DES MOINES — It took a while for her to reach full speed.
Then, less than a minute later, it took a moment for the magnitude to set in.
Anamosa junior Olivia Loy dethroned two-time defending champion Maddie Irmen of Davenport Assumption in the Class 3A girls 400-meter dash at the state track and field meet Thursday at Drake Stadium.
“It feels amazing, yes,” she said. “I didn’t know that she was the defending champion until the announcer said so before the race.”
Loy was clocked in 57.16 seconds, giving Anamosa its first girls champion in about two decades.
She wasn’t the fastest one out of the blocks. But she built speed, caught the field, then pulled away. Irmen was second in 57.94.
“That’s just the way I do it,” Loy said. “It’s so I avoid running out of gas.”
Five events are in the books, and MOC-Floyd Valley is the 3A girls leader with 24 points. Heavily favored Assumption is next with 21, followed by Dubuque Wahlert (20) and Union (18).
Like Loy, Solon’s Lauren Benzing moved her way through the crowd throughout her race. Benzing was the 3,000-meter runner-up, finishing in 10:29.58. Anna Holdiman of Waverly-Shell Rock won it in 10:11.83.
“It was really hot, so it became more of a tactical race,” said Benzing, a senior bound for Iowa State. “I wanted to hold back a little the first couple laps.”
It was the best state finish for Benzing.
“I hope it gives our team a boost,” she said.
Union’s Maria Wrage also earned second place, clearing 5 feet, 4 inches in the high jump.
“I started out the season really well, then I kind of struggled a little,” she said. “My calves had been bothering me, but the trainer worked it out, and I’ve been pushing through it.”
Sammy Ellingson of Washington (Iowa) was third, also clearing 5-4.