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Panthers look for better Friday at state

DES MOINES — No one came away entirely satisfied.

Of the six Creston Panthers girls competing to medal in Class 3A state championship track and field competition at Drake Stadium on Thursday, each left wanting to have found a way to be a bit better.

Hannah Hood did not place in the discus. She scratched twice and threw a best of 107 feet, 3 inches. Breanna Wallace leaped 4-10 in the high jump, but did not clear the 5-0 threshold necessary to propel her closer to contention.

The members of the 4x800 relay of MaKenna Hudson, Jesse Vicker, Rachel Shepherd and Brielle Baker also found themselves discontent and emotional at the end of the race.

They each feel that they might have had more to offer in terms of effort, so the result was disappointing. That result will linger as they find motivation for next year.

“We really want to push ourselves next year because of that and try to stay with the people in front of us,” Vicker said.

Shepherd was more visibly overwhelmed by emotion than her teammates, but found the right words to capture her feelings after what will likely be her last race as she is an alternate for the 4x200 and the distance medley.

“I thought for sure coming to this season I was going to be a sprinter and the distances were kind of in the back,” Shepherd said. “I’m honestly so proud and running every single 4x800 with them (her teammates) this year … it’s just really awesome.”

Shepherd has all faith in her teammates who will return to the Panthers next season. She expects them to motivate her in her journey to Morningside College as well.

The group of four shared a long embrace several minutes after the race, with each teammate showing to anyone around that they cared for one another.

Losing Shepherd’s presence will be tough to overcome, but Creston’s running leaders will have to employ the same characteristics that push the Panthers forward.

“We’re just going to miss having her (Shepherd) and Hannah next as leaders,” Baker said. “But I know we’re going to have other people step up and we’re going to learn to lead.” 

It’s not all gloom and doom for the Panthers.

Creston boasts several more participants who will look to bring home medals this weekend.

Hood will be the presumptive favorite in the shot put that starts at 2 p.m. today (Friday). Creston’s remaining three relays will also be in action. The distance medley at 2:40 p.m., and the 4x200 will race at 4:30 p.m. will compete in timed finals. The Panthers will run their 4x400 preliminary at 7 p.m. Should they post a top-eight time, they’ll advance on to Saturday’s final to end the meet.

Class 3A girls discus — 1. Gillian Streit, Harlan, 137-3; 19. Hannah Hood, Creston, 107-3.

Class 3A girls high jump — 1. Maria Gorham, North Polk, 5-8; 17. Breanna Wallace, Creston, 4-10.

Class 3A girls 4x800 — 1. Gilbert, 9:35.6517. Creston, (MaKenna Hudson, Jesse Vicker, Rachel Shepherd, Brielle Baker), 10:10.70.

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