DES MOINES — Doing the work pays off for Zach Samson. The Collins-Maxwell/Baxter senior did something in his own words “not many people do.”
Going into Thursday afternoon’s 2014 Iowa Class 2A shot put event, Samson did not just have the top throw in the state. He was the defending state track meet champion.
Samson and CMB teammate Patrick Girard pushed into the eight spots of the finals. Samson used his final preliminary throw to gain the lead at 54 feet, 8 inches. Girard, a junior, was in sixth place after the preliminaries.
“I had heard the final throws of the last two throwers and knew I had won it,” Samson said. “Before I went up on the last throw, I decided to have some fun with it. I smiled a little bit at Coach (Neil Seales). He said go out a throw something big and I did.”
Samson claimed the gold medal on a throw of 56’6 1/2”. That was the exact same distance his brother, Danny, won a state championship in 2009.
“I just went with it as my last time throwing and just hang it out there. Coach preached all week ‘to get you one, get yourself to the finals, keep hanging it out there and get better,” Samson said after the competition. “That last one felt good when it left my hand and I could tell it was the best one of the day.”
Girard’s sixth-place throw traveld 51’4 1/2”.
“It’s not my best throw but I thought I performed pretty well here today,” Girard said. “It feels pretty good to get a medal. This is a great experience being here at state and throwing at Drake University.”
Samson eclipsed his brother, Danny, as the CMB shot put record holder this season, 58’1”. He placed third at the 2014 Drake Relays, won the Heart of Iowa Conference title and a 2A district title on his way back to the state meet.
“I have great coaches. I have some of the best coaches in the state. I’ve said that before about Coach Seals and Coach (Mike) Mullihan in coaching shot put and discus. They take you from the fundamentals up. You just don’t come out and throw 56 feet without a lot of hard work behind it.
“Winning state last year was special but this feels even better. Ending my career here with two state championships is something special that not many people do.”
CMB junior Bryce Kemp captured his first state medal in the long jump Thursday. A year ago, Kemp finished ninth — one place out of the medals — in the long jump.
“I didn’t jump well today but it is an improvement and I have one more year to come back and try again,” Kemp said following taking fifth on a leap of 20 feet, 11 inches. CMB teammate Zach Huffaker, a senior, finished 11th at 19’11’, in the event.
Kemp combined with seniors Jordan Coughenour and Austin Moorman and junior Joey Nissen to land a spot in Saturday’s final of the 2A 4x110-meter shuttle hurdle relay. The Raider foursome ran eighth in the preliminaries Thursday at 59.73 seconds.
Coughenour finished 22nd in the 400-meter dash final in 53.16 seconds. Junior Mark Deutsch placed 24th in the 3,200-meter run in 10 minutes, 58.17 seconds.
Also in Class 2A competition on the girls’ side, Prairie City-Monroe’s junior Rachel Peter ran 14th in the 3,000-meter race in 11:23.24. The PCM shuttle relay team of junior Rachel Gulling, senior Abbi Gilson and freshmen Kayla Jennings and Tatum Schnug finished 21st in 1:11.8, not advancing to the finals.
In the 2A girls’ shot put, PCM junior Grace Telfer was 16th at 34’6”, CMB sophomore Payge Jurgens was 18th at 34’5” and PCM’s Gilson placed 19th at 34’4”. Colfax-Mingo freshman Aranda Woods was 23rd in the long jump with a leap of 12’8 1/2”.
Junior Christia Veenstra of Pella Christian ran 11th in the 400-meter finals in 1:01:20. CMB sophomore Bridget Hurley placed 16th in 1:02.30 and PCM freshman Katie Vande Wall was 24th in 1:04.25.
LYNNVILLE-SULLY’s senior duo of Meliek Meyer and Bailee Samson dashed into the finals of the 100 meters and the 200 meters in Class 1A. Meyer posted the top qualifying time in the 100 at 10.96 seconds and Samson was seventh in the preliminary at 11.50. In the 200-meter preliminaries Thursday, Meyer ran second in 22.51 and Samson was fourth in 22.77.
Meyer and Samson run in the finals of those two sprints on Saturday at Drake Stadium.
Lynnville-Sully’s girls earned the eighth-place medal in the 1A 4x800-meter relay race Thursday, posting a time of 10:13.91. Members of the team were senior Tara Vos, juniors Cori Rice and Madison Rasmusson and sophomore Kasiah Ehresman.
Rasmusson turned around and ran the 400-meter dash finals, placing 17th in 1:03.01. Senior Alexa Vander Leest ran 18th in the 1A girls’ 3,000 meters in 11:28.58.
The Hawk boys’ 4x110-meter shuttle relay team of seniors Darin Hofer and Caden Doll, sophomore Noah Engle and freshman Caden Dunsbergen did not advance to the finals. The Hawks were 10th in the preliminaries at 1:02.15.
State meet action resumes today at Drake Stadium for area schools.