When do you win a state championship and still aren’t happy?
When you are Abu Sama and your goal is to long jump 25 feet.
The Southeast Polk junior, who already owns the Iowa all-time best in the long jump with a jump of 24 feet, 10 inches, now owns the Class 4A state meet record and a state title after clearing 24-2 3/4 on a cloudy, drizzly, chilly Friday morning at Drake Stadium.
While the feat would have been enough to make most athletes at least smile, looking at Sama afterward, one would have thought he had just finished last.
That is how high Sama has set his own standards.
“No, I’m not at all (satisfied). I’m going to keep working hard so I can come back here and get that mark,” Sama said when asked if he was satisfied with the winning jump.
Trey Campbell of Cedar Falls took second with a jump of 22-11 3/4.
While Sama may not have been thrilled with the winning jump, he had the crowds in the front stretch into each and every one of his jumps.
“I just like to come out here and compete and show them what I can do,” Sama said. “The feeling is a lot different. In football, I am working with my teammates and sharing that feeling with my teammates. Out here, I just kind of get into it myself.”
Considering he was injured at last year’s state meet, Sama was pleased to win the state title. That 25-foot jump will have to wait another year.
“Last year, I only long jumped 23-5 and I was still hurt. This year I made a big improvement getting over 24,” Sama said.
A first for Ankeny girls track program
Ankeny has won more state track championships than you can shake a stick at. But never before had it won the girls distance medley.
The team of Lillian Smith, Zoe Shadravan, Eva Fulk and Allie Macke changed all that.
The three upperclassmen put Macke, a freshman, in position to finish it off. Macke did not let her teammates down, crossing the finish line in 4:05.44 to give Ankeny its first 4A state championship in the girls distance medley relay.
“They’re all older than me, so I wanted to do it for them, especially Eva, who will be leaving after this year. It’s just nice to be a freshman and help us get the win,” Macke said. “Being the only freshman on this team and being the anchor, I was really nervous. I just wanted to do my best for them. At the end of the day, we got the win. It was worth the pressure because being able to do it for them was amazing.”
Macke credited the stamina she built up through soccer with helping her maintain the lead on the finishing 800-meter leg.
“I’ve done soccer all my life, so I have always been in good shape,” Macke said. “I do cross country in the fall, which really helps because you are going really fast, but for less time. Just being in soccer really helps.”
A first for Dowling Catholic, too
The Maroons had never won the boys 4×200 relay before. The quartet of Kaden Emanuel, Mikey McClain, Andrew Bliss and Carson Brown made school history, bringing home the 4A state title in the event in 1:27.50, just .03 ahead of Cedar Rapids Washington.
Making it all the more satisfying was the fact that Dowling won the race from the second heat. The Maroons crossed their fingers and held their collective breaths as Washington almost beat their time.
“I knew the third heat was going to be really fast. Cedar Rapids Washington has a great team. We just had to beat them by a few seconds,” Brown said. “It feels great. We’ve never won the 4×2, but I can call myself and all my teammates state champs now.”
Madrid goes back to back
Madrid successfully defended its Class 1A state championship in the girls 4×200 relay, winning in 1:43.29, a season-best. With Ella Santi running the anchor leg, Madrid polished off the field to win by nearly four seconds.
“I was just happy we won,” said Santil, who added to her four goal medals won at last year’s state meet. “Knowing we beat the state record, that was just incredible. There’s nothing quite like it. I love everything so much.”
Ryce Reynolds stuns Kole Becker in 400 hurdles
Ryce Reynolds came into the state meet with no expectations of himself.
By the end of Friday, the Mount Ayr sophomore had two state championships to his credit. Reynolds, who won the 1A 400 on Thursday, added the 400 hurdles title to his growing collection on Friday.
Reynolds won the race, and upset defending champion Kole Becker of Lisbon, in stunning fashion.
Reynolds drew Lane 8 after having a bad race at the state qualifying meet last week. Despite having no one in front of him to gauge his pace, Reynolds held off the field, winning in 53.03.
Becker took second in 53.86.
From zero to two state titles in as many days, Reynolds is making a name for himself, and putting Mount Ayr on the sate track map.
“I came here and I wasn’t expecting any state championship, let alone two. It’s an amazing feeling. It’s unreal,” Reynolds said. “In Lane 8, I knew I had to get out and I wasn’t going to see anyone the whole race until the very end. I was definitely running scared and I think that helped me out. I knew they were going to be coming up right at the end, just like Drake.”
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Southeast Polk’s Abu Sama wins Class 4A long jump at Iowa state track