DES MOINES — Panorama’s Devyn Kemble stood in the blocks in lane seven in the second heat of three heats in the girls Class 2A 400 at the State Track Meet Thursday.
Lane seven of heat two belongs to the 14th fastest qualifier out of 24 runners (she entered with a 1 minutes, 1.29 second time), and is not a spot normally considered a threat to earn a top-eight medal.
Apparently no one bothered to tell Kemble, who exploded through her first 200 meters then slowly pulled away to dominate her heat, finishing in 58.8 seconds. She stood near the finish line on the Drake Stadium infield, watching as the first three finishers in the third heat topped her time, but knew that meant she was fourth-fastest in all of 2A at 400 meters.
“Last year was a down year for me, and I had run in the 58’s as a freshman and have wanted all year to get back to that and I did,” Kemble smiled. “I knew I had to go out hard and run the first 200 (meters) like it was an open 200 (dash), because I knew if I wasn’t in front in the last corner I wouldn’t be able to make up the stagger.”
No worry, as none of the other competitors were close.
“I wanted to get that time, but I was also wanting to place,” she admitted, “so to do both is great — I feel great.”
Kemble will be in action today at 7 p.m. when she joins Bailey Beckman, Morgan Johnk and Brooke Halterman for the 4×400 preliminaries.
Beckman competed in the long jump Thursday, sailing 15 feet, 11 inches on the second of her three jumps to finish 12th overall.
Brianna Hoffman, Brooklyn Behrends, Emily Smith and Lydia Lindstrom ran the 4×800 for the Panthers. The foursome finished 22nd in 10:28.88, but with Hoffman a junior, Behrends and Smith sophomores and Lindstrom only a freshman, the quartet gained valuable state meet experience that can be put to use for the next few seasons.
Freshmen Maggie Woodvine and Payton Douglass, junior Maddie Knapp and sophomore Morgan Johnk ran the shuttle hurdle for the Panther girls. Having entered as the 13-seed in 1:10.02, the quartet dropped their time to 1:09.56.
Unfortunately, that missed a finals qualifying spot by just .06 seconds, leaving Panorama ninth in the event.
The Panther boys were represented in the 200 and 400 by Spencer Hunt. The sophomore has the 24th and final qualifying time in the 200 at 23.83 seconds, but erupted to run a 23.05, improving to 16th place.
The 16-seed in the 400, Hunt turned his qualifying 52.08 in the 400 into a 51.95, finishing 16th.
Panorama will be busy this afternoon, with Lydia Knapp competing in the discus at 2 p.m. while Matthew Webner and Daniel Jensen will throw in the boys discus at 4:30 p.m. Also at 4:30 p.m. is the girls high jump, where Johnk has the second-best qualifying height.
Before jumping, Johnk will run, at 3:40 p.m., in the preliminaries of the 100 hurdles, where she is seeded seventh.
The Panthers will run in the girls sprint medley at 9 a.m. Saturday, with Kemble, the seven-seed, to run in the 800 at 10:30 a.m. Beckman, Kemble, Halterman and Carson Fisher will run the relay.
If Johnk advances in the 100 hurdles she will compete in the finals of the vent at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, while — if they advance — the 4×400 team would run at 3:55 p.m.