BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DES MOINES – Falling rain and quite a few Bloodhound personal records highlighted action Saturday at the Iowa High School state track meet in Des Moines.
Brett Schneider scored the first team point for the Hounds girls’ team when she took eighth place in the Class 3A 800-meter run with a time of 2:21.29 in the second heat.
The race sets up on two lines at state with half in front on the outside lanes and half in back on the inside lanes. At the gun Schneider shared a bump with Davenport Assumption’s Julie Schumacher causing a glitch out of the gate.
“It was a rough race, I got bumped right away,” she said.
“When we hit the 400-meter mark everyone just started knocking into each other, but you know – that’s racing,” she said. “I’m used to running with this many people, just not so many in front of me.”
Junior Sierra Howardson finished 13th in the 1500-meter run and said it was a great race and her goal was to finish ahead of everyone in her conference and set a personal best, which is what she did.
“It was quite a bit bigger than conference, but I just needed to perform. My coach told me to just beat my conference and I did that and I wanted to make him proud and I think I did that,” Howardson said.
Howardson, like Schneider, typically runs in the front of the pack, but at Des Moines she found herself in the middle most of the way around.
“I’m not used to running from behind either, but you know, we use that to motivate us to PR (personal record) and that’s what we did. We had some really good times today,” she said.
Caleb Gehle had six attempts in the wheelchair shot put with his longest throw being 14’5.25″ good enough for third place. It was Gehle’s third trip to the state meet. He had finished fifth as a freshman and fourth as a sophomore. He, too, said the weather made things a bit more difficult.
“For the last couple years it was good weather, 70 degrees, nice and sunny. And this year it’s been cold and rainy,” Gehle said.
“I wish I could have been second, but next year I’m gonna lift a lot more and work on my form. Next year we’re gonna jump right to first.”
Gehle also raced in the wheelchair 100- and 200- placing 6th in both events for a combined six points. Gehle garnered 12 points in all the events, good for fourth place in team rankings for the wheelchair division.
Rains came down heavy at about 12:10, in the middle of the boys 1A shuttle hurdle relays, sending half of the spectators looking for cover, but short of lightning, the events continue at the state meet.
Head girls coach Brian Mendez was honored at midfield during the state meet for 25 years in the FMHS track program.
“You know what – if you had told me when I was in college I would be coaching girls track for 25 years I would have laughed at ya,” Mendez said.
“I was just having a converation about this program and you know it’s all about Timm Lamb, Keith Allen, and Paul Walker – they were kind of my mentors and have given me my passion for this sport and I just love it. Just love it.
“I’m very blessed to bleed red and black. I do what I love and love what I do.”