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Wing-footed Comets soar to the medal stand at State T&F Championships

Wing-footed Comets soar to the medal stand at State T&F Championships
Press photo by John Burbridge
After taking a brief nap on the 30-yard line, Charles City freshman Sophia Calpito competes in the championship round of the Class 3A girls long jump at the State Track and Field Championships. Calpito just missed getting a medal with a ninth-place showing.

By John Burbridge

DES MOINES — The State Track and Field Championships were supposed to be where Charles City freshman Sophia Calpito would be flying high.

But the day’s activities had Calpito laid low.

Right before the final round of the Class 3A girls long jump during Friday’s afternoon session at Drake Stadium, Calpito was prone on the 30-yard line like she was sleeping on a FieldTurf bed.

You can’t blame the girl for being tired considering how busy she was during the long weekend. The day before, she helped the Comets’ school record-setting girls shuttle hurdle relay advance to Saturday’s final. And after advancing to the “championship round” of the LJ, Calpito competed in the 100 hurdles preliminaries.

Still, you don’t want to miss your next flight by oversleeping. Calpito was roused in time to jump in the finals and just missed reaching the medal stand with a ninth-place leap of 16 feet, 9 3/4 inches.

Clear Lake standout junior Reese Brownlee won the event when she soared to a state-record distance of 19 feet, 3 1/2 inches while besting runner-up Frankie Huether of North Polk by nearly a foot and a half.

As for the aforementioned Comet SHR … the team of (in leg order) freshman Edie Collins, senior Lauren Staudt, Calpito and senior Keely Collins came within a .05 of a second from matching its school record attained at the state-qualifier with a third-place finals time of 1 minute, 6.42 seconds behind state champion ADM, Adel’s blistering time of 1:04.20 and runner-up North Polk (1:05.99).

The Comets’ SHR may be greater than the sum of its individual parts. But if so, not by much.

Even with Calpito coming up short of scoring points in the LJ, the rest of the team accounted for the Comets’ 13th-place 20 team points among Class 3A girls.

Twelve of those points came early during Thursday’s Class 3A girls high jump with Edie Collins attaining a personal-record height of 5 feet, 4 inches and Keely Collins also reaching that same height, Edie was awarded second place with Keely — a two-time state runner-up in the HJ — placing fourth.

Mount Vernon junior Sydney Maue also cleared 5-4 behind ADM, Adel junior London Warmuth, who cleared 5-8 for her second-straight HJ state title. The three-way tie between the Collins sisters and Maue was broken by way of the number of previous misses.

The Comet girls picked up 2 more points on Friday when Staudt recorded a personal-record time of 1 minute, 7.56 seconds in the 400 hurdles, good enough for seventh place.

Brownlee won the Class 3A girls 400 hurdles with a dominant time of 59.83 seconds, which set yet another state record while placing her in the Top 8 in the nation.

On the boys side, Charles City got all of its 6 team points from senior Josiah Cunnings in the Class 3A boys long jump. Cunnings was the defending state champion in the LJ, but in a championship round battle that could have gone a variety of ways, Cunnings was denied of going back-to-back as his top flight of 21 feet, 10 3/4 inches was good enough for third place behind champion and Clear Creek-Amana sophomore Aren Schlemme (22-2 1/2), who edged Decorah senior and runner-up Kaiden Quandahl by a half-inch.

Charles City junior Leah Stewart capped an outstanding throwing season which saw her break long-standing school records in both the discus and shot put while placing ninth in the SP with a throw of 36 feet, 9 1/4 inches while improving from her 10th-place performance at state last spring.

* In Class 1A girls competition, Nashua-Plainfield won its second girls distance medley relay state title in three years and almost won its second team state title in that span only to be bested by champion Saint Ansgar by 2 team points (40 to 38).

During the DMR timed finals, the Huskies’ first three legs of Jordyn Frost, Jalissa White and Ellie Eick essentially had one job to do — get the baton to standout junior Kadence Huck in a position where she could win it in the final 800 meters.

Mission Accomplished.

Though Huck started the fourth leg in sixth place, by the time she passed the Drake Stadium’s giant video screen for the second time while rounding the third and fourth turns heading for the homestretch, she was pulling away from Saint Albert’s Lili Denton as the Huskies’ only legitimate challenger at that point in the race.

As a result, NP’s winning time of 4:09.07 was nearly 3 seconds faster than that of runner-up Saint Albert.

Huck came into Des Moines last week already a five-time state champion. She left as an eight-time champion with another win in the DMR as well as winning her second 800-meter title (2:13.98) and her first 1500 title (4:42.13) after coming one-hundredth of a second from winning the 1500 at state last season.

Going for her third-straight 400 title, Huck was a split-second runner-up again as her time of 55.78 seconds likely pushed Panorama senior Jaidyn Sellers just enough to set a state record (55.44).

* North Butler’s resident distance runner prodigy, freshman Addison Voelkers, got the Bearcats on the board with 4 team points while placing sixth in the Class 1A girls 3000 run (10:58.74) and eighth in the 1500 (5:00.92).

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