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Garber caps career with 110-meter hurdles title

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - BCLUW senior Jack Garber, middle, closes in on the finish line on his way to winning the Class 1A 110-meter high hurdles on Saturday in the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium. Garber was the first hurdle champion for the Comets since his brother, Will, won in 2015.

DES MOINES — A tired, sun-beaten and weary Jack Garber lined up in the blocks for his final run of the day and his most anticipated event of the Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships: the Class 1A boys 110-meter high hurdle finals.

As the BCLUW senior waited for the gun to sound, the thoughts of his second-place finish at the Drake Relays, his third-place finish a year ago, his second-place finish in the 400 hurdles on Friday, his second-place finish in the shuttle hurdle earlier in the day, they all gathered at the back of his mind.

Then the race started, and less than 15 seconds later all his past mistakes, all his close-but-not first finishes, they all melted away as his toe crossed the line first and the scoreboard read, “No. 1: Garber, BCLUW, 14.80.”

“I had just pictured that moment in my head for so long, and to finally get it, I was just starstruck. I was kind of staring around, trying to take everything,” Garber said, pausing to collect his composure. “Obviously I’m very emotional from it because I finally got it.”

Garber entered the race as the top qualifier, just as he had a year ago when he finished third, but this time he was determined to not be last even with a strong head wind blowing directly in his face.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - BCLUW senior Jack Garber, left, celebrates after crossing the finish line ahead of Lynnville-Sully’s Gage Vander Leest, right, and the rest of the field in the Class 1A 110-meter high hurdles final on Saturday in Des Moines. Garber won with a time of 14.80 seconds.

“It wasn’t even pretty, with that wind you’re stuck in the air for a long time and it just throws everything off,” he said. “I hit a couple of them but I had to push through and get that. I couldn’t get second again, I’ve gotten second way too many times.”

Garber had already accomplished so much in his career, including setting four BCLUW school records, but this was the last thing he needed to check off. Now he joins his brother, Will, as a state champion in the 110 high hurdles. He also had his sights set on breaking the 1A state record of 14.41, a time he hit and beat in the Drake Relays less than a month ago, but given his workload for the total meet and the conditions he wasn’t disappointed about not getting that mark.

“I am shot after these last three days, I think I ran seven races and three in this hour stretch,” he said. “I kind of had accepted that I wasn’t going to get that record just because of the wear and tear on my body and the wind and everything.”

Before even running in his final race as a Comet, Garber had two races to warm him up, or wear him down. In the shuttle hurdle, the team of Coby Willett, Koty Kruse, Neifer Ralston and Garber just missed out on a state title by taking second with a 1:00.89, which Garber said was hard to get over.

“Were pretty disappointed with the shuttle, that’s not what we wanted,” he said. “That’s an amazing group of guys, we just couldn’t get it done on the one day, we were No. 1 all year but we just couldn’t get it done on one day out of the entire year. I am so proud of those guys.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - BCLUW’s Caleb Silver (6) overtakes Bishop Garrigan’s John Meis, left, and Chase Knoche of Calamus-Wheatland down the homestretch of the Class 1A 1,600-meter run on Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Silver, a senior, finished in fifth place with a time of 4 minutes, 38 seconds.

Garber then took eighth in the 100 just before his 110 high hurdles, though he admitted he might have subconsciously not run that race as strong as he could.

None of that matters now, however, as Garber goes out on top in his final race.

“It’s nice to finally have that title and be able to put it away on that note. It doesn’t feel real that it’s over, it feels like I have a lot left to go but I don’t, at least at the high school stage,” he said. “It’s kind of sad that I will never get to run as a Comet again with those guys, there’s a couple more things I would like to do but I am extremely happy with what I’ve done. And to finally cap it off with that state championship, it’s what I’ve been dreaming of forever.”

One other BCLUW senior went out fighting and coming away with a medal as well. Caleb Silver had a tough first race of his final state meet, as he missed out on a placing in the 3,200 on Thursday after coming in seeded seventh.

He got a chance for redemption on Saturday in the 1,600, and after the first three laps Silver was sitting in a good spot to place. On the penultimate 200 he started to drop back though, and as the boys reached the final kick he had fallen far enough behind that he was out of medal contention.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“That last lap was tough but I knew I had more in me,” Silver said. “I started counting the guys, I was right on eighth but then [Grundy Center senior Derrick Ciddio] passed me and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go.’ I gave it that last little push of adrenaline and got myself up a few spots. The finish is what matters.”

Silver flew through the final 100 on the home stretch and did more than just close gaps, he worked himself into fifth place with a time of 4:38, his best time of his career. After the tough run in the 3,200 on Thursday, he said coming into the 1,600 he wanted to give it his all and be proud of how he finished his career.

“I just had to keep that focus on what I could really do here,” Silver, who was also a sixth-place medalist at the state cross country meet, said. “Thursday wasn’t my day but I had to take today as a new day and a new opportunity. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be able to come down here and run and represent God and my team.”

Coming into the day, the BCLUW boys had just eight team points. They piled up 23 overall on the final day of competition and climbed all the way to sixth place with 31 points.

“I am just so proud of these guys,” first-year Comet boys head coach Anthony Jahr said. “Coming down for this three-day meet, it’s just such a mental and physical grueling event and for our guys to show up the way they did was great. We did a lot of good things, some things went better than we thought and some things didn’t do as well as we thought, but that’s what happens when you’re down here.

“It’s just crazy, I am so super proud of everything these guys have done, especially this weekend.”

Class 1A — 1. George-Little Rock 52, 2. Council Bluffs St. Albert 42, 3. Calamus-Wheatland 41, 4. Lynnville-Sully 36, 5. Fort Dodge St. Edmond; 6. BCLUW 31, 24. GMG 10, 38. North Tama 6.