DES MOINES — Josh Anderson, Josiah Graves and Demari Nicholson just wanted to give Darien Porter a chance.
“I’ve never seen a runner like him — 6-foot-4, a crazy long stride,” Graves said. “If we got it to him within five or 10 meters of the lead, we’d be fine”
Porter chased down the leaders with a blistering 47.5 split in the 400-meter anchor leg to propel Bettendorf to a Class 4A state championship in the sprint medley relay Saturday morning at Drake Stadium.
It was Porter’s second title of the weekend, joining the 400 crown on Thursday.
Once he crossed the finish line, Porter raised his arms in jubilation.
“It feels great to win this for the team,” Porter said. “We’re all individuals, but when you have your family right by your side, it is an amazing feeling.”
Bettendorf finished in 1 minute, 32.09 seconds — a little more than a half-second ahead of runner-up Western Dubuque. It is the first season the boys have had the sprint medley.
Porter said it was difficult to strategize.
“Especially when you’re behind a little bit,” he said. “I feel like I ran it well, and hopefully I can continue to run this well in coming years.”
Ever since his breakout performance at the Drake Relays last month, Porter has motored ahead. He’s consistently turned in 47- and 48-second times in the 400.
“He’s really fun to watch,” Nicholson said.
“I’ll be happy to say I was on his team when he’s going to Arkansas or LSU,” Graves said.
Davenport North’s Collin Glazek was state runner-up in the 200 (22.24 seconds) and anchored the team’s third-place 400 relay in a season-best 42.13.
Despite being sick earlier in the week and his spikes ripped, Glazek finished the weekend with three top-five medals.
“I’ve come a long way since my freshman year,” said Glazek, who plans to play football and run track at Briar Cliff. “To do that at a state meet is astonishing.”
Akendre Abbey, Ezekiel Hayslett and Isaiah Gibbs joined Glazek on the 400 relay, which finished 0.13 seconds behind winner Western Dubuque.
“It is exhilarating,” Gibbs said. “It is a feeling you can’t describe, almost like you’re floating on a cloud.”
Muscatine’s Tyler Olson ran a personal-best 1:55.90 to place fourth in the 800. This is the first season Olson has concentrated on the 800. His best time in 2016 was 2:01.
“I did not honestly expect to come this far from last year,” Olson said. “This really became my event this year.”
Pleasant Valley’s Mark Conway and Konnor Sommer went 4-5 in the 1,600. Conway, in his final high school race, ran a career-best 4:18.56. Sommer finished in 4:19.89.
“It was the fastest race, most competitive race I’ve ever been apart of,” Conway said. “It was awesome. I couldn’t ask for a better stadium, better crowd.”
Conway will attend Iowa next season but has no intentions to run.
“I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss the Drake Relays and state meet, but I’ve gotten my opportunities and I’m happy I've gotten to do this,” Conway said.
Sommer used a strong kick in the final 200 meters to finish behind Conway.
“I saw the guy in front of me was dying pretty hard and I thought, ‘Why not? It is my last race of the season,’” Sommer said.
Bettendorf finished 11th in the 4A race with 30 points and PV was 13th with 25. West Des Moines Valley squeaked past Waukee for the title, 73-69.
Davenport Central’s Kevin Kurth concluded his career with a fifth-place medal in the 100. After winning Friday’s long jump, Kurth came in seeded seventh. He ran 11.30.
“I’m content with what I’ve done,” Kurth said. “The benchmarks were set pretty high. I didn’t hit everything that I liked to, but I left it all out there.”
Kurth will head to West Point in about a month for basic training. He’ll begin classes in the fall and join the Army track program.
“I’ve got to switch gears from sprinting to long distance running with six weeks of basic training,” Kurth said. “Right now, the focus is putting on more weight.”