DES MOINES — The "Rip Slam" is half complete. 

Already with one of the most decorated high school track and field resumes, Davenport Assumption stalwart Joy Ripslinger added another layer to it Thursday afternoon.

Ripslinger became the first girl in Iowa history to record wins in the 400 and 3,000 at the Class 3A girls state meet inside Drake Stadium.

“It was a scary thought coming into this day because I knew the 3,000 and 400 aren’t my races,” she said. “I wasn’t necessarily expecting to get first in both.

“I’m shocked, more than happy.”

The Arkansas recruit will be a spectator Friday before running her two specialty events — the 800 and 1,500 — on Saturday.

If she can prevail in those two, she’ll leave as Assumption’s all-time leader with nine state titles and a four-event individual slam nobody has done in state lore.

“This was a special day,” she said.

Thanks to her 20 points along with Carly King’s third-place finish in the 400 and the Knights’ sixth-place run in the 3,200 relay, Assumption is off to a blistering start in its quest for an unprecedented fifth consecutive state title.

Coach Tim O’Neill’s team racked up 29 points and has a 14-point cushion over runner-up Sioux City Heelan.

“It was super important to get off to this type of start,” King said. “We wanted to go at it today.”

Ripslinger has been a frontrunner most of the season. She rallied in both races Thursday.

She was as far back as seventh place in the 3,000 after a couple laps. She trailed leader Adrianna Katcher of Center-Point Urbana by nine seconds with 1,200 meters to go. She trimmed the deficit to six seconds with 800 remaining and was nearly even with Katcher going into the final lap.

“I just think about the 600-meter workouts that I do,” Ripslinger said. “I know how it feels to run 600 meters and I know how much I can exert within that time.”

Ripslinger drafted behind Katcher until passing her on the final turn and crossing in 9:55.37, a 3A state meet record and a personal best by more than 15 seconds.

It was emotional and rewarding given she had been second in the 3,000 each of the past three years.

“I wanted this one pretty bad being that is the first race we had of the weekend,” she said, “and being second three years in a row. I was ready to come in first this time.

“It was a pretty happy moment.”

About 3 hours later, Ripslinger came back in the 400.

King and Boone’s Dianna Slight set the pace through the opening half.

Ripslinger was in fourth place with just more than 100 meters left, but turned on the jets to edge Sioux City Heelan’s Madison Jochum and King. Ripslinger crossed in 56.29, Jochum 56.53 and King 56.55.

“I knew Carly and Dianna were going to go out fast — they know how to do the 200,” Ripslinger said. “I just had to trust my endurance.”

King did not realize Ripslinger and Jochum were closing in.

“I was kind of zoned in and watching the line,” King said. “I knew they had some speed, and I was just trying to hold on.”

King, who qualified for the finals of the 100 and 200 before the 400, came in as the top seed. It was bittersweet falling short to a teammate.

“It is a tough balance,” she said. “We go out there wanting to put our best individual race together, but in the end losing to a teammate is just about the second best thing to winning.

"You know you helped each other get there over the course of the season.”

Assumption’s Billi Marzen, Liz Fennelly, Grace Rohlf and Julia Schumacher earned three team points with its sixth-place finish in the 3,200 relay in 9:47.02.


Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.