STATE TRACK: GMG’s Appelgate almost a 1A high jump medalist

DES MOINES – Most athletes at Drake Stadium are looking for any way to speed up.

For GMG’s Caitlin Appelgate, it was all about slowing down.

Making her state debut, the junior reached a height of 5 feet in the high jump to place ninth overall in Friday’s Class 1A session at the Iowa Co-Ed State Track Meet at Drake Stadium.

After missing the first two jumps at her final height, Appelgate steadied herself by taking a moment to pause and get back into her routine.

“I wasn’t doing what I usually do because I get nervous when I miss and then it gets in my head,” Appelgate said of her first two misses at five feet.

“My coach tells me to get back in my usual mindset and do what I usually do. … Sometimes I speed up too much or I’m not throwing my arms back or my head. I fixed those.”

Grundy Center’s Heather Hook finished 12th at a height of 4-10 and also anchored the Spartan’s 17th place 4×200, which turned in a season-best time of one minute, 52.86 seconds. Hook joined Jessica Ackerson, Riley Ackerman and Sam Meyers – thought it took awhile before Grundy Center found the right combination for state.

“We didn’t really have the same people (run this) throughout the season,” said Ackerman.

“When we finally started running with each other we got more comfortable. Today we really connected with each other and all our handoffs were good.”

Grundy Center’s distance medley quartet of Ackerson, Meyers, Hannah Stumberg and Piper Johanns clocked a time of 4:32.31 to place 20th. AGWSR’s Katie Gast, Kristen Zacharias, Erie Siems and Jessica Lippert were three spots back in a time of 4:33.17.

The Spartans wrapped up the day by taking 20th in the 4×400 prelims as Stumberg, Johanns, Riley Ackerman and Kayla Mathews came through in 4:21.45.

Kendall Scurr, Jorie Oaks, Haley Veldhouse and Reeba Box of BCLUW took 20th in the 4×200 clocking 1:54.24. The Comets broke away from their usual lineup by switching Box, a senior, to the final leg.

“This is my last race and this is my last season – we just felt like we should,” Box said of taking over the anchor spot.

Colo-NESCO sophomores Devin Francis and Sam Riese both competed in the discus. Francis placed 13th with a throw of 102 feet, 11 inches, though Riese did not place after fouling on all three attempts.