Hurdles and then what?
That’s the question West High sophomore Valerie Welch has been debating for the past two weeks.
Welch got her answer to that question, and a pair of state medals, on Friday.
Welch ran a strong 400-meter leg to help the West High distance medley relay team to a runner-up finish in a season-best time of 4:07.14 at the Class 4A state track and field meet at Des Moines’ Drake Stadium.
Later she added a sixth-place finish in the 400 hurdles in a time of 1:05.41.
“These past few weeks it’s just been coach and I trying to decide what my fourth event would be,” Welch said. “We went with distance medley because we thought we had a real shot of winning so this felt good.”
A state qualifier in each of the three hurdling events, Welch and West High coach Mike Parker have tried to settle on a fourth event for the sophomore.
She ran a leg on the 4×800 relay at districts, but settled on the 400 leg of the distance medley this week at state.
Welch teamed with Micaela Gravelin, Tia Saunders and Bailey Nock on Friday to finish behind winner Linn-Mar (4:04.47).
“We definitely thought that we could contend for first,” Saunders said. “We ran a different order this time and I thought we ran really hard. It’s a little tough that we didn’t beat Linn-Mar but they are a really good team so second place is good.”
Welch pulled West High into second place during her 400 leg and Nock held off Ankeny Centenial’s Megan Gray in the final 100 meters to secure the second-place finish.
“Bailey is our finisher,” Welch said. “If someone is coming for Bailey, she’s not going to let them pass her.”
SICK TIME: Like most people, Regina’s Jack Edeker had no desire to be diagnosed with food poisoning.
Until Wednesday morning.
A bout of illness woke Edeker up early.
“I thought it was the stomach flu and I was just hoping it was food poising,” Edeker said. “No one ever wishes for that but it was better than the alternative.”
Teammate Teddy Nepola also ended up with food poisoning and both made an emergency room visit for IV fluids, but bounced back quickly enough to help the Regals’ 4×200 relay team to a third-place finish Friday in a school-record time of 1:29.26.
West Burlington-Notre Dame set a new 2A meet record with a time of 1:27.51.
Albia was second in 1:28.05, also breaking the previous meet record of 1:28.43.
“Coming in we felt like we had a pretty good shot at it but I have to give it to those teams, they ran great races,” Sam Lincoln said. “If you told me that we would run that I would have been ecstatic, you have no idea they are going to drop a meet record.”
ON THE MOVE: Solon has a ways to go to get into the 3A team race, but the Spartans started their move Friday.
Connor Ham anchored the Solon 4×200 relay team to a third-place finish in a time of 1:30.19 and also matched his own state record of 14.03 in the prelims of the 110 hurdles.
Zach Nunemaker added a seventh-place finish in the long jump as Solon climbed to 10th with 12 points.
Pella leads the 3A team standings with 33 points.
“We ran our best time and we’re happy with that,” Ham said of the 200. “We’ll get back to work tomorrow.”
Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.