DES MOINES, Iowa — Larkin Chapman and the Muscatine High School girls track and field team wrapped up its three-day trip to the Class 4A Iowa coed state track and field meet by doing what it had done for much of the first two days.
They got results.
Chapman finished second in the 800-meter run Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines in 2 minutes, 13.30 seconds, the fourth medal she earned at the state meet after placing in the 400-meter dash, the distance medley relay and the 4x800 relay.
In all, the Muskie girls finished seventh as a team with 30 points, two points and two places higher than last season.
“That’s definitely an accomplishment for me and my team,” Chapman said. “Although it wasn’t maybe the places that we wanted in some events, I think that this is very good for my team and for me. A confidence boost.”
Linn-Mar’s Stephanie Jenks won the 800 in 2:11.09, two seconds ahead of Chapman’s time. Jenks' winning time was slower than the Muscatine junior’s second-place time of 2:10.80 in last season’s 800.
“I tried to get out with no expectations and just do my own thing and I think I did that,” Chapman said. “Last year, obviously I ran faster, but that’s OK. I just tried to run my race.”
Alphonso Soko capped his second trip to the state meet by becoming the Muscatine boys first placer of the week in the 200-meter dash.
The Muskie sophomore earned his first-ever individual medal with a seventh-place finish in the 200 in 23.08.
“I could’ve done better,” Soko said. “I am proud of making the finals. I have two more years. Just have to learn from this and come back next year even better. Improve my time and now I know what it takes to be in the finals.”
Soko ran in the 400-meter dash last year at state for Cedar Rapids Jefferson, but he didn’t start running the 100 and 200 until halfway through this season.
He felt the switch in distances helped made him a better runner.
“The coaches do a great job every day at practice and I am pretty happy with that,” Soko said. “I have to go into the offseason getting ready for track season next year and I am looking forward to that.”
Two other Muskie girls capped their season by saving their best for last, even if they didn't place.
Brina Kraft set a new personal record in the 1,500-meter run by almost a full three seconds. She finished the race in ninth place in 4:46.49.
“I wanted to get a 4:45, but I am pleased with how I did,” Kraft said. “… I feel if I keep working as hard as I have been working, this winter and even this summer, I feel like next year could be a good chance for me.”
Regan France, meanwhile, ran the 800 at the state meet for the first time and finished in 20th place in 2:23.21, a personal record.
“I just thought of it as a normal 800 and it went by really fast,” France said. “I think I was a little nervous because I was the last seed going in … so I didn’t want to do anything too risky. I think it will definitely push me to go harder next year because I know I can do it.”
For Muscatine senior Brady Eversmeyer, Saturday was his final race on the blue oval at Drake Stadium. He finished 11th in the boys 1,600-meter run in 4:25.60.
“I would’ve liked to split my 800s a little more even. I think it was like 2:06 and 2:19,” Eversmeyer said. “… I kept up the hard effort, but sometimes your legs don’t move as well as you want them to.”
While they were the only area runners in action on the final day of the state meet, the Wapello girls sprint medley team of Karlee Carey, Alexis Talbott, Tiffany Parsons and Aryka Parsons made it count.
They ran a season-best time of 1:55.39 to finish 19th.
“I thought all of us ran a great race,” Carey said. “We are so much better than we were at the beginning of the season. It’s kind of emotional.”
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