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Soaring Comets: Ian Collins wins state high jump title; Connell, Keely Collins finish second
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Soaring Comets: Ian Collins wins state high jump title; Connell, Keely Collins finish second


DES MOINES – Kiki Connell ran foot-speed workouts in the final week of practice. Ian Collins shaved his head and worked on his mentality. Keely Collins was leaping jumps higher than her season best.

Preparation led the trifecta of Charles City standouts to open Thursday's action at the state meet with fireworks.

After missing on all three attempts at 6 feet, 9 inches one month ago at the Drake Relays, Collins needed just one attempt to clear it and triumph over North Polk's Jack Noble to claim the Class 3A high jump title at Drake Stadium.

The junior doubled up on high jump titles.

"To be honest, it was the competition. I didn't want to lose, so I kind of had to," Ian said.

"We talk about jumping with joy," Comets jumps coach Eric Hoefer said.

Charles City is currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the boys team race with 10 points while the girls are in solo second with 16, three points behind Ballard.

"I am very pleased," Comets girls head coach Amanda Rahmiller said. "A top-10 finish would be just dandy."

Connell ran her final two laps in a 800-meter split of 2:33 to pass Ballard's Paityn Noe and hold off friend Emma Hoins from Waverly-Shell Rock for a runner-up finish in a lifetime best time of 10:03.88.

"I knew I was going to have to go out my first 1,500 in the range of 5:05-5:10 then come back in sub-5:00," Connell said. "I felt amazing. I learned over my years that going out fast in track events isn't my strong suit."

And finally, Keely Collins cleared 5 feet, 6 inches, which smashes her previous best by two inches to place runner-up behind Keokuk's Miracle Ailes. At the Drake Relays one month ago, Keely missed all three attempts at the opening height.

"I wanted to redeem myself from last time," Keely said. "I think that's one of the reasons I did so well today."

All three of the victories also set new school records.

The Bombers sophomore star Shewaye Johnson led wire-to-wire, something Connell knew would happen. So the plan immediately was to pace with Noe and Hoins.

Noe was in second for a good majority of the race, then Connell turned it on in the final half-mile. She passed Noe on the final lap, in which her split was 71 seconds, and held off her two friends.

The UNI recruit will anchor Charles City's distance medley relay today then run the 800 and 1,500 on Saturday. It's her first time doing all three true distance events.

"Physically, I'm going to be fine; it's going to be more mentally draining," Connell said. "Being bale to stay locked in every single race, every single step, that's where the struggles come in."

Rahmiller felt like it was inevitable that Connell would get stronger as the race went along.

"I would never bet against her going into the last part of the race," she said. "She can flip it into another gear."

Ian Collins and Noble went toe-to-toe once the bar moved to 6-5. Both had a flair for the dramatics.

On his final attempt at 6-5, Ian Collins cleared it; Noble did the same thing at 6-6.

"It was a lot of fun being in front of all those people and showing out," he said.

He took one leap and didn't see the bar drop behind him. Noble missed all three chances, leading the former to let out an emphatic roar after smashing his previous personal best.

He missed all three chances at 6-10.

"His competitiveness, but also his modesty; his ability to be an incredible team player, but also a really intense desire to learn about whatever events he's in and improve," Hoefer said. "Pretty special."

Ian's younger sister nearly made it two champions for the household.

Keely cleared 5-6 on her last attempt, the only one out of five jumpers that did. She missed all three attempts at 5-7. At 5-0 even, 5-2 and 5-4, she made it on her second attempt.

"I wasn't as aggressive," Keely said. "I need to be more aggressive coming at the bar right away."

It is a dramatic turn from a month ago. And now, she has her sights set on bigger things in 2022.

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"Just doing that good, as a freshman, it really helps my confidence and makes me feel like I can do even better in the next three years," Keely said.

Clear Lake's shuttle hurdle relay quartet finished seventh in the prelims to book a spot in Saturday's finals. It ran a 1:02.39 that sets a new season-best.

Charles City's Carly Stevenson finished 12th in the discus with a heave of 109-11.


Girls track and field

Co-ed state meet

At Drake Stadium, Des Moines

Class 3A

Team scores (top-10 + locals) – 1. Ballard 19, 2. Charles City 16, 3. Oskaloosa 13, T4. Dubuque Wahlert 12, T4. Western Dubuque 12, T6. Assumption 11, T6. Waverly-Shell Rock 11, T8. Solon 10, T8. Keokuk 10, T10. Bondurant-Farrar 8, T10. Carlisle 8.

