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Heeter makes immediate impact for high-powered Saints
PREP GIRLS TRACK AND FIELD | TOP OF IOWA-EAST

Heeter makes immediate impact for high-powered Saints

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Cora Heeter had several goals in mind as she prepared for her first season of high school track and field.

"I wanted to run varsity," she said. 

The St. Ansgar multi-event standout hasn't gone through the motions on varsity. She is contributing big points.

Heeter leaped a new personal best of 16 feet, 1.5 inches and placed top-5 in her three individual sprinting events to pace the Saints to a runner-up finish behind Osage at the Top of Iowa-East Conference meet held at Central Springs High School.

"I wasn't expecting to do this well," Heeter said. "I'm trying my best. I wanted to get better at long jump."

After missing out on an eighth grade season, Saints head coach Phil Baldus really didn't know what to expect from Heeter.

Even he has been pleasantly surprised with how much she has grown.

"Until you watch them on the track, you just don't know," he said.

Long jumping has been in Hetter's repertoire since seventh grade. She has made adjustments along the way.

It paid dividends in the nine-team conference meet.

"I had a longer run, shorter jump; we found that shorter run, longer jump works best for me," Heeter said. "That really changed and improved my jumps."

Continually jumping in the area of 15 feet and 16 feet even, Heeter admitted it did get mentally frustrating not seeing improvement.

So she started thinking bigger numbers.

"Every time I think '17, 18' going for those high numbers and I think it's going to will help me out in the long run," Heeter said. "The main goal is to get to state and do well at state."

Baldus believes her best is yet to come in the lone field event. In Class 1A, only the winner of each event is automatically into the state meet. Then they take the next 14 best times, jumps and throws.

As it sits as of Friday, Heeter has the third farthest jump in her district. 

"I would imagine she's got a little extra in her," he said.

Heeter is proving she is multidimensional for a Saints team with high aspirations for the Class 1A state meet in two weeks.

She was third in the open 100 and 200 as well as fifth in the open 400. She netted two personal bests in the fastest two sprinting events.

The preference of what events to run at the state qualifying meet next Thursday at Northwood-Kensett was easy to say out loud.

"Probably the 200 because it's not a 400," Heeter said. "I've been doing all sorts of things this year, so anything is possible."

Her times in the three sprinting events sit her inside the top-8 amongst her district peers. The event with the best position for a qualifying spot is the 200, currently sitting as the third fastest. 

Baldus doesn't know what will happen next week, but does expect her to rise to the occasion.

Running against some of the best competition one class ahead of her on Thursday aided that belief.

"The biggest thing is they have to learn how to run that race," Baldus said. "You got to go chase them."

Zach Martin is a sports reporter for the Globe Gazette. Follow him on Twitter at @Zach_Martin95. 

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