PELLA — Kate Patton had simple goals for the final day of her athletic career.
The former four-sport star at Murray High School ran in six races in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference track and field meet last weekend in front of the home fans at Central College.
“Honestly, I just wanted to leave it all out on the rack and end on a high note,” Patton said. “Warming up for the 4x400, getting ready to go out there, I kind of gave all of the senior boys a high five, and they kind of gave me a hug and said, ‘Hey, good luck. You can do it!’ I think that’s when it finally set in, that this was it.”
In Friday’s preliminaries, Patton qualified for the finals in both the 100 and 200 meters. She also ran Saturday on the 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay for the Dutch.
Seeded fifth after running 12.65 in the 100 prelims, Patton finished fourth in 12.79 in the finals. Seeded ninth in the 200 going into the meet, Patton made the finals and placed eighth in 26.08.
“Making the finals of the 200 was questionable, so I squeaked in there and got eighth,” Patton said. “I was super happy making the finals in both. I had never done that in my career. I think I made the finals of the 100 my freshman year, but I didn’t my sophomore or junior years.”
Patton ran the leadoff leg of the 4x100 relay and the Dutch were doing well until the second exchange, which resulted in a disqualification after a botched handoff not completed until the runners were out of the zone.
“That was kind of rough,” Patton said. “The 4x100 we won my freshman and sophomore years, so we were always kind of dominant. We messed up the 4x200 as well indoors, so that was unfortunate. We were thinking maybe third, fourth or fifth in the 4x1 this year.”
Patton ran the second leg of the 4x400 in her final race. The Dutch placed fourth in 4:02.16. During the final stage of her career, Patton was able to get her splits in the 59.5 range as a regular member of the 4x400. That’s two seconds faster than her best time in high school.
Patton had many collegiate options coming out of Murray as a senior, when she was honored as a finalist for the 2014 South Central Iowa Female Athlete of the Year award from the Creston News Advertiser and Osceola Sentinal Tribune.
In volleyball she set school records as a setter with 666 career assists and an average of 7.84 per set.
She became Murray’s all-time leading scorer in basketball with 1,340 career points, as well as setting school standards with 429 points in a season, 31 points in a game and 442 career steals. As a senior, she averaged 18.7 points, ranked third in Class 1A with 139 steals and was 11th in 1A with 99 assists. She was named to the 1A all-state second team.
As a softball pitcher, Patton was 24-3 her senior year with a 1.61 ERA and 165 strikeouts with only 31 walks. She batted .422 with five home runs, 29 RBIs and 21 steals without getting thrown out. She was a five-time all-state honoree, including first team as a senior. She started 170 consecutive games for coach Danny Jensen.
In track, Patton was Bluegrass Conference champion in the 100, 200 and 400 meters and was fourth in the long jump. She was 14th in the Drake Relays in the high school girls 100 meter dash in 12.87. She was fourth in the Class 1A state meet in 12.86 and third in the 200 in 26.32. She ranked 16th in the 400 in 1:02.93.
Patton is part of the school record in the 4x400 relay and holds the marks in the 100, 200 and 400.
It was track that she chose as a college career at Central, and Patton had no regrets as she took off her running spikes for the final time late Saturday afternoon.
“It was very cool to run here for the last meet,” Patton said. “We were fortunate to host the indoor and outdoor (conference meets) this year. That’s huge. You look in the crowed and you know all of those students. They’re all cheering for you.”
Patton was part of a class of eight newcomers on the team her freshman year. Her and fellow sprinter Anna Shaw are the only ones left.
“I know there’s not a lot of college students who stick out track for all four years,” Patton said. “But, I’m glad I did. That’s something I think I’m going to miss the most. Just coming to practice every single day with all of your best friends. We just all created a bond.”
Patton received Central’s award for top grade point average among all female athletes, graduating with a 3.93 GPA in psychology. On June 1 she begins full-time work as a family consultant at Mid-Iowa Family Therapy Clinic in Windsor Heights.
“If children are taken away from their caregivers by DHS, I go in and interact with them and see if it would work to get them back in their care,” Patton said. “I help them set goals, talk about (family) rules. We help make a determination. I have already been working part time there and I enjoy it.”