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Cascade and Wahlert with Big Days at the State Track Meet (VIDEO FRIDAY: 2A, 3A)
DES MOINES Two strong legs.
Two first-place finishes.
Not a bad Friday for one of Cascade's most prolific runners, Abbey Meyer and her team at the Class 2A girls' state track and field meet at Drake Stadium.
"Last year people started looking at us because we won the 4-by-2," said Meyer, who anchored her team to that 800-meter relay win after pitching in for distance medley gold. "But this year since we've been performing well all of our meets, everyone's just like, 'Where did they come from?'"
Not that the Cougars who ended day two atop the 2A points standings with 34 haven't turned heads before.
Last season they finished fifth in the team race. This week, they entered the meet as the favorite, top-seeded in four relays.
And Cascade's 2-for-2 in those events, with hopes for more wins and points looming Saturday.
"We want to keep going; just keep pushing toward the team title," said Meyer, a four-sport star from a family where that busy athletic schedule has become routine. "We've been working hard all year. We need to make it count."
Mariah Kauder anchored the distance medley triumph that spanned 4:08.22. Jesup ran a close second, 4:09.61.
"We knew they were coming and it was just so tough," Kauder said. "We just had to leave it all on the track. That was our (motto) this year: Leave it on the track and don't look back."
The Cougars' Allison Gibbs shined in both relay wins. Teammates Sydney Rickels and Tesse Helmle contributed to a win apiece. Abby Green sprinkled in a strong third-place finish in the 400 hurdles.
"We love being together and competing," said Green, who ran the third leg in the distance medley. "We're all pretty good friends."
South Winneshiek's Annie Gullickson converted her last throw in the discus into gold.
Gullickson, a senior who finished 12th last year, lofted the discus 130-10, besting Jenna Lansing of Beckman (130-02); Kristi Feldman of West Liberty (130-01); and Vicky Kapnisis of North Fayette (129-11).
"I kind of went in there and thought, 'This is gonna be the last throw ever of my life, so I gotta make it a good one,'" said Gullickson, who threw almost nine feet better than she did at regionals. "And I did. I got it."
West Liberty's Gina Montanga and Kathy Kallberg earned third and fourth, respectively in the high jump.
The Comets rank seventh in points with 16.5. Jesup stands sixth with 18 points.