DES MOINES — Top competitors come through under pressure. Sarah Kalkhoff proved one more time Thursday she is a top competitor in the Iowa Class 4A discus.
The Newton High senior had the top throw going into the finals of the 4A state discus event — 132 feet, 11 inches. The other seven finalist had to chase her. Clinton junior Erika Hammond was one inch behind Kalkhoff at 132-10.
Hammond reeled off a throw of 135-2 on her first attempt in the finals. Kalkhoff was up next.
“Usually under pressure, I throw well or lift well. That was what I needed to get that throw in,” Kalkhoff said after defending her 4A state championship in the discus at the 2015 Iowa High School Track and Field Championships at Drake University.
Kalkhoff answered Hammond’s challenge with a throw of 139-2. Hammond did mark a 136-9 throw on her next trip into the ring, but that was as close as anyone came to Kalkhoff, the 2015 Iowa Class 4A discus champion.
“To end my senior season with a second state title is tremendous and to come here and represent the Newton Cardinals is great,” Kalkhoff said.
Kalkhoff said she didn’t throw a personal-best Thursday, but “this will do.” It was a season’s best throw for the senior. Kalkhoff won the 2014 title with a school-record throw of 140-11.
“I felt I had a really good throw at district considering the weather conditions. It doesn’t bother me not being the top thrower coming into competitions. It just means I have room to grow and improve,” Kalkhoff said. “I decided it was my senior season and have some fun with it.”
Kalkhoff, who will compete for Minnesota State next year, had fun with her senior season. She rolled up win after win in the discus ring. Kalkhoff won the Newton Cardinal Invitational and Cardinal Relays titles. She is a three-time Little Hawkeye Conference champion in the discus and had back-to-back 4A district titles.
“It was really fun to have my dad (Dave Kalkhoff) as my coach. I miss my team from last year, but we had a good team this year, and I made some good friends. To spend my senior season with my dad and my mom (Lorraine) coming out to support me has been special,” Kalkhoff said.
Kalkhoff is back in the throwing ring Friday at the state meet — her first in the shot put event. She said she wants to medal, throwing the best she can to finish up the season. Kalkhoff said she struggled a bit in the shot in the later part of the regular season.
“I’m excited about the shot put. Whatever happens, happens.”
On the track Thursday, Newton junior Grace Coen turned in an 11th-place time of 10 minutes, 48.96 seconds in the 4A 3,000 meters. She is slated to run in the 800 and 1,500 races Saturday at Drake Stadium.
Sydney Jenkins, a junior, ran in the 200-meter dash preliminaries, finishing 22nd in 27.14 seconds. She did not advance to the final.
Newton’s shuttle hurdle relay team of junior Fran Lucas and freshmen Alexis Stout, Liz McVey and Morgann Eide posted a time of 1:10.36. The Cardinal foursome was 17th and did not move into the finals.
Also Friday, Newton’s girls compete in the distance medley relay final and the 4x400 relay preliminaries.
Newton High senior Deonne Harris, the lone Cardinal boy qualified for the state meet, runs the 110-meter high hurdle preliminaries at 3:20 p.m. The finals are at 12:45 p.m. Saturday. Harris also runs in the 400 hurdle finals Friday.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at 641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org