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State Track Saturday (VIDEO)
DES MOINES Abby Green reflected on her four years at Cascade with tear-filled eyes that failed to suppress a mile-wide smile.
"I didn't even make it to state track my freshman year," said Green, who celebrated with Cougar teammates Saturday after helping win their first Class 2A girls' state track and field title. "This is an extreme difference from my freshman year an extreme difference. I never thought this would happen. Ever."
Until this season.
Cascade entered the meet as a strong favorite, took the lead on day one and kicked not coasted to the historic triumph.
The Cougars finished with a class-record 82 points and added three gold medals to a red-letter weekend. West Branch was fourth with 38 and Jesup took fifth with 37.
"I really wanted to help bring home a trophy for the team," said Cascade 1,500-meter run winner Mariah Kauder. "To be a part of something so special it will be remembered."
Green, the only Cougar senior to compete at state, naturally ran the first leg of a memorable 1,600-meter relay that finished in a state-record 3:55.52.
It was the last event of her career. And a milestone to build from for teammates such as Abbey Meyer, Tessa Helmle and anchor Allison Gibbs.
"We weren't only doing it for a record, we were doing it for her," said Meyer, a sophomore who anchored the winning sprint medley relay team. "She's done everything for us. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her. We knew we were going to race against the clock. If we ran our best, we'd have to race against the clock and we were going for that meet record. That's what we wanted."
Kauder ran a school-record 4:43.64 to hold off Jesup's Lindsey Kite in the 1,500. Kite had outlasted her several hours earlier to win the 800 in 2:15.96.
The J-Hawk star had hoped to run with a pack and strike late rather than leading the whole race.
"They weren't going to let me do that," Kite said. "So I just started off strong and stayed strong; sprinted all out at the end."
Speaking of endings, Green said hers is relative.
"I'll come to all their meets," said the future University of Dubuque student.
And if they have any questions?
"They can text me," she said, with a smile.
Several minutes later, she, Meyer, Helmle and Gibbs massed for one last embrace, a cheer and four kisses for the record-worthy baton.
"This is perfect," Green said. "We couldn't have ended it any better."
Armando Williams recalled his 2010 state-track experience.
"We were sitting over there," he said, pointing to the northeast corner of Drake Stadium. "We watched as our girls (accepted the state-championship) trophy.
"There were eight of us (boys) sitting there, and we said we were going to win one ourselves when we were seniors."
Charles Rogers concluded a hurdles sweep Saturday, leading Iowa City West to a convincing triumph in the Class 4A boys' race at the state track meet.
The Trojans accumulated 75 points to win their second title (the first came in 2007). Cedar Falls was second with 49.5 points, followed by West Des Moines Dowling (42), Cedar Rapids Washington (39) and Iowa City High (38.5).
Four of the top five teams hailed from the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Rogers, who captured the 400-meter hurdles on Friday, added a title in the 110-meter highs Saturday, edging Jon Rus of North Scott by 1-hundredth of a second, in 14.59.
There was no selfish chest-pounding afterward. Just team talk.
"I'm just happy to get 10 (points) for the team," said Rogers, who will play football at Iowa State in the fall. "Everybody contributed to this."
Rogers gambled somewhat on his start.
"I took off and the gun took off," he said. "I got lucky."
Williams was third in the 100 and 200, and anchored the Trojans' third-place 400-meter relay. West was second in the shuttle hurdle relay.
"Every time we break down, we say, 'Family,' " Williams said. "We've got different groups, different sections. But when we come together, we are one."
And No. 1.
The Trojans will be honored at an assembly at West's Little Theater at 7:45 p.m. Monday.
City High's Mason Greer, Javon Duarte, Jeremy Johnson and Dan Roemerman won the shuttle in 56.78 seconds. Johnson put the Little Hawks into the lead with a swift third leg.
"There are 44 ways you can mess up in the shuttle, and we wanted to eliminate as many of those as we could," Johnson said. "A lot of teams switched their order, but we didn't try to be somebody else. We just wanted to be ourselves."
The Little Hawks were second in the 400-meter relay in 42.59.
Washington's fourth-place finish paced Metro teams. Linn-Mar was eighth, Xavier was 10th, Prairie was 12th.
Prairie was the 1,600-meter relay runner-up, finishing in 3:20.53. West Des Moines Valley won it in 3:20.25.
"I wish we would have won, but I'm not upset with our time," said Prairie anchor Demetrius Harper. "We gave it all we had."
Timauntay Jones of Jefferson was third in the 800; Linn-Mar's Josh Evans was third in the 1,600.
The closest race of the weekend came in the boys' wheelchair 400. Jordan Houdeshell of Linn-Mar edged Drake Sachsenmier of Camanche by 2-thousandths of a second. Houdeshell circled the track in 1:13.65.