Comets take final flights at State Track and Field Championships
By John Burbridge
DES MOINES — Like Jesse Owens in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Charles City seniors Ian Collins and Lydia Staudt were down to their last strike in the long jump during Friday’s session of the State Track and Field Championships.
Each had scratched twice on their first two attempts, and were on the verge of being eliminated from their respective competitions short of the medal round.
“I just couldn’t get my timing right,” said Collins, who finally landed his third attempt for a chance to win his second-straight Class 3A Boys Long Jump title as well as his fourth state gold medal.
During the medal round, Collins recorded a jump of 23 feet, ¼ inch — his longest flight of the season.
But after hearing the numbers announced, he was in no mood to celebrate. The jump was just a half inch short of that already posted by Carlisle senior Archer Ogbourne, who eventually won the event despite — while also competing in the Class 3A Boys 110 High Hurdles prelims going on simultaneously — deciding to forgo his final two attempts.
The day before, Collins won his second-straight Class 3A Boys High Jump title by matching his personal-best and school all-time best height of 6 feet, 9 inches. He also has the school’s long jump record (23 feet, 1 ½ inch).
But Friday proved to be the end of his outstanding athletic career at Charles City. Collins was later the anchor leg of the Comets’ 4-by-400 relay team that was projected to move on to the finals as indicated by their best time recorded during the season as compared to that of other qualified relay teams.
But the foursome also consisting of Malcolm Lopez, Jacob Vais and Griffin Franksain — all seniors — placed 12th in the prelims.
“We missed some opportunities in the 4-by-100 and 4-by-400,” said Charles City boys head coach Ryan Rahmiller while also referencing the 4-by-100 team of Jakob Sindlinger, Jalil Jones, Josiah Cunnings and Mario Hoefer. “A couple of cleaner exchanges and the 4-by-100 would have been sitting better.
“We came out a little sluggish in the 4-by-400. I think the speed of the race surprised our boys. I know both groups would like a second shot at it, but that’s not the way it works. I am proud of the way we ran this season and for getting to the state meet.”
Several of the aforementioned Comets have already signed letters-of-intent to continue their athletic careers. But Collins — who will likely land with a Division I program — is still undecided of his future “flight plans”.
“Once I get back home to Charles City, I’ll be focusing more on that,” Collins said.
Later that Friday afternoon, Staudt was contemplating the possibility of her prep track career coming to an end.
“I actually thought it was going to be my last jump of my career,” Staudt said of her third jump after the two scratches. “I was just going to go for it … go all out. Not play it safe.”
Staudt advanced to the medal round where she eventually recorded a personal-best jump of 17 feet, 3 ½ inches, resulting in her second-straight sixth-place state medal.
Isabelle Noring, another leaper from Carlisle, set a state record with a winning jump of 18 feet, 8 ¾ inches in the Class 3A Girls Long Jump.
The day before in the Class 3A Girls High Jump, Comet sophomore Keely Collins matched Central DeWitt junior Soren Maricle with a clear of 5 feet, 6 inches — the height matched Collins’ school-record. Both jumpers struck out while attempting 5 feet, 8 inches for the outright title. With both competitors having four misses, Maricle won the “jump off” for the gold as Collins had to settle for her second-straight silver.
Keely Collins also qualified with the Comets’ Girls Shuttle Hurdle Relay Team also consisting of Kaylee Hennick, Lauren Staudt and Olivia Litterer, which got disqualified in the prelims. Then Collins suffered some more bad luck in the Class 3A Girls 100-Meter Hurdle prelims on Friday when she tripped on the second obstacle.
But she is due to be back, as is fellow Comet sophomore Josiah Cunnings, who placed 12th in the Class 3A Boys Long Jump but was unable to height in the Class 3A Boys High Jump.
Two-time state qualifier Tino Tamayo placed 12th in the Class 3A Boys Shot Put (49 feet, 3 inches), and multiple-even state-qualifier Mario Hoefer placed 17th in the Class 3A Boys 100-Meter Dash prelims (11.49 seconds).
Rahmiller composed a special good-bye to several of his seniors.
“Mario (Hoefer) has helped steer the ship with that 4-by-100 team. He wouldn’t let them go with a mediocre exchange at practice. It had to be perfect and they had to get it right. He’s been a vocal leader to the team and made sure people get recognized for the things they do right. He’s been a student of block work and his own sprint form this spring and it showed.
“Jakob Sindlinger was an alternate to that 4-by-100 team last year. He left the stadium last year with a goal of running there in 2022. He got that and the school record too. He earned it. He showed up at speed camps, worked on form, and was a model of consistency.
“Mario Lopez and Griffin Franksain are just true Charles City kids. They are humble, work hard, want to get better, and have earned their way into the state cross country and track meet. I am so proud of both of them.
“Jalil Jones joined us only this year. He immediately made an impact, but there is a lot of learning to do in track that many of these seniors have developed since middle schoolers. Jalil adapted quickly and was resilient when something didn’t go as planned. I wish he was a junior.
“Jacob Vais had a remarkable career in distance and transitioned over into a sprinter when he grew into his frame and found his speed. Jacob is a relentless competitor and would just bleed for his team. There is nothing more fun than watching him hunt down someone in the 4-by-400.
“Tino Tamayo is a student of his event. Him and Coach Dean talk non stop about throwing technique. His relentless pursuit of technique got him into two Drake Relays and multiple trips to state. Hawkeye Community College is getting a tremendous athlete in the fall.
“Ian (Collins) is able to see the ‘big picture’ maybe better than any athlete I’ve coached. He knows how much it’s going to take in a competition, and what he needs to do to get there. He thrives on competition and being in ‘that situation.’ He’s been extremely versatile over his career. He ran 800s as a freshman, 400s, 200s, and 100s, qualifying for state in all but the 200. I am going to miss watching him compete.
“It’s been an honor to coach them all. Who wouldn’t want to end their day with people like this? They’re just great human beings. I will miss them very much next year.”