DES MOINES — A group of young Clarke track and field athletes gained valuable experience here last weekend at the Co-ed State Track Meet, and in the process, raised the bar for next year's expectations.
"Their excitement when they came out onto the track yesterday, when they just saw it, they'd never even been here," Clarke girls track coach Renee Henry said. "Their excitement was overwhelming to me, it gave me goosebumps. I love seeing that. To place so high with such a young group, I'm excited. We did great this year."
Leading the way for Clarke was sophomore Alexis Barr in the high jump.
Barr cleared 5-0 and took three solid attempts at 5-2, easily having cleared the bar on each attempt, but just clipping the bar with her heels on the way down on all three attempts.
The Clarke school record holder in the event finished in a five-way tie for eighth place, having not missed an attempt until 5-2.
"She's kind of disappointed with the result, but nerves have a lot to do with things like that," Henry said. "In this arena, it takes a lot to just settled everything down and get it. She'll be back next year, so we'll get that."
Freshman Bailey Zimmerman finished 12th overall in the 100 hurdles with her time of 16.55.
"She came in 17th and finished 12th," Henry said. "She's run better than that, but as a freshman, to be 12th overall, there's no complaints there. She's just going to get better and stronger next year. And we're looking forward to Solanna (Zimmerman) being in there, too."
The Zimmerman twins, along with Allyssa May and Bronwyn Miller teamed to take 17th place in the Class 2A shuttle hurdle relay.
That group also improved on their seeding and ran a season's best time of 1:10.84.
"Every single one of them had very good splits," Henry said. "My senior, Allyssa May, ran the fastest split that she has ever all four years. She went out with a bang, so I was so proud of that."
The Clarke boys may not have performed as well as they had hoped in their events, but head coach James Larson knows the experience of competing at the state meet will pay off for sophomores Rich Wilkins and Kooper Brimm.
"I think one is they're going to be disappointed, so I think they're going to work that much harder in the offseason to prove to themselves and prove to everyone else that they did belong here," Larson said.
"I think they can hopefully be our leaders next year and set an example, this is what state is like, this is what you need to put in. Hopefully they can get everyone on board and get going."
Brimm finished 21st in the discus with a throw of 125-1, while Wilkins tied for 23rd in the high jump with a clearance of 5-8.
"I know they both had a blast," Larson said. "It wasn't very long, but I know they both enjoyed it. I think maybe the jitters got to them just a little bit. I know both Koop and Rich enjoyed it. I'm proud of them and they should be proud of themselves, as well."