June 19, 2024

Colfax-Mingo’s Hunsberger, Woods compete in high jump at state meet

Tigerhawk duo uses experience as springboard into next season

Grace Hunsberger

DES MOINES — Colfax-Mingo junior Xavier Woods went out early in the Class 2A high jump competition at the Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships on Friday.

He didn’t leave the high jump area though. Woods decided to watch the rest of the field and take it all in. Getting as much experience at the state level this season will only help him for next year when he hopes to return to Drake Stadium to compete in multiple events.

“I know what to expect now,” Woods said. “We watched the 4A high jumpers yesterday to get a feel for it. There are some really good jumpers here.”

Xavier Woods

Colfax-Mingo’s two state track and field qualifiers both competed in high jump on Friday. Sophomore Grace Hunsberger placed 15th in the 2A girls’ division, while Woods opened the day with a 22nd-place finish in the boys’ portion of the competition.

“I was happy with it, but sad I didn’t PR,” Hunsberger said. “I was hoping for top 10, but the experience was cool. I’m glad I got to be here as a sophomore. That wasn’t really in the plans at the beginning of the year.”

At the beginning of the season Hunsberger was the second-best jumper on her own team. As the year went on though, Hunsberger’s marks continued to climb and her best jumps of the season came in May.

She cleared two heights on Friday and her final mark of 5 feet, 0 inches moved her up the standings and into 15th. She cleared 4-10 on her first attempt and then went over 5-0 on her third and final try.

“She was barely clearing opening height last year,” Colfax-Mingo head girls track and field coach Zach Tomas said. “Got to 4-6 at the end of the year. She seemed to take a love to it and then got in the weight room, went to speed and agility stuff and even drug the mat out herself a ton. For her to get to this point, is a testament to her hard work for sure. I was impressed.”

Grace Hunsberger

The final placing position was 5-2 and Emmetsburg’s Rachel Schany won the state title with a leap of 5-4.

The Van Meter girls won the 2A team title with 63 points. That edged Pella Christian (60) at the top and Tipton (57) wasn’t far behind in third.

The 2A boys team race also was tight. Mediapolis won the title with 47 points, while Spirit Lake (43) edged South Hamilton (42) for second.

“I worked very hard in the offseason,” Hunsberger said. “That first meet wasn’t very good, but I just kept drilling. I didn’t get my form down until a few meets ago. That was my biggest issue. I’m hoping to work a lot on it in the offseason.”

Woods cleared opening height of 5-11 on his third and final attempt. It was his only make of the day, but he’s still dealing with shin splints he’s been working through since the middle part of the season.

“I just knew I had to clear opening height on that last attempt or that was it. It was time to do it,” Woods said. “(The shin splints) have affected me. I haven’t been able to get back over 6-0 since I cleared 6-2.

“It’s completely different. I could never imagine the feeling of what this actually feels like to compete here.”

Xavier Woods

The eighth and final state medal went to Manson-NW Webster’s Matt Condon, who cleared 6-2. Albia’s Ryan Little won the state title with a leap of 6-9.

“Xavier had great clearance on his final 6-1 attempt that would have advanced him at the next couple of heights,” Colfax-Mingo head boys track and field coach Matt Barkalow said. “State was a super experience for him, and it’s exciting he’ll return in 2025, where he should be a multi-event state qualifier.”