DES MOINES - If the third-fastest time in school history isn't good enough to win, then tip your cap to the other guys. They beat you at your best, and there's not a lot you can do about that.
The Marshalltown boys' 4x400-meter relay team posted one of program's all-time best times in finishing third in Class 4A in the final race of the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships on Saturday inside Drake Stadium.
The Bobcats' contingent of Austin Hauser, Jordan Dean, Bennett Mann and Tad Steffensen rearranged their running order and the results proved the move a successful one. The time of 3 minutes, 20.71 seconds fell 55 hundredths shy of the school record, but it still wasn't enough to hold off hard-charging West Des Moines Valley and Cedar Rapids Prairie at the end.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Marshalltown’s Tad Steffensen, right, is edged out at the finish line by West Des Moines Valley, center, and Cedar Rapids Prairie on the final leg of the 4x400-meter relay on Saturday at the state meet in Des Moines. The Bobcats placed third in a time of 3 minutes, 20.71 seconds.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Steffensen, the lone junior on a senior-heavy relay, took the lead his teammates gave him but couldn't hold off the competition down the homestretch.
Valley won with a time of 3:20.25 and Prairie was next to cross the finish line in 3:20.53.
"They started out great and ... I don't know, it's not a good feeling," said Steffensen. "It was just too close. It doesn't feel good."
The quartet accounted for six of Marshalltown's 10 team points in the state meet, which was good for 25th in the final standings. Steffensen thought he should have helped the Bobcats log 10 points with an event title while sending out his senior running mates as event champions.
"Tad was nervous coming in, we just told him to go out and run, run as fast as you can and what you got you got," said Hauser. "We were proud of him. We came in seeded sixth for the finals with all these guys and teams and we placed third.
"We're proud of Tad for doing what he did. He's a 100-200 guy and coming in doing the 4(00) and doing that, absolutely."
The Bobcats' time was the program's fastest since 1985, with the 1984 record of 3:20.16 by Kent Terrillion, Dale Clayton, Scott Dunlap and Dan Lamb standing firm atop the chart.
Valley's Quentin Smith and Prairie's Demetrius Harper passed Steffensen with about 30 meters to go after trailing by 5 meters when the final handoffs were made.
"You pat your teammates on the back and say we gave it all we had," said Hauser, "and congrats to the two other teams running faster than us because that's an outstanding time.
"Being a senior, that's what we talked about coming down here, we wanted to bring it home and bring it to Coach 'O' (assistant coach Bill Ormston) because this is his favorite race too, but third is fine with us."
Marshalltown's sixth-seeded time from Friday night's preliminaries was 3:23.61.
"We just said we're going to run as hard as we can no matter what," Mann said, "and we gave it every ounce."