate Bo Lingle finished 13th in the event at 20-0.
Camanche (14th, 8:24.97) and Northeast (22nd, 8:35.59) both placed in the 3,200 relay.
In girls events, Northeast’s Tierra Hildebrandt surprised herself by qualifying for Saturday’s final in the 100 meters, and she did it by the slimmest of margins. She was the eighth and final qualifier, in 13.084 seconds, edging Roland-Story’s Kayla Johnston by three-throusandths of a second. The Rebels’ Danae Diedrich was 15th overall in 13.26.
“The 100, I didn’t know how it would go,” Hildebrandt said. “I didn’t plan on making the finals. Coach told me I was in the finals, and I was shocked.”
Both Hildebrandt (10th, 26.68) and Diedrich (19th, 27.19) placed in the 200 but did not advance to the finals. Again, it was a close call for Hildebrandt, who was just .09 off the time of the final qualifier.
Northeast’s Alyssa Roth took 22nd in the 400 (1:03.25), teammate Kaitlynn Riley was 15th (11:57.52) in the 3,000 and Bellevue was 12th in the 3,200 relay (10:11.29).