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Josiah Cunnings leaps to state title in Class 3A boys long jump

Josiah Cunnings leaps to state title in Class 3A boys long jump
Photo by Kelly Terpstra
Charles City junior Josiah Cunnings won the Class 3A boys long jump at the State Track and Field Championships with a leap of 22 feet, 2 1/4 inches.

By John Burbridge

DES MOINES — How does Josiah Cunnings feel about winning the long jump at the State Track and Field Championships?

About the same he felt after winning the long jump consistently in other meets throughout the season.

“I feel happy but I’m still not satisfied,” the Charles City junior said about soaring to win the Class 3A boys long jump during the Friday field sessions at Drake Stadium.

On his fourth jump, Cunnings landed a distance of 21 feet, 8 1/2 inches which placed him in a tie with Harlan’s Brehden Eggerss.

On his fifth jump, Cunnings took the outright lead with a flight of 22 feet, 2 1/4 inches.

Bishop Heelan’s Sean Schaefer, who was sitting in eighth place, jumped 21 feet, 9 3/4 inches his sixth and final jump to place second.

As a sophomore last spring, Cunnings placed 12th at state in the LJ.

“I was a little more comfortable this time around,” said Cunnings, who also was a Drake Relay qualifier in the long jump earlier this spring.

“At most high school jump pits, the sand sits a little lower from takeoff so that gives you a little more hang time,” Cunnings said. “At Drake, the sand is more level so it’s tougher to get big jumps.

“But that’s what it’s going to be like in college … tougher.”

Last year, Cunnings competed with University of Iowa-bound Ian Collins, who won two high jump state titles and one long jump state title during his career at Charles City.

Collins has the male school record in the high jump (6-9) and in the long jump (23-1 1/2).

“Ian was like a big brother to me … he showed me all the ropes,” said Cunnings, who probably won’t be satisfied until he eclipses one of Collins’s records before he graduates next year. “We were very competitive teammates. He pushed me to become better … has given me goals to shoot for.”

Like last state meet in the high jump, Cunnings started his attempts at a relatively high level (5-11) and was unable to record a cleared height.

In the 400-meter dash on Thursday, Cunnings recorded a personal-record time of 51.88 seconds while placing 18th.

Charles City junior Keely Collins, younger sister of Ian, medaled in the Class 3A girls high jump for the third-straight state meet.

With a clear of 5 feet, 4 inches on Thursday, Collins placed fifth — she was state runner-up in the HJ her freshman and sophomore seasons, and currently holds Charles City’s female HJ record (5-7).

On Friday, Collins placed 14th in the 3A girls long jump (15 feet, 11 1/4 inches).

Charles City sophomore Leah Stewart placed in the Top 10 amid the Class 3A girls shot putters with a 10th-place throw of 36 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

Making her third-straight appearance as a state-qualifier, Comet junior Lauren Staudt placed 14th in the 3A girls 400-meter low hurdles (11 minutes, 11.02 seconds).

Charles City sophomore Xander Graeser placed 24th in the 3A boys 800 (2:06.09).

Comet senior Nakila Toney was unable to record a height in the 3A girls high jump.

* About the only race Nashua-Plainfield sophomore sensation Kadence Huck didn’t win at state was one in which she broke an old state record.

In a quintessential photo finish of the 1A girls 1500 run, Calamus-Wheatfield sophomore Noelle Steines nipped Huck at the line (4:35.43 to 4:35.44) to lay claim to the state title and new state record.

Huck defended her 1A girls 400 title with a personal-record time of 55.94 and won the 1A girls 800 with a PR time of 2:11.75.

Huck also was part of the Huskies 1A girls distance medley relay team also consisting of Jordyn Frost, Ellis Eick and Jalissa White that placed fourth (4:13.34) while helping N-P girls place runner-up to Calamus-Wheatfield in 1A girls team standings.

Nashua-Plainfield boys, a week removed from winning their Class 1A state-qualifier, fielded a medal-winning shuttle hurdle relay team when the team of Kaden Wilken, Aiden Lamborn, Titus Evans and Bo Harrington advanced to the finals and eventually placed seventh (1:02.13).

In her attempt to defend her Class 1A girls 400-meter low hurdles title, North Butler senior Kiya Johnson placed second (1:05.22) behind winner Nia Howard (1:04.90) of Springville.

Johnson, who has medaled in the 1A girls 400 LH all three years outdoor track has been offered to her during her high school career, scored more points for the Bearcats when taking sixth in the 1A girls 100 high hurdles (15.91) and seventh in the 1A girls shuttle hurdle relay while teaming up with Lancy Brinkman, Alexis Rose and Eliska Sirotiak (1:10.02).

North Butler senior Owen Amelien ended his high school track career by medaling in the 1A boys 1600 with a sixth-place time of 4:27.07 and placing 10th in the 3200 (9:53.64) — both personal-record times.

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