STATE TRACK: Arment, Oden bring home top-10 finishes

DES MOINES – Most track and field athletes get an entire season and several meets to hone their skills, fix their mistakes and put things together for one final chance at a state championship.

Marshalltown’s Brady Arment had just two chances. And it didn’t matter much.

The Bobcat junior jumped for the first time at the state qualifying meet at Linn-Mar last week and then put in his second performance Thursday at the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.

Both times, Arment was able to turn some heads. The latter result was a ninth-place tally and a personal-best-tying jump of 6 feet, 2 inches. That is the same height he cleared at the state-qualifying meet when he advanced to state after a runner-up finish.

“I am happy. I tied my personal best,” Arment said. “I really wanted to get passed it, but I need to work on getting more speed and work on my steps. I will work in the offseason to get stronger and hopefully I can win the whole thing next year.”

MHS senior Eisha Oden failed to qualify for the finals of the 200-meter dash, taking 10th overall in the preliminaries with a time of 26.27 seconds. The top eight finishers during three preliminary heats advance.

“It went good. I wanted a better time though,” said Oden, whose best time is 25.99 and that ranks sixth in MHS history. “I am hoping it was fast enough. I feel good about how I ran. My start was good. I didn’t pump my arms enough though.”

MHS girls coach Chad Pietig said the sprint races usually come down a few tenths here and a few tenths there. That was no different with Oden and the rest of the field Thursday.

“It came down a few tenths of a second like it usually does,” Pietig said. “It was her second-fastest race of her life and you can’t fault her for the effort. She’s disappointed but she’ll soon realize the kind of career she had at Marshalltown. There is nothing to be ashamed of about a 10th place finish.”

Maddison Wignall also competed Thursday, throwing in the discus and finishing in 22nd with a toss of 100-5. She scratched her first two throws before marking with her final toss in her first-ever state meet.

“She threw three foot further to get a personal best to even be here, so it was a good experience for her in her senior year,” Pietig said. “You don’t get a lot of warm up throws here like you do at normal meets. And it took a few throws for her to get going.”

The girls 4×800 relay team ran on the blue oval with Oden on Thursday but fell to the back of the pack on the final leg and finished in 24th with a time of 10:20.17. That team featured sophomore Rachel Blagg, junior Victoria Jones, junior Michaela Huey and senior Emma Runquist.

“This relay team just came together in the final few weeks,” Pietig said. “And Emma started way down on the depth chart but injuries moved her up. She was excited when I told her that this team would have a chance to qualify, and it was a dream come true for her to be down there. We got to reward a senior who has given a lot to our program and got valuable experience for three runners who will be back with us next year.”

Arment passed on the opening height of 5-8 and then cleared 5-10 and 6-0 on his first jumps. He needed all three jumps to move past 6-2 and then failed to clear 6-4 with three more attempts. The winning jump was from Burlington’s Justin Randall. He hit 6-8 and Cedar Falls’ Kalund Brown took second at 6-5.

“There’s a lot of good people here,” said Arment, who was competing at state for the first time. “You can’t let the nerves get to you. You have to be confident. I try not to think about it. I was thinking about it being just another meet. I am happy with how I did though.”

The final qualifying time in the 200 was 25.87 from Waukee’s Talia Buss. Oden went 1-2 against Buss in head-to-head competition this year and moved to 0-3 against Dowling Catholic’s Jessica Campbell, who entered the state meet with the top time in the state. Campbell qualified third with a time of 25.24. The fastest two qualifying times were recorded by Des Moines Roosevelt duo Jalynn Roberts-Lewis (25.02) and Agnes Sayeh (25.21).

Wignall came into the meet as the final at-large spot in the field. She jumped over two throwers Thursday. Waukee’s Erin Bramble won the meet with a toss of 138-11 and Newton’s Sarah Kalkhoff was second at 133-11.

Pedro Gomez will throw in the shot put today at 11:30 a.m. while the girls 4×200 relay runs in a preliminary heat at 10:50 a.m. and the 4×400 team tries to qualify for Saturday’s final at 1:20 p.m. Blagg also will run in the 800 on Saturday morning.

“Hopefully Rachel learned something from her run today,” Pietig said. “I think she was kind of shocked at how fast the girls got out on that first leg of the 4×800. You can’t do that. Everyone here is fast. You can’t take a moment off.”