DES MOINES - Nathan Schmadeke finished out a grueling hour with a state championship.
His final of three races within an hour during Saturday's Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships was a first-place finish in the Class 1A boys' 110-meter hurdles.
Schmadeke had a time of 15.22 seconds to become the first Spartan state champion in the hurdling events. He is also the first Grundy Center individual to win an event on the track less than 1,600 meters long.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Grundy Center’s Nathan Schmadeke celebrates as he crosses the finish line with a Class 1A state championship in the 110-meter high hurdles on Saturday at the state meet in Des Moines. GMG’s Austin Groth, far left, placed fourth.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
"I can't even explain it," Schmadeke said. "I really can't, it's just surreal."
Schmadeke started his day by running the anchor leg of the Spartans' fourth-place shuttle hurdle relay team. Cody Cole, Bryce Moats, Jordan Stoner and Schmadeke clocked 1:01.72. Grundy Center was seeded 16th coming in.
Next up was the open 100 finals, where Schmadeke finished seventh in 11.80.
"It's hard to keep focused on one race after another," Schmadeke said. "I'm just happy with what we accomplished here as a team."
Not only was the three races in an hour a feat, Schmadeke was one of only three among all classes to qualify to run both the 100 and 110 hurdles at the start of the championships.
"It takes one tremendous kid with a huge heart. You won't know from his effort (in the 110 hurdles) that he had two other races before that," said Grundy Center head coach Brandon Krusey. "That was tough on him and he's just physically drained from the weekend, but that's the one he wanted the most out of everything we did down here.
"He was big on getting some other kids down here to compete with him and we got that done with the shuttle and ran in the finals."
Second place in the 110s went to Earlham's Brett Tomlinson in 15.32, Jordan Langel of Gehlen Catholic was third (15.64) and district rival Austin Groth of GMG was fourth (15.71).
"Run fast, that was it," Schmadeke said. "I just had to do whatever it took to win and I was able to get the job done."
Schmadeke had a breakthrough 14.50 clocking at Dike in mid-April.
"My coaches really believed in me and that gave me some confidence," Schmadeke said.
The Grundy Center senior then followed with a spot in the finals at the Drake Relays. After battling a stress fracture his junior year and seeing the shuttle hurdle team being denied state by less than a second as a freshman and sophomore, he was able to bring home a state title.
"When he runs fast, he's got tremendous starts," Krusey said. "He really got out quick and hung on. To me it all comes down to that first hurdle that he hits."
The GMG senior Groth landed his fourth-place medal in the 110 hurdles with his 15.71 clocking.
"I hit some hurdles again and the wind played a little bit of a factor too, but it went all right," Groth said.
"I'm happy. I came in top three, but fourth's good too."
In the Class 1A girls' races on the track on Saturday, Zoe Johanns of Grundy Center was 18th in the 1,500 in 5:18.21. Jessica Lippert of AGWSR finished 23rd (2:34.27) and Abbie Delagardelle of Grundy Center 24th (2:38.81) in the 800.