DES MOINES — Stepping into the starting blocks and the throwing ring, Newton juniors Deonne Harris and Sarah Kalkhoff had the same thoughts — make the finals. Make the finals they did, on a sunny Friday morning at the 2014 Drake Relays, and both earned medals in their respective events.
Harris, who narrowly missed the finals of the 110-meter high hurdles a year ago, overcame two “bad starts” on the day to captured the fourth-place medal in the high school boys’ 110-meter hurdles. Harris ran second in his heat race at 14.70 then came back with a 14.55 in the final, beating the winner of his heat race.
Kalkhoff claimed her second straight sixth-place medal at the Drake Relays in the high school girls’ discus. She admitted it wasn’t her best day of throwing. Kalkhoff used her second throw of the finals to solidify sixth at 127 feet, 3 inches.
“I didn’t throw as well as I wanted to but sixth place at Drake Relays is not bad,” Kalkhoff said. “The top 24 in the state come to Drake and I’m pretty happy. You always want to do your best.”
Kalkhoff said she never has good warm-up throws and “everyone has an off day. So, my off day I was sixth at Drake Relays.” Kalkhoff, who holds the NHS girls’ discus record at 135’8”, said her ultimate goal this season is to throw 140 feet.
“I just need to peak at state. That’s the ultimate time to peak,” Kalkhoff said.
“What an adrenaline rush,” Harris said after the 110-meter hurdle final. “This is awesome. I’ve got goose bumps.
“My start was weak in both the final and the heat race. I felt really good in the heat race after the bad start I came on strong.”
Harris said he wants to qualify next year and place better.
“Qualify for state and place at state,” Harris said are the next goals for this season.
Also on Friday, Harris combined with juniors Jarom Williams, J.T. Thongvanh and senior Earl Kimmel for the Cardinal boys’ 4x100-meter relay team. The boys posted a time of 45.67 seconds, just a little more than their best time of the season, finishing 74th in the preliminary races. They did not advance to Saturday’s final.
Newton’s girls combined for their fastest time of the season, 52.17 seconds, in the 4x100-meter relay preliminary races Friday evening. The foursome of senior Kacy Cazett, sophomore Sydney Jenkins, senior Amber Karsten and junior Leela Spencer did not advance to the finals, finishing 62nd.
The Cardinal girls’ 4x200-meter relay team of Jenkins, sophomore Alex Hutchinson, Spencer and Karsten ran a fraction slower than their season’s best in the event final Friday afternoon. They ran the race in 1 minute, 48.73 seconds, finishing 22nd.
Grace Coen, sophomore, ran her best time of the season in the high school girls’ 800-meter race, 2:17.81, placing 13th. She returned to Drake Stadium Saturday for the 1,500-meter race, and was 14th in 4:49.06.