By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – City High started the final day of the Class 4A state track and field meet with a thud.
The Little Hawks made sure it ended with a bang.
After a dropped baton led to a disqualification in the sprint medley relay City High bounced back with back-to-back top-four finishes in the 4×100 and 4×400 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
City High clocked a 42.41 to finish fourth in the 4×100 relay and closed its season with a third-place finish in the 4×400 in 3:18.87, fifth fastest in school history.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of these kids,” City High coach Mike Moore said. “This small group that we brought here to state they get it, they care, they did what we asked and that’s a great way to end it.”
City High didn’t get off to the start it wanted on Saturday.
The sprint medley relay team never got going as the first handoff between seniors Rajay Rodney and Vance Dillon went haywire resulting in a dropped baton and a disqualification.
It also resulted in some frustration.
“I was really angry, I think we would have done some big things in that med so losing that baton really got to me,” Dillon said. “We had to forget about that and make the most of the 4×100.”
Dillon and the Little Hawks definitely made the most of their second chance.
City High entered the 4×100 finals with the eighth best prelim time at 43.0 but took more than half a second off in its fourth-place finish.
“That same group on the 4×100 was the medley and they had that little slip up and they were hungry,” Moore said. “They came into that 4×100 and they wanted it.”
The 42.41 was .56 better than the previous season-best time for the foursome of Rodney, Dillon, Zach Jones and Jack Roggeveen run at the district meet.
“We barely even made finals, we had a horrible handoff in the prelims,” Roggeveen said. “We came out in that final, we all had great handoffs and took a bunch of time off.”
The 4×100 performance was only the beginning for City High.
A little more than 30 minutes Jones and Roggeveen teamed with sophomore Daniel Brown and junior Lucas Firmstone to finish third in the 4×400 in 3:18.87.
City High ran a season-best time of 3:20.09 in the prelims on Friday but took more than a second off that time in Saturday’s season finale.
“I honestly believed we could get there,” Jones said of the 3:18.87. “Coach tells us all the time that he saw a lot of potential and we could make one of those times. I don’t think anyone else believed in us as much as we believed in ourselves.”
Brown got City High off to a good start in the 4×400 and Jones pulled the Little Hawks to within a step of leader Cedar Falls after 800 meters.
Roggeveen wasted no time pulling into the lead and gave City High a lead heading into the anchor leg.
“I was thinking we could get 3:19 high but I wasn’t going to leave anything to chance,” Roggeveen said. “I was going to do everything I possibly could to get us in a good position to possibly take home gold, it didn’t work out that way but I’m happy with it.”
Cedar Falls won the title in 3:17.88 behind a strong anchor leg from senior Nathan Hoy while Waterloo West was second in 3:18.7.
The time of 3:18.87 puts the Little Hawk foursome into the top five in program history.
“You watch these kids train and compete and you like to think that they can do that, you set the bar high but reasonable but those kids did it,” Moore said. “Those kids did it.”