DES MOINES — Five Collins-Maxwell/Baxter athletes competed at the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships on Thursday.
All five Raiders had bittersweet moments.
Sophomore Will Clapper and senior Brady Kemp have had better days inside the shot put ring. Sophomore Sailor Hinegardner knows she could have performed better in the long jump.
And senior Heather Jessen and sophomore Brenna Thomson got one last chance to run together in the 3,000-meter run.
The best finish on the day was Hinegardner’s 16th-place tally. Clapper was 18th in his event and Jessen was two positions in front of Thomson in 19th in the 3,000.
It was the final time all five athletes will don a Raider track and field uniform. They all just wish they could have performed to their best.
“It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I didn’t have high expectations coming in, but I did want to make finals. I still have next year though,” Hinegardner said.
Next year, she will be a Baxter Bolt. So will Thomson and Clapper.
Thomson was just happy to be able to run one last race with her long-time training partner.
“I was super happy to get this last opportunity to run with Heather,” Thomson said. “I wanted to be a part of her last race. We train together and we run together. This was a great way for us to end our season.”
Jessen won the 3,000 at the Raiders’ state qualifier. She knew she would get one last race on the blue oval. The experience was even better when she found out she would be joined one final time by Thomson.
“She’s my running partner. We do everything together and we usually finish really close together,” Jessen said. “I was so happy to find out that she made it. It was a great feeling.”
Hinegardner scratched two of her three preliminary attempts in the long jump. She finished 16th overall when her only marked jump went 15 feet, 6 1/4 inches.
“I scratched twice mostly because I was so pumped to be here,” Hinegardner said.
Clapper finished 18th in a shot put event that featured three 60-foot throwers for the first time in state track and field meet history. His first two throws were marked at 45-4 and 46-4 3/4.
“I wish I would have thrown a little better,” Clapper said. “It stinks, too, because my best throw this year would have been good enough to make finals.”
Kemp placed 20th overall in the shot put. His first throw hit 46-9 and his second throw was a foul. His best toss on the day was 47-1 3/4.
“It was just an off day. It just wasn’t all there. My goal was to make finals, but ending my career at state is not a bad way to go out,” Kemp said.
“It’s a bittersweet taste. I knew I had the ability to get into the finals with some of my throws this year. It all depends on the day. We just didn’t have it today.”
Clapper was a Drake Relays qualifier and a state meet participant for the first time in his young career. To take the next step, a few things need to be tweaked.
“I actually am going to take some lessons from Chase Madison,” Clapper said. “He was a really good thrower from Newton. He is one of the best to come through our area. Hopefully he’ll get me over the hump.”
Jessen and Thomson both personal-best times in their final race together. Jessen placed 19th overall with a personal-best time of 11 minutes. 29.50 seconds. Thomson’s personal-best time of 11:34.68 gave her a 21st place finish.