Garber, Comets collect more medals

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON • BCLUW junior Jack Garber clears a hurdle during the shuttle hurdle relay on Saturday in the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships. Garber and the Comets placed seventh in the event, while Garber finished third in the 110-meter high hurdles.

DES MOINES — All season long, BCLUW junior Jack Garber had one goal: To finish the year as the Class 1A 110-meter high hurdles champion.

On Saturday at the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships, Garber finally had his chance to shine, running in the fourth lane of the 110 hurdle finals after entering with the top qualifying mark.

Once the gun sounded, Garber shot out like a bullet, but a few hurdles in, his speed started to reduce.

“I got out really, really fast, I beat everyone to the first few hurdles, then I think I hit one really hard because my knee is in a lot of pain right now,” he said after the race. “That threw me off pretty badly and I saw those guys getting out in front of me, which made me lose focus.”

Garber would match his personal-best time of 14.79 seconds, the fourth time he has matched the current Comet record, but the time slated him in third place.

T-R PHOTO BY STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD • Philip Bower readies to leap over the final hurdle on the last leg of the Class 1A shuttle hurdle relay Saturday at the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships. The Colo-NESCO squad took sixth in a time of 1 minute, 1.53 seconds.

Though that was the highest placing for Garber ever in the state meet, it was far from his stated goal of finishing on top.

“My time was good, but obviously I needed to run a lot better than that,” he said. “It’s disappointing to come this far when you are supposed to win, then not win. It’s not too much fun.”

Garber finished the state meet with a medal in every event, adding a sixth place in the 400 hurdles and a seventh in both the sprint medley and shuttle hurdle relays.

“I would trade all of those medals for the right one,” Garber said.

The BCLUW boys had one last chance to earn yet another medal in the 4×100 on Saturday, with the team of Ben Paper, Connor Thompson, Logan Mann and Troy Dolphin trying to send out head coach Les Penick with one last medal before he retired.

The boys accomplished that goal, placing seventh with a time of 45.59, and Dolphin said all he was thinking about on the anchor leg was placing for Penick.

“It was nice to get two medals today not only for myself but for Mr. Penick,” Dolphin, who also anchored the shuttle hurdle, said. “Shuttle Hurdle got a medal, Jack got a medal, so that makes him four events for him in his last meet.”

Paper was the lone junior on the relay, and he said next season will be odd without his relay teammates and his coach.

“All I am going to say is I am going to miss these boys with all of my heart because I am going to have some pretty big shoes to fill,” Paper said. “I am going to miss them as well as Penick, I’m going to miss them with all my heart.”

Finishing just ahead of the Comets in the shuttle hurdle was the Colo-NESCO contingent of Matthew Hill, Devin Reed, Kelly Gray and Philip Bower, who ran a time of 1:01.53 to take sixth in the 1A finals.

Reed said he was mainly focused on not disqualifying the boys while waiting for the exchange with Hill for the second leg.

“The scariest thing would have to be timing it that way you aren’t jumping out too soon, because nothing is more disappointing than getting down to the finish line and realizing you disqualified,” Reed said. “It’s sketch at first but something to get used to.”

Gray said it’s jarring when he thinks about how far this Royals shuttle hurdle has come this year.

“We came in the first meet running like a 1:07, and now we just qualified for the finals and did all this here, it was pretty sweet,” Gray said.