DES MOINES, Iowa — For most of the season, Brinn Grunder put up some of the best throws in the shot put in Class 2A.
The Durant High School junior thrower entered the first day of the 2A Iowa coed state track and field meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines with the fifth-best state-qualifying throw in the event, and she didn't want to fall below that line.
Grunder didn’t finish in fifth, though, as her throw of 40 feet, 11.5 inches was good enough to wind up in third place, earning her first-ever state medal.
“It feels amazing,” Grunder said. “Be consistent and at least throw above 39 [feet] was the goal.”
Grunder reached 39 feet on her first two throws of the day — 39-3.25 and 39-0.75 — which were good enough to qualify her for the finals.
It was a throw that didn’t count that got Grunder’s competitive juices flowing, though.
On her third throw, Grunder had a toss she thought might have hit 42 feet, which would've been a personal-best.
She scratched, though, and the impressive throw didn’t count.
“I was really pumped after that throw,” said Grunder, who reached 40 feet on all her finals throws. “I just scratched it and I was thinking maybe they didn’t see it. It was a good throw.”
Davis County’s Katie Birchmier won the shot put with a throw of 43-9, but she is a senior. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central’s Kiana Phelps, a junior, was second at 42-8.5.
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And while Grunder's third-place throw was still shorter than her school-record put of 41-7 earlier this year, it was five feet better than her throw of 35-4 at last year’s state meet when she finished in 14th place and gave her even more hope for the future.
“It gets me excited and motivated for next year,” Grunder said. “Sets the bar pretty high. … Shows me how good I can throw.”
His effort Thursday gave Mauricio Ramirez reason to look toward the future, too, after leaping a season-best 21-7 in the long jump to finish fifth.
After a tip from West Branch’s Cooper Koenig, Ramirez used a hip slide on his landing instead of ending on his feet. The change is exactly what it sounds like: Instead of landing on his feet, Ramirez landed on his hip.
“I am pretty excited about that,” Ramirez said. “I am excited for next year because I can work on my hip landing. That’s the first time I have ever tried it. … It worked out. I got a personal best.”
Ramirez came into the event seeded fifth despite having to compete against two of the best 2A jumpers in Koenig and West Burlington/Notre Dame’s Xavier Williams at a state-qualifying meet.
Once he got to state, Ramirez also had to jump against the Drake Relays champion — Clear Lake’s Chandler Diercks, who won the event with a leap of 23-3¼ — but still earned his second state medal.
“I was hoping to medal, that’s it,” Ramirez said. “I am jumping with the best of the best. I think 2A is probably the most stacked class in Iowa.”
In other area action Thursday:
- Durant's Alyssa Williams finished in 13th place in 11:11.14 in the girls 3,000-meter run.
- Columbus' Shania Boyd jumped 15-2 to finish in 18th place in the girls long jump.
- In the girls 400-meter dash, Wapello's Aryka Parsons was 14th in 1:01.33, West Liberty's Tatum Koenig was 18th in 1:02.38 and Wapello's Tiffany Parsons was 19th in 1:03.66.
- Wilton's Cody Navarro was 18th in the 400-meter dash in 52.53, while teammate Evan Reifert was 20th in 52.59.
- Wapello's boys 4x800 meter relay team of AJ Ponce, Tariq Green, Brandon Chenoweth and Logan Belzer finished 20th in 8:28.06.