DES MOINES — Will DeHaan has raced Mount Vernon’s Jeremy Krogmann in the 800 plenty of times this season.
So when DeHaan took the baton for the anchor leg of Friday’s 1,600 medley relay, the Central DeWitt junior knew exactly what he needed to do.
“He usually goes out super fast, so I just try to trail him,” he said. “Then at the 200-meter mark, I pick it up a little bit and I feel I’ve got the better kick than him.”
That strategy turned into a Class 3A state championship Friday afternoon for the Sabers, the first in the medley relay since 1977 and the 18th relay championship for the program.
Brady Ellison, Nick Smith and Elijah Boesch put DeHaan in position. He passed Sergeant Bluff-Luton anchor Gabe Hannemann on the opening lap and then took down Krogman in the final stretch for a winning time of 3 minutes, 33.26 seconds.
DeHaan knew what was on the line.
“That’s what motivated me to freaking crush it at the end,” he said. “I wanted that gold medal.
“I’ve been stressing the last day-and-a-half over this race because I didn’t run yesterday. This feels really good.”
All four members of the relay are juniors. They’ll have a chance to defend next season along with trying to break the school record of 3:31.54 that has stood for 43 years.
“There is just great chemistry between our times, practices and meets,” Smith said. “We all know how to compete.”
Ellison and Smith joined Terry Harris and Matt Burke to place sixth earlier in the day in the 800 relay in 1:31.76.
On the girls side, Davenport Assumption earned fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the 800 and distance medley relays.
Lea Nelson, Mary Grace Carroll, Olivia Lansing and Julia Schumacher comprised the medley relay that crossed in 4:16.53.
Nelson and Carroll were joined by Jasmine Harris and Peyton Hanley in the 800 relay. It was the first time the quartet had run together this season.
“You’ve just got to trust each other,” Carroll said. “Obviously, we didn’t finish where we wanted to finish, but team points is all that matters.”
The eight points moved Assumption’s total to 37 through two days. It has a six-point lead over Decorah and seven clear of Pella.
Assumption can score points in six of the nine events Saturday, including double entries in the 100, 200, 800 and 1,500.
The Knights are vying to become the first school to claim five straight titles.
“Just finish strong,” Carroll said. “We need to have faith in our training and do everything we can to put our name in the history books.”
Central DeWitt’s girls placed fifth in the distance medley relay. Freshmen Crystal Burke and Carly Small joined senior Sarah Watson and junior anchor Julia Campbell for a time of 4:14.11, a new school record by almost five seconds.
“There was one point in the race I’m thinking, ‘There is a senior on this team that has taught me so much and I’ve learned so much from,’” Campbell said. “No matter what, I was going to run as hard as I could for these guys because they’ve taught me more than track and running circles.
“We’re very excited.”