DRAKE RELAYS: Boomgarden, Appelgate both top-10 in high jump

DES MOINES – Sarah Boomgarden can’t seem to get over the hump at the Drake Relays.

Coming in with a qualifying jump of 5 foot, 3 inches, the South Hardin junior once again fell short of that mark Thursday at Drake Stadium.

Finishing seventh in the field of 24 should help ease some of the frustration though.

Bettering her position by seven spots from the previous Relays, Boomgarden also improved her height by an inch, closing out her third Drake Relays with a leap of 5-2 on her third and final attempt. She ended up in a three-way tie for seventh with Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont’s Tasha Alexander and Earlham’s Addie Herman.

“It was better than last year so I am happy with how I performed,” said Boomgarden. “It was a tough field.”

GMG’s Caitlin Appelgate also cleared 5-2 on her final attempt and wound up in a three-way tie for 10th based on misses. She was 12th a year ago with the same exact mark.

“I would have liked to have cleared 5-3 but I am happy with 5-2,” said Appelgate, who also jumped at the state meet last year.

MOC-Floyd Valley’s Alexis Conaway successfully defended her Drake Relays title with a winning leap of 5-5. Two other jumpers – Hinton’s Kasey Reuter and Union’s Maria Wrage – cleared 5-5 but Conaway won the title with less misses.

Reuter ended up second and Wrage, who will be in Boomgarden’s 2A district next month, was third. Dijana Hammond of East Sac County and Brooke Runneberg of Laurens-Marathon both cleared 5-3 and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Boomgarden was tied for fourth among the 2A jumpers Thursday. She took second at the state meet last year but knows the route this year could be tougher.

“Obviously Wrage is a great jumper, and I will see her at districts,” said Boomgarden. “I have seen her before and hopefully next time I can do a little better. I am excited for districts though.”

Appelgate ended up third among 1A leapers. Runneberg led the field, while Herman tied Boomgarden in seventh.

“I really don’t pay attention to who is in 1A,” said Appelgate. “I know some of them but not all of them. I feel like I held my own today though.”

Appelgate missed around 24 days this season with mononucleosis and an ankle injury. That is not an excuse, according to GMG coach Jon Reed, but it may have played a factor in her performance Thursday.

“Being a senior, she wanted to do a little bit better. She is a huge competitor and will use this to prepare herself for the state meet,” said Reed. “It’s hard to tell. We won’t make excuses for anything. She had 14 days of inactivity and then missed another 10 days with mono and an ankle injury. Based on those things, I think she performed well today.”

Notebook

Both Appelgate and Boomgarden made opening height (5-0) on their first attempts. That immediately moved them into the top 20 as six jumpers failed to clear the opening mark. Boomgarden came into the meet tied for 10th overall, while Appelgate was tied for 20th. Appelgate was 12th last year at the Drake Relays, while Boomgarden was 14th. The two-time defending Drake Relays champion Conaway also was a first-team all-state volleyball player and Miss Iowa Basketball.