DES MOINES — Briar Evans and Jay Wolfe each broke a school record at the Coed State Track Meet over the weekend.
Wolfe broke his own school record in the 800 meters on Saturday with his sixth-place finish in 1:57.41.
After taking .24 seconds off to convert to hand time for the record board, Wolfe’s time is 1:57.17.
For the sophomore who finished third in the event last year, it was a disappointing result even though he broke his record.
“I put myself in a good position after the first lap,” Wolfe said. “I went out exactly how I wanted to, I just couldn’t bring it through. Very disappointed.”
Wolfe took off at the gun and came through the first 400 meters in 57 seconds as he led the race through about 600 meters.
That’s when defending champion Payton Busch of Centerville passed Wolfe and a pack of runners moved up onto his shoulder.
Wolfe held steady in second place heading into the final 100 meters, but the pack swarmed him and in a close finish, he ended up sixth.
“I knew Busch was going to be tough,” Wolfe said. “I knew it was going to be 1:55 or below to win it. I should have been top three at least. Getting third last year, I had high expectations. I was very disappointed with that last 200 of mine.”
Wolfe noted it’s a good start for next year, though, as this race will motivate him to work harder in the offseason.
Four of the five runners who finished ahead of Wolfe in the race were seniors.
Friday afternoon, Evans finished up the final individual race of his career in style, placing 17th overall in the 400 hurdles with his time of 57.12.
After taking off .24 seconds to convert to hand time, Evans’s time of 56. 88 was enough to break Neil Lang’s 2001 school record by .09 seconds.
“I feel a lot better now knowing I did run my personal best and broke the school record,” said Evans, who did not initially know he had broken the school record. “It feels really good to know I got my name up on the record board again.”
Evans had a strong finish in the race. Coming off the final curve, he found another gear and passed several runners in the final 100 meters to finish fifth in his heat.
He improved on his seed, moving up from 23rd overall to 17th.
And taking Lang’s name off the board, someone Evans looked up to, was a satisfying feeling.
“I knew Neil Lang,” he said. “My dad coached him in the hurdles and I remember hanging around him. I knew he was a pretty good runner. He was a pretty good athlete. I knew it would be an accomplishment if I could beat him.”
The Creston boys 4x400, which took five seconds off its season best time, was close to another school record and close to qualifying for finals.
The Panthers, running 3:28.85 for fifth in their heat, finished 11th overall, just .27 seconds behind Charles City for the final qualifying spot.
“It feels awesome. I feel like we accomplished a lot just by cutting that five seconds,” Evans said. “You think about it, we’re only two seconds away from breaking another school record in that race, so I feel awesome about it.”
Joining Evans on the relay were two sophomores in Bryce Briley and Wolfe and junior Maxx Walters.
“We left it all out there on the track and did our absolute best,” Walters said. “We didn’t make finals, but we accomplished a lot of goals.”
Senior Luke Neitzel, who just took up the long jump this season, finished 11th in the event with a mark of 20-6.25.
Neitzel also finished 11th at the Drake Relays in the event.
“I’ve got to really compliment Luke on that,” head coach Pat Schlapia said. “Out for track his junior and senior year and just long jumping for the first year, and here’s a boy that not only qualified for the Drake Relays, but also qualified for state after winning the Hawkeye 10 and the State Qualifying Meet.”
Neitzel was at the back of the board on his first two jumps and tried to move himself toward the front of the board for his final jump, but moved forward just too much, resulting in a foul.
“It was interesting, because it was kind of backwards from what we’re used to,” assistant coach Mark Evans said. “Normally Luke starts at the front of the board and we’ve got to kind of work him backwards. Yesterday, to our surprise, he started toward the back of the board, and, unfortunately, he kind of stayed at the back of the board. When we tried to get him up by the front, he scratched by just a toenail. We just didn’t get that break.”
Neitzel, along with Briar Evans and Travis Miller on Thursday were the three seniors competing for the last time for the Panthers.
Creston finished 37th in the team standings with three points.