May 17, 2024

Day One State Track and Field Recap

Ames athletes were running and jumping inside Drake Stadium during the afternoon session on the first day of the 2024 Iowa high school state track and field championships.

In his first year at the high jump, junior Garang Deng got things started for the Little Cyclones. Before Thursday, Deng’s season-best was 6-0. He could not clear the bar’s starting height, set at 5-11.

“It’s been fun, a lot of highs and a lot of lows, it’s a lot of the mental aspect of how good you can do,” Deng said. “I’m happy that I made it from good coaching from Coach D that helped me get where I am today.”

Juniors Lauren Risdal and Marley Turk took to the historic blue oval for the 3,000-meter run with season-best times of 10:06.39 and 10:17.44, respectively.

Last October, the duo took to Fort Dodge’s Lakeside Golf Course for the State Cross Country meet and placed in the top 25 in the 5K, with Risdal finishing 21st and Turk finishing 25th.

Turk ran a 10:18.66 for seventh place, and Risdal 10:19.43 for eighth place.

“I’m proud I’m back at state for the 3K for another year,” Turk said. “It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m going to channel my energy into my other races and making sure I execute on the other races.”

“I’m very happy with how it went, it’s very hard, but state is the place to run your best and put your best effort out there,” Risdal said. “I think everyone did that today, it was amazing to run with all of them because they’re all such great runners. I’m happy to be here.”

Another junior with talents in long distance, Brennen Bhave, took part in the 3,200 Meter Run. Bhave’s season-best before Thursday was 9:38.98.

He finished 23rd with a time of 9:55.12.

“I felt really good at the start,” Bhave said. “There was a lot of jostling around, I took a few blows that probably hindered my performance. It’s a performance I can live with, I can’t be upset about this. I have to keep my eyes up as I have another race today.”

Ayak Akol and Anisa Percival took to the high jump, where they had respective season bests before state of 5-2 and 5-0. The starting height of the bar was 4-10. Akol’s best jump was 4-10, which tied her for 19th place. Percival recorded No Height in the event.

“Today was kind of an off day, Akol said. “I had good run throughs, felt ready but I was a little sore, my quad wasn’t feeling great. Same with both of my feet, a little sore. Had a good first jump, felt good. I think, because there’s a lot going on at the time and I wasn’t locked in enough. But, I’ll be back next year and (I’ll) put the work in.”

“It didn’t go well, I didn’t hit opening (4-10), but it is what it is,” Percival said. “I’ll get there next year and keep working hard throughout the season.”

Little Cyclones Sophia Hatcher and Jeffrey Roberts each took to the oval for preliminaries in the 200-meter dash.

Prior to state, their season bests were 25.49 seconds and 22.43 seconds.

Hatcher’s 25.627 seconds was good for ninth place, and Roberts’ 22.73 seconds placed him 21st.

“It didn’t go how I wanted to, but I went out there and tried to put a smile on my face,” Hatcher said. “Because I didn’t make the finals, I wanted to switch my mindset to help my teammates (for the shuttle hurdle relay).”

“I didn’t get out of the blocks like I wanted to,” Roberts said. “I’ll be back next year.”

The 4×800 relay team of Emma Stanley, Lauren Risdal, Katie Campbell, and Marley Turk were the next Little Cyclones on the track.

“It’s great to get out here with our team, Stanley said. “It’s a great opportunity we have, even if we didn’t race the best. I’m proud of us.”

“My leg didn’t go the best, but not every day is a (personal record) PR day or the best day, Risdal said. “I’m happy our team showed up and we did our best, so I’m happy with it.

“My leg went decent, it was tiring, the heat was exhausting,” Campbell said. “I’m glad we got the opportunity to run here and overall had a great experience with the team.”

“I didn’t feel amazing, just coming from the 3K, legs weren’t feeling great,” Turk said. “I’m glad I had another opportunity to race here with my team. I’m excited for the next couple days.”

With a time of 9:47.65, the Little Cyclones girls 4×800 finished 14th.

Following the girl’s 4×800 relay was the boy’s 4×800 relay, which featured the following Little Cyclones: Zachary Lenkaitis, Erik Anderson, Isaiah Knight, and Brennen Bhave.

The quartet ran an 8:06.69, a season-best, for 19th place.

“Got out hard and was leading through the first 400 (57.34 seconds) and I tried to hang on and put my guys in a good spot, Lenkaitis said.

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, we’ve had an up and down season, Anderson said. “I feel like we came out and we ran well. We ran a big PR, I’m really proud of our guys. On the last 150 meters, I think I caught a few guys, that felt pretty good.”

“These two laps were hard, I didn’t know I was doing this until two days ago,” Knight said. “The first one felt pretty hard and the kept going the second lap.”

“I felt a lot stronger than I expected or even hoped to after the two mile, it’s a quick turnaround,” Bhave said. “I felt good, I’m even prouder of the rest of the team. They run their hearts out, we got a big season best to show for it.”

Sophomore Jeffrey Roberts looked to improve on his season best of 11.04 seconds in the 100-meter dash. With a PR of 10.99 seconds, Roberts finished 13th overall.

“I’m very proud of it, I’ve been working all season for it,” Roberts said. “I’ve been working on my blocks every day and training to get better.

The final event of the night for the Little Cyclones was the preliminary Shuttle Hurdle Relay. The four running the relay for Ames were Angelica Attinger, Sophia Hatcher, Camryn Johnson, and Elia Varghese.

A 1:06.71 in the relay placed the Little Cyclones ninth.

“We did what we needed, to do and I think we definitely have a lot more in us,” Attinger said.

“(Being second leg today) I was just like ‘I need to go, don’t think about anyone else'”, Hatcher said.

“We could have done better but I think it went pretty well,” Johnson said. “We all ran hard.”

“Indianola hit a hurdle, so I felt like I had the motivation to go as hard as I can so they wouldn’t catch up, Varghese said. “It wasn’t a great run, but I did my best.”

To see how the Little Cyclones do on day two (Friday) and day three (Saturday), the final day, Wayzata Timing provides live results.

“We really had a year of experience gain, a lot of these kids are young and this is their first state meet experience,” head coach Erica Lynn Douglas said. “We had a lot of great performances, Jeffery Roberts getting under 11 was a huge deal. He moves up on the Top 10 all time for Ames High. It’s fast and he’s fast. Our boys 4×8, I think everyone that ran on it had a season best split. A lot of good things are happening and they’re building momentum for what they’re hoping to bring in the future.”

“It was really fun to see Marley and Lauren get us started in the 3000,” coach Erica Lynn Douglas added. “Lauren getting her first placing at the state meet, she was very excited about that.”

The photo gallery from State Track & Field day one is available on our AHS Activities website.