DES MOINES - The Mustangs distance medley knelt down in a circle on the Drake Stadium turf and bowed their heads.
Trying to avoid the sight of both the scoreboard and the final heat going on around them, the East Marshall girls finally rose back up and realized there was no reason to hang their heads after all.
Though its first section winning time of 4 minutes, 19.01 seconds didn't hang on for the win, the Mustangs' Theresa Hatch, Kelsea Anderson, Haley Fye and Paige Miller still walked away with a sixth place finish in Friday's Class 2A section of the Iowa Co-Ed State Track Meet.
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
East Marshall’s Kelsea Anderson, front, takes the baton from Theresa Hatch in the distance medley relay at the state meet Friday in Des Moines. The Mustangs won their heat and placed sixth overall in a time of 4:19.01.
"We didn't really want to watch the clock," Anderson said after her team posted the fastest time through the first two heats.
"We didn't want to jinx ourselves, we were really nervous."
Miller's nerves were a sense of fresh energy entering her first event of the day and the extra burst showed as she moved the Mustangs from third to first before pulling away down the home stretch.
"I'm so used to running this after I've run the 3,000 and the 4x800 so the entire time I was thinking, 'I haven't run anything all day, I should be able to run my fastest time," said Miller. "I was afraid they were going to pass me in the end so I just kicked in at the (final) 200."
Fye added a 10th place tally in the 400 hurdles coming through in 1:08.66, while Madisen Hinegardner was 16th in 1:10.46.
West Marshall persevered through a rough tumble midway through the 4x400 prelims, though it couldn't make up enough ground to move on to the finals. Sitting in third toward the end of its second leg, the Trojans' Shelby Larsen lost her footing within strides of handing off to Rachel Freland as the baton bounced loose. Larsen picked herself back up and passed on the baton to Freland though it was too great a deficit to make up as West Marshall placed 22nd in a time of 4:22.15. Sadie Simatovich ran the opening leg, while Victoria Pothast anchored.
Pothast will have another opportunity to represent the Trojans today in the 800.