DES MOINES — Clarke senior Sarah Pate accomplished something she never even dreamed she would accomplish when she competed in the high school girls discus at the Drake Relays here on Thursday.
Pate ended up finishing fourth in the discus competition, launching a throw of 133-2 on her third and final throw of the preliminary rounds.
“I’m really very proud of the fourth place in discus,” Pate said, “because two years ago, I never even dreamed of being at Drake in discus, or even state.”
Pate had already assured herself of a spot in finals with her second throw of the day, which went 131-8, and broker her own personal best and school record.
That’s when she stepped into the throwing ring for her final attempt of prelims, and delivered yet another personal best and school record throw.
“Absolutely thrilled with it,” head coach Renee Henry said. “She came out and broke her personal best and then did it again 10 minutes later. It was a very, very awesome day. She performed even better than we thought she would.”
Pate, who had fouled on her first attempt in prelims, earned three more throws in finals.
But, none of those throws surpassed her mark of 133-2. That mark was good enough to edge out Vicky Kapnisis’s first throw of 133-0 for fourth place.
“We knew she’d already had a good throw this year, and we knew she had a good shot to place in that, but fourth place is better than I thought she would,” Henry said. “Some girls were really throwing it out there.”
Kingsley-Pierson’s Kiana Phelps broke the Drake Relays record in the event, winning with a throw of 153-4.
Pate followed her fourth-place performance in the discus with another solid showing in the Drake Relays shot put competition on Friday morning.
Her first throw of day, 39-3.25, was good enough to advance Pate into the finals of the competition.
Pate fouled on her second attempt in prelims and then got a mark of 38-0.75 on her third and final attempt.
During warmups for finals, Pate had what looked like her farthest throw of the day, which was an encouraging sign heading into finals.
On her first throw of finals, Pate launched a throw of 40-10, which is her best throw of the season so far, and was good enough to place her fourth in the shot put competition.
“Third might have been a little bit better,” Pate said. “It’s my best one this season. Not quite as good as the past few seasons, but best so far, so happy with that. I just wish I had one of my warmup throws back, because it was a bit better than that. I’m going to guess it was about 41 feet, somewhere around there.”
Davis County sophomore Katie Birchmier finished third with a throw of 41-0.25
“Far beyond anything I thought she would do,” Henry said, describing Pate’s shot put performance. “Her throws have not been the furthest this year. We haven’t had very many meets to compete. This is way better. She blew my expectations out of the water for the day.”
Clarke senior Logan Weers finished third in heat two of the high school boys 110 meter high hurdles, running 15.63.
That time placed Weers 14th overall.
“I thought his race was OK,” Clarke boys head coach James Larson said. “Definitely not what we expected and what he wanted, but the fact he made it back to Drake and finished 14th overall, I think we should be pretty happy with it.”
Weers looked to be running a strong race in the middle portion of the race, as famed Drake Relays announcer Mike Jay announced his name over the speakers, noting that he was looking strong in lane six.
But Weers hit the last hurdle hard, losing time at the very end of the race.
“When I first saw him, I thought he hit the first hurdle,” Larson said. “I think he hit a few hurdles here and there, and if he didn’t hit those, what might have happened? But, I think he might have gotten a better time.”
Weers defeated every other Class 2A competitor in the field with his 14th place finish, which provides him with a confidence boost heading into the final stretch of the season leading up to the state meet.
Larson said even though the race didn’t go as well as Weers had hoped, he still thought it was a good experience for him.
“We’ve only had so many meets and it’s nice to maybe get beat before we get to state, so it pushes him a little bit more,” Larson said. “I don’t think it was bad for him, and hopefully it helps push him a little bit more.”
Murray junior Kate Patton finished 20th in the girls 100 meter dash, running a time of 13.24.
The time was off of Patton’s best time of the season —12.55 — which qualified her with the sixth-best time in the state going into the Drake Relays.
But Murray girls head coach Kyle Eckermann said Patton did not get a very good start out of the blocks, which is unusual for her.
“She was a little slow out of the blocks and that cost her. In a short race like that, it’s hard to catch up with people,” he said. “The night before we were up at Van Meter and she got disqualified for a false start, so I think that was in her head that this is her one chance and she didn’t want to get disqualified.”
Even though Patton may not have met her own expectations for the race, Eckermann said it was still a good experience for her.
“I know she was happy to be up there,” he said. “A little disappointed in how she ran, but still glad she made it. It was a good experience. A lot better competition than some of the meets we go to sometimes. Now she has something to look forward to with state coming up in the next couple of weeks.”
Central Decatur junior Caitlyn Saxton finished 32nd overall with a time of 13.79.
The Intersate 35 girls 4x100 relay team of Maddie Albers, Jenna Sandquist, Natalie Johnson and Ellen Lupkes finished 62nd overall, running 52.49.
“Being our second year in a row to qualify for this event at Drake, we had lofty goals,” I-35 head coach Desman Oakley said. “We wanted to win our heat and break a school record. Although neither of those goals were achieved, the cliche goals of having fun and running hard were easily accomplished.”
The school record the Roadrunners were shooting for is 51.83.
“Since we’ve qualified for two consecutive years, the girls are thinking this is commonplace,” Oakley said. “The reality of it spreads throughout the community, and as a coach, this is music to my ears. At this year’s Relays, we made a goal to qualify three events to Drake Relays 2014.”