DRAKE RELAYS: STC’s Kalinay clips last hurdle in preliminaries

DES MOINES – Dylan Kalinay didn’t get the start he wanted, though ultimately it was his finish that hampered his hopes of advancing to the 110-meter high hurdle finals Friday.

With one last barrier separating Kalinay from the finish line, the South Tama County senior felt his right leg give out as he stumbled into the final hurdle, halting all of his momentum.

Kalinay entered Drake Stadium with the fourth-fastest qualifying time of 14.42 seconds though his late mishap sent him back to sixth in his heat, 25th overall and a clocking of 15.56 at the 105th Drake Relays.

“Right before I hit the last (hurdle) my knee kind of buckled a little bit and I don’t know, I lost my balance and I hit it,” Kalinay said. “(The start) felt slow just because everyone was ahead of me right off the bat.”

Nearly everything else went according to plan until the end.

“It felt perfect the whole way,” Kalinay said. “I could see myself ahead of everyone else, I just hit the last one.”

Only Des Moines Roosevelt’s Sydne Davis was able to best Kalinay’s qualifying time with a 14.40 in the opening heat, while Davenport Central’s Jayvon Mathews posted the second-best split of 14.51. Kole Butler of Iowa City High sealed up the last spot in the finals in 15.02.

South Tama coach George Kuhter said the race marked Kalinay’s first time going over a hurdle in two weeks after the senior injured his right hip flexor at Oskaloosa on April 12.

“He started out strong and got over the first eight hurdles really well and then 9 and 10, his leg just buckled a little bit and he tripped,” Kuhter said. “He still ran a good time for almost falling down.”

Leading up to Drake, Kuhter shut down Kalinay from doing any hurdle workouts since the injury, though the senior showed some extra burst in the 100 prelims.

Owning the 16th-fastest split, Kalinay improved six spots and finished just four-hundredths of a second out of the finals after hitting the line in 11.34.

Dowling Catholic’s Rico Gafford led the field with the lone sub-11 time of 10.81, while two-tenths separated the next seven runners between Iowa City High’s Bryson Runge (11.10) and Cray Washington of Fort Dodge (11.30).

“(Dylan) kind of had the disappointment of the hurdles hanging over his head but he ran a really good race,” Kuhter said. “He’s one of the 10 fastest kids in the state, you can’t argue with that at all.”

Kalinay didn’t have a specific time he was shooting for, but instead was focused on the competition at hand.

“I didn’t have a set time because there’s almost always a headwind here so I just wanted to place in the top half,” said Kalinay, who placed third in his heat. “It felt pretty good. I didn’t beat the top guys ahead of me but I stayed pretty close and that feels good because these are some of the top guys in the state.”

Though frustrated with his hurdles finish, Kalinay believes it will be a great motivator for the state meet. And he won’t be the only top 3A hurdler looking for redemption as Solon’s Connor Ham fell in the final heat of the 110 hurdles.

“The other 3A leader (Ham) – the only one that’s ahead of me – also fell down so we’re both going to have a heck of a meet at state.”