SHENANDOAH — Creston junior Brandon Phipps, battling injury for much of the 2013 track season, returned to his old form here Monday, winning the distance double at the Hawkeye 10 Conference Meet.
Phipps easily cruised to a win in the 3,200 meter run, running the final seven laps of the race with nearly a 100-meter lead over the chase pack. He would later double back in the 1,600 meter run with a close victory over Harlan’s Philip Sciranko.
“The month of March and most of April, he was pretty frustrated with his leg injury,” Creston head coach Pat Schlapia said. “Patience is a virtue. That was hard for Brandon to accept. The last couple of weeks, it’s been a new world for him.”
Phipps improved his season best time in the 3,200 by 26 seconds, running 9:59.27. He clocked a 4:42.08 to win the 1,600 in his first time running the event this year.
As a team, Creston finished third in the standings with 74 points, behind Glenwood’s 156 and Harlan’s 121.
Senior Luke Neitzel also brought home gold for the Panthers, becoming the second-straight Panther first-year long jumper to win the Hawkeye 10 crown in the event.
Neitzel jumped 20-7.50 to win, defeating Glenwood’s Grant May in the process. May claimed the final spot in finals at the Drake Relays.
“This is the second year in a row we’ve had a conference champion long jumper, with Ben Landers last year,” Schlapia said. “It was nice to see him beat May and Atlantic’s (Kray) Lukehart. To me, that was good mentally to plant that seed in May’s mind that Neitzel is a force to be reckoned with on Thursday. This is the time to be beating those boys.”
Sophomore Jay Wolfe won the fourth and final gold medal of the night for the Panthers, running his best time of the season in the 800 meter run.
Glenwood’s Jared Cook took the lead early in the race and ran to the rail, forcing Wolfe to run on his shoulder. Cook attempted to pull away from Wolfe, but Wolfe countered by throwing a surge in at the start of the third 200 to pull away from Cook.
Wolfe ran 1:58.87, which is the second-fastest time of his career.
“Jay had a special night, also,” Schlapia said. “What was nice about it, the kid from Glenwood, we knew that would be his competition. That first lap, Cook had the inside of the lane and he tried to pull away from Jay, but Jay’s strong point is that third 200. That’s when he got his gap on Cook, and once you come off that last curve with Jay, no one’s going to touch him.”
The Panthers also earned three silver medals on the night, finishing second in the 4x800 relay, the 1,600 medley relay and with Wolfe in the open 400.
The 4x800 relay team of Bryce Briley, Travis Miller, Maxx Walters and Wolfe took 16 seconds off the team’s previous season best time, running 8:26.02.
The medley relay team of Neitzel, Walters, Briley and Phipps ran together for the first time, and ran a solid team race. Phipps anchored with a 2:06 800-meter leg, moving the Panthers from fourth to second.
Meanwhile, Wolfe ran right with one of the state’s best 400 meter runners in Glenwood’s Derek Jones, finishing a close second in 51.03. Jones ran 50.24, but Wolfe was closing on Jones in the final 100 meters of the race.
Other placewinners for the Panthers were the 4x400 relay team of Briley, Briar Evans, Walters and Wolfe, which finished third, and Evans in the 400 hurdles.
Evans finished fourth in the 400 hurdles and took nearly two seconds off his best time of the year in running 56.91.
Schlapia commended the efforts given by Miller and Briley on the night. Miller ran the two best 800 meter races of his career, running 2:09 in both the 4x800 and the open 800. Briley ran a solid 2:06 opening leg of the 4x800 and ran his best time in the open 400 with a 53.29, while also running on the medley and the 4x400.
“Travis and Bryce, both — there’s a couple of guys that left it out there even though they didn’t place in their open events,” Schlapia said. “They still ran their hearts out.”
The Panthers return to action Thursday with the State Qualifying Meet at Glenwood, beginning at 4 p.m.
Hawkeye 10 Conference Meet
Team standings — 1. Glenwood 156, 2. Harlan 121, 3. Creston 74, 4. Shenandoah 51, 5. Lewis Central 50, 6. Atlantic 31.50, 7. Denison-Schleswig 29, 8. Kuemper Catholic 23, 9. Clarinda 11.50, 10. Red Oak 11.
Discus — 1. Jacob Barents, LC, 156-2; 9. Trevor Luther, Creston, 119-8; 18. Evan Nielsen, Creston, 89-11.
Shot put — 1. JJ Hahn, Glen, 51-8.25; 18. Theo Hartman, Creston, 34-6; 19. Nathan Haley, Creston, 30-5.50.
High jump — 1. Mitch Bowden, Glen, 6-2; 9. Chris Foster, Creston, 5-6.
Long jump — 1. Luke Neitzel, Creston, 20-7.50; 14. Seth Maitlen, Creston, 16-9.50.
3,200 meters — 1. Brandon Phipps, Creston, 9:59.27; 12. Zack Peppmeier, Creston, 12:20.19.
4 x 800 relay — 1. Glenwood, 8:20.74; 2. Creston (Bryce Briley, Travis Miller, Maxx Walters, Jay Wolfe), 8:26.02.
Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Glenwood, 59.08.
100 meters — 1. Jacob Rodgers, LC, 10.82; 9. Luke Neitzel, Creston, 11.50; 13. Seth Maitlen, Creston, 12.04.
400 meters — 1. Derek Jones, Glen, 50.24; 2. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 51.03; 7. Bryce Briley, Creston, 53.29.
4 x 200 relay — 1. Glenwood, 1:32.49; 9. Creston (Maxx Walters, Seth Maitlen, Trevor Luther, Jake Johnston), 1:39.41.
1,600 meters — 1. Brandon Phipps, Creston, 4:42.08; 15. Zack Peppmeier, Creston, 5:39.20.
110 high hurdles — 1. Austin Hess, Har, 14.54.
200 meters — 1. Grant May, Glen, 22.63; 10. Luke Neitzel, Creston, 24.04; 16. Chris Foster, Creston, 26.63.
400 low hurdles — 1. Derek Jones, Glen, 53.00; 4. Briar Evans, Creston, 56.91.
1,600 medley relay — 1. Glenwood, 3:47.32; 2. Creston (Luke Neitzel, Maxx Walters, Bryce Briley, Brandon Phipps), 3:49.62.
800 meters — 1. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 1:58.57; 8. Travis Miller, Creston, 2:09.67.
4 x 100 relay — 1. Harlan, 43.85; 9. Creston (Trevor Luther, Seth Maitlen, Chris Foster, Jake Johnston), 48.07.
4 x 400 relay — 1. Glenwood, 3:28.90; 3. Creston (Bryce Briley, Briar Evans, Maxx Walters, Jay Wolfe), 3:36.86.