Meinders rises to a title
AGWSR senior wins shot put, teammate 3rd
DES MOINES — Spooky. Freaky. But cool.
That’s how Caleb Meinders described his Class 1A state title in the shot put Thursday morning. No, he was actually a little more at a loss for words and couldn’t stop smiling after finally achieving a performance that had been eluding him for years. Too many times, during the football and wrestling and past track and field season, on the grand stage, others were able to out-mark the AGWSR senior.
But when diving in a little deep to the details of Meinders’ accomplishment, it was a “a little spooky” at what he had done.
Fifty years to the very day, Darrell “Butch” Jansonius threw the last state-winning shot put throw for Ackley-Geneva. Gas was 33 cents a gallon, movie tickets went for $1.25 and average cost of a new house was $14,250. The year was 1967.
“That’s kind of freaky, but it’s cool,” Meinders said. “It’s great. Coming in here, doing what I had to do, it’s just fantastic. There’s really no words to describe it after you win. Having three kids showing up from the NICL and going first, second and third, that’s icing on top of the cake.”
Meinders snagged top honors for the Cougars with a throw of 55 feet, 3 inches, while Dawson Ellingson from Hudson (NICL East) threw 54-8 1/2 for second. Meinders’ teammate, Nathan Karsjens, shocked the field with a throw of 54-4 in his second-to-last attempt. He was seeded 10th and not projected to make the finals.
“I knew it was a good threw,” Karsjens said. “I’ve only felt that one time earlier this year, and that’s when I threw plus-50. And I knew today was going to be a good day. When you get a good throw out first, you know you don’t have to hold anything back.”
Karsjens had the fourth-best throw in Class 1A coming into the state meet at 50-8. But the competition in the air made everyone a little hungrier for any extra foot they could get.
To make that “icing on the cake” a little sweeter for Meinders, it happened to be a nice birthday present for his father, who was on hand and put the state title medal around his son’s neck. Caleb picked up his dad in bear-hug fashion as the two posed for pictures after the final throws.
“I don’t know, it was just a good day. It’s just a good day,” Meinders said. “This is God’s plan for me. That’s all I’ve said. People have said to me, ‘Wrestling’s not your tournament to win.’ I knew that wasn’t God’s plan for me, but today was.”
Meinders and Karsjens both still have the discus to throw this afternoon at 11:30 a.m. Karsjens is seeded second with district throw of 167-11, while Meinders is No. 17 at 133-8. The pair of throwers will hope to continue a fight in the team race as well.
The AGWSR 4×800-meter relay team of Alec Stahl, Tate Hofmeister, Austin Rekward and Liam Stubbe took fourth in 8 minutes, 12.81 seconds, to grab five more team points.
Brent Janssen doubled in the 200 and 100, finishing 21st (23.95) and 19th (11.64) respectively. After five events scored, the Cougars were second place in the team race with 21 points, just behind Lisbon with 22.
Grames the gamer
Grundy Center’s Will Grames shocked himself and the long jump field Thursday, as he took eighth place and medaled in his first state appearance. The freshman jumper went for 19-7 1/4 after being seeded 19th overall. He was accompanied by senior teammate Bryce Flater, who took fifth with a jump of 19-11 1/4 in his final state meet appearance.
Afterward, the pair poke and prodded at each other, enjoying the spoils of their state medal. Grames found it hard to necessarily find the words to describe the moment.
“When I got here, I was pretty nervous,” Grames said. “Eventually, after the first few jumps, the nerves went away and I jumped my best.”
Grames gave credit to having his senior teammate on his side, though. Flater added he did his best to pump up one of only two freshmen in the field of state jumpers.
“Will, he gets pretty nervous. And when he jumped his first two, and he wasn’t happy with them, I went up to him and said, ‘You just need to relax and jump,'” Flater said. “Because I know he can jump. He’s a freshman, and he’s jumping way farther than I was when I was a freshman. I’m just excited I got to watch him grow. At districts, I watched him jump 20-3, and then he made it down here to state and got eighth. He handles adversity very well.”
Grames said Flater was the voice on his shoulder he needed to get through to finals.
“Without him, I would’ve been pretty tense,” Grames said. “He makes it easier to jump.”
Other 1A boys action
Caleb Cobbs said his 3,200 was a bittersweet race. The Colo-NESCO distance runner clocked a 10:00.27 to place ninth, just a spot away from medaling. He said despite running a 10-flat two-mile, he wasn’t able to find the podium. He said that just goes to show how deep the event was this season.
Colo-NESCO’s Wayne Beard was also on hand Thursday, running an 11.64 in the 100 preliminaries. He did not qualify for the finals Saturday, placing 11th.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck had a relay and a solo event Thursday. The 4×800 team of Matt Johannsen, Hunter Lott, Colton Clark and Parker Bown took 19th in a time of 8:38.69. Erik Knaack also jumped 18-10 3/4 in the long jump, good enough for 13th place.
Action resumes today beginning at 9 a.m. with field events and the girls 1A and 4A distance medley finals.