Finals (top-5 + locals)

3,000 – 1. Shewaye Johnson (Ballard), 9:57.21; 2. Kiki Connell (Charles City), 10:03.88; 3. Emma Hoins (Waverly-Shell Rock), 10:04.48; 4. Paityn Noe (Ballard), 10:06.57; 5. Geneva Timmerman (ADM, Adel), 10:33.56

3,200 relay – 1. Solon (Kaia Holtkamp, Anna Quillin, Gracie Federspiel, Emma Bock), 9:21.84; 2. Dubuque Wahlert (9:34.99); 3. Harlan (9:40.24); 4. Dallas Center-Grimes (9:40.84); 5. Ballard (9:50.41)

400 – 1. Audrey Biermann (Western Dubuque), 55.80; 2. Ainsley Erzen (Carlisle), 56.21; 3. Laney Fitzpatrick (Assumption), 57.66; 4. Alyssa Larson (Independence), 58.26; 5. Rylee Steffen (Dubuque Wahlert), 58.65

High jump – 1. Miracle Ailes (Keokuk), 5-7; 2. Keely Collins (Charles City), 5-6; 3. Jacie Vander Waal (Sioux Center), 5-4; 4. Reagan Dahlquist (Waverly-Shell Rock), 5-4; 5. Soren Miracle (Central DeWitt), 5-4

Discus – 1. Faith DeRonde (Oskaloosa), 140-01; 2. Katelyn Lappe (Bondurant-Farrar), 135-06; 3. Kendal Clark (Humboldt), 134-10; 4. Anna Wohlers (Assumption), 133-05; 5. Kelsey Fields (Creston), 133-03; 12. Carly Stevenson (Charles City), 109-11

Preliminaries (locals only, top-8 advance to finals)

Shuttle hurdle relay – 20. Charles City (Olivia Litterer, Keely Collins, Kaylee Hennick, Lauren Staudt), 1:13.18

Boys track and field

Co-ed state meet

At Drake Stadium, Des Moines

Class 3A

Team scores (top-10 + locals) – 1. Pella 21.5, 2. ADM, Adel 20, 3. North Polk 18, 4. Washington 16, T5. Newton 10, T5. LeMars 10, T5. Charles City 10, T8. Dallas Center-Grimes 8, T8. Dubuque Wahlert 8, T8. Knoxville 8.

Finals (top-5 + locals)

3,200 – 1. Nate Mueller (ADM, Adel), 9:13.84; 2. Aidan Ramsey (Dallas-Center Grimes), 9:16.90; 3. Quinton Orr (Humboldt), 9;35.00; 4. Jackson Mace-Maynard (Newton), 9:39.05; 5. Eli Larson (Center Point-Urbana), 9:40.18

3,200 relay – 1. Pella (Chase Lauman, Karl Miller, Josiah Wittenberg, Tony Schmitz), 7:55.14; 2. ADM, Adel (7:59.17); 3. Clear Creek-Amana (7:59.62); 4. Newton (8:08.02); 5. Western Dubuque (8:10.85)

400 – 1. Elijah Morris (Washington), 49.53; 2. Kieren Nichols (Knoxville), 49.65; 3. Tegan Bock (Boone), 49.83; 4. JD Elefson (North Polk), 49.90; 5. Karl Miller (Pella), 50.27

High jump – 1. Ian Collins (Charles City), 6-9; 2. Jack Noble (North Polk), 6-8; 3. Ethan Patterson (Washington), 6-1; 4. Caden Ungs (Monticello), 6-1; 5. James Francom (Gilbert), 6-1

Discus – 1. Brandon VanderSluis (LeMars), 170-06; 2. Duke Faley (Dubuque Wahlert), 164-11; 3. Kody Huisman (Pella), 163-03; 4. Tyler Maro (Assumption), 162-02; 5. Ethan Eilers (West Burlington/Notre Dame), 161-02; 18. Tino Tamayo (Charles City), 138-03

Preliminaries (locals only, top-8 advance to finals)

Shuttle hurdle relay – 7. Clear Lake (Zeke Nelson, PJ Feuerbach, Jack Crane, Tyson Cooley), 1:02.39; 18. Charles City (Zack Graeser, Aiden Shannon, Jeremiah Chapman, Josiah Cunnings), 1:04.48

100 – 22. Ian Collins (Charles City), 11.74

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


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