DES MOINES — Before Hunter Rickels approached the runway for his final jump in Thursday afternoon’s Class 1A competition, he had two thoughts race through his mind.
“First off, my team needs me,” he said. “Then it was like, ‘This is your last jump ever. You’ve got to give it your all here.'”
The Calamus-Wheatland senior turned in a personal-best leap of 21 feet, 7 ¾ inches to vault up several spots on the leaderboard to finish second in Class 1A at a steamy Drake Stadium.
Rickels reached the finals with a jump of 20-10 ½. Still, that had him in seventh place going into the closing two jumps.
After leaping 21-0 ¼ on his penultimate jump, Rickels did even better on his last try. His jumps was just three-quarters of an inch off Justin Alden’s school mark.
“To come in (seeded) fourth, jump over a half-foot over my PR on the biggest stage and put my team in a good spot for a trophy, it feels amazing,” Rickels said. “When championship season comes around, I just get this different type of mentality.”
“I’m a lot more confident with my steps than I was a few years ago when I was here.”
The Warriors added a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 relay with Rickels, Max Hansen, Chandler Gannon and Chase Knoche in 8:14.86.
“The heat was really a factor today,” Knoche said. “It took a toll on us, but we know what it is like now. We’ll be fine the rest of the weekend.”
Cal-Wheat, in search of its first team trophy, concluded the day with 13 points and in first place, a point in front of Lynnville-Sully. Sprinter Raymond Venditti also qualified for the finals in the 100 and 200.
“It is a good way to start the weekend,” Knoche said. “We have a lot of momentum going into the next two days.”
Camanche’s Eric Campie, who qualified for Saturday’s finals in the 100 and 200, placed third in the 2A 400 in a personal-best 49.91 seconds.
Mediapolis senior Jagger Gourley, back from knee surgery, won in 48.75.
“It was my goal to get under 50 (seconds),” Campie said. “It is hard to get mad losing with people that fast. I would have loved first, but (Gourley) was fast.
“I’ve got a really good kick, but I shouldn’t have waited that long to use it. At least, it got me top three.”
Campie missed most of the outdoor season with a stress fracture. He didn’t return until the River Valley Conference meet earlier this month.
“I had some doubts if I'd get to this point, but after the first meet back I had some confidence knowing I could get here,” he said.
Brady Griebel ran on Bellevue’s third-place 3,200 relay following a fifth-place finish in the 3,200. Griebel, Jack Sieverding, Andrew Penniston and Kyle Guenther finished in 8:08.75, more than a 13-second improvement from their previous season best.
The Comets were tied for the overnight lead in 2A with Madrid and Underwood with 11 points.
West Liberty senior Spencer Daufeldt was fourth in the 2A shot put with a launch of 52-4. It was a personal best for the University of Iowa football preferred walk-on recruit.
“The expectation coming here my senior year, I wanted to get a medal,” he said. “So to come in seeded sixth and improve two spots, that’s all I can ask for."
North Cedar’s Caden Wendt was sixth and Bellevue’s Riley Konrady eighth in the shot put.
Iowa football recruit Noah Fenske prevailed with toss of 60-0 ¼.
In Class 1A, Midland’s Luke Lasack took bronze in the shot put. Lasack, who came in seeded fifth, threw 51-2 ½.