DES MOINES, Ia. – At last year’s Drake Relays, the Clear Creek Amana shuttle hurdle relay team put itself in the conversation of the state’s elite with a third-place finish.
This season, the Clippers showed it wasn’t a fluke.
Clear Creek Amana reached the four-team finals of the event for the second straight year on Saturday finishing fourth in a time of 1:06.88 on a wet and cold day at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“It meant a lot for us to get back to the finals and prove ourselves, we wanted to try our best and if fourth is our best we are happy with that,” Clear Creek Amana senior anchor Natalie Brimeyer said. “That is a great honor to be fourth in this event.”
Clear Creek was the only non-Class 4A team to reach the final as Mount Pleasant, the state-leader entering the event, and Class 2A West Branch just missed the finals cut.
Waukee won its third shuttle hurdle relay title in the past four years with a time of 1:03.55 edging runner-up Pleasant Valley and defending Drake Relays champion Urbandale.
“For us to compete with all these 4A schools is a huge honor,” Brimeyer said. “They really push us and we see what we are made out of.”
A year ago, Clear Creek Amana finished third at Drake behind Waukee and Urbandale.
The Clippers returned three members of that relay that that added a runner-up finish at the 3A state meet.
Brimeyer and fellow senior Mia Smith returned along with junior Corrine Schwarting, while junior Megan Lukas replaced the lone senior on last year’s team Celine Fender.
Clear Creek Amana hasn’t skipped a beat this season and has the third fastest time in the state this season at 1:05.97.
“We weren’t worried but losing someone out of a four-person race is a big,” Brimeyer said. “Megan Lukas was our alternate last year and she stepped up and did phenomenal job so to make it back to the finals here is a big deal for us.”
The West Branch four-some of Paige Miller, Abby Knoop, Megan Tadlock and Maddy Russell just missed a finals spot finishing at 1:07.41 in a rain-soaked preliminary heat.
• STRONG DEBUT: West High freshman Bailey Nock completed a strong weekend at Drake with an 11th place finish in the 1,500 in 4:48.81.
Nock posted career-best times in all three of her events at Drake over the weekend, adding personal best performances in the 800 and 3,000.
• RELAY UPDATE: The West High 4×800 relay team of Noah Brase, Ian McGillicuddy, Josh Jense and Derek Nugent finished seventh in a time of 8:05.4.
West High won the 4×800 in 2013 and finished fourth last year.
The West High girls 4×400 squad of Tia Saunders, Micaela Gravelin, Bailey Nock and Valerie Welch clocked a 4:05.86 to finish sixth.
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.