DES MOINES — In the past several weeks, Jesup’s runners could be seen carving fresh routes through the town’s streets, or hopping in their cars to practice at nearby Independence.
The J-Hawks roamed anywhere to run except their home track, which…
“We don’t have a track, but that’s fine,” said Jesup 3,200-meter relay anchor Lindsey Kite.
They do, however, have a fully-constructed trophy case, which Kite and the J-Hawks added to by holding off top-seeded and defending 3,200 relay champion North Linn in Thursday’s Class 1A state track and field meet at Drake Stadium.
Jesup, last year’s 2A champ, finished in 9:40.19.
And they won’t be track-less for long.
Their old dirt track has been torn up to make way for a shiny new surface that will be ready next fall.
A similarly upgraded football field is slated to be usable as early as next month — thanks to scrap metal drives, 5K fundraisers and numerous donors who put significant money into the project.
“The community definitely came up around us and pitched in a lot,” said J-Hawk Piper Thomas, who kicked off the 3,200. “It’s kind of — it’s good to win this and show then, like, why they’re helping. You pay for our track, we’ll win the (3,200), I guess.”
The Lynx ended up second in a time of 9:43.
North Linn anchor Nicole Miller slightly outkicked Kite (2:16 to 2:17) on the final leg, but it wasn’t enough to lead to a repeat state title.
“We can’t be mad at each other,” said Maddie Boer, who ran the second leg for the Lynx. “We ran our race. We got our PR for the year. … We knew it was going to be a tough race and they just came out on top this time.”
Kite said numerous previous battles with Miller steeled her for Thursday’s final 800-meter leg.
Miller nearly pulled even after the first lap, but Kite — who won two titles last year — churned up a patch of daylight on the backstretch that held up.
“She started to go so I had to go with her,” Kite said. “if I really wanted it, I would have to keep going; just override the fatigue, don’t think about it. Just keep running and it worked, it paid off.
Starmont’s Chelsea Berry just kept jumping all season, despite enduring a left ankle injury in the season opener.
Thursday, the now two-time 1A state long jump champion set a personal best by leaping 17 feet, 11 inches into the Drake Stadium sand pit.
“I was a little nervous coming in just because I’ve been battling with my ankle all year,” said Berry, who jumped 17-10 to claim gold last season. “But I felt confident and ready to go.”
Berry said the pain she felt after the ankle injury didn’t cause immediate, deep concern.
So she didn’t wrap it.
“So I hurt it again,” Berry said. “But we finally figured out to wrap it. Now it’s been doing good.”
A number of teams did well Thursday, including Sibley-Ocheyedan, with 18 points, and West Bend-Mallard and West Hancock, which scored 11 apiece. Jesup and Starmont stood in a four-way tie for fourth with 10 points.