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052017-state-track-019

West Liberty's Tanner Iske, right, races to a second-place finish in the finals of the 100-meter dash at last season's state track and field meet in Des Moines. The goal this year for the senior sprinter is to get his first title. 

DES MOINES — West Liberty’s Tanner Iske gave up his Saturday mornings this track season for a moment Saturday that wouldn’t last much longer than 10 seconds.

This, the sprinter said, was to prepare him for running in cold conditions.

He didn’t even take Sundays off, instead saving that time for block work and accelerations with his trainer.

“Combining that with my work ethic makes good results at track meets,” Iske said.

On the final day of the state track and field meet, as a persistent cold front continued to linger over Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iske witnessed the payoff.

The junior ended his season with a second-place finish in the 100 final in 11.09 seconds.

“Seeing my name up on that board means a lot to me,” Iske said. “It’s a real amazing sight.”

The best part for Iske, though, could be what’s to come now that he’s seen how much difference a change in mindset and work ethic can make.

“Last year during practice I wouldn’t be the first one to finish,” Iske said. “… But this year I made sure I was the first one to finish every race, and I gave it 100 percent every time. The hard work I put in this summer I think paid off a lot with me and my teammates just pushing them to be the best they can be.”

Iske, however, didn't take all of the credit for his success on the track.

“Hearing my mom and my trainers just telling me that I’m looking better and improving every single day and every single meet just pushes me to [believe] that I can compete with the best,” Iske said.

With West Burlington-Notre Dame’s Isaiah Trousil, the winner of the 100, graduating this year, Iske appears to be an early favorite to win the event at next year’s state meet.

And with a bright future, Iske doesn't plan on taking his senior season lightly.

“Work a lot harder and try to be humble — I think those are the two major keys I need to focus on, and I’ll be all right to go,” Iske said.

The Comets finished 19th in the 3A boys team standings with 14 points. Marion won the title with 69 points.

In other area competition, Louisa-Muscatine’s Lani Hillard closed her high school track and field career with a second medal at the state meet.

The senior finished fourth in the 2A 200 final in 26.12 seconds. Ryan Santi of Madrid won the race in 25.54.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Hillard said. “It’s been very emotional, it being the last time here [for me], and I just wanted to come out and perform and leave the legacy I want to. I’m very happy with everything I’ve done.”

With only .25 seconds separating the sprinters in third and sixth place, Hillard knew she would need to close strong.

“I was [trying] to keep driving my knees, pumping my arms and trying to do everything that coaches told me to do at the end,” Hillard said.

Hillard was the only scorer for Louisa-Muscatine, earning six points from a third-place performance in the long jump Thursday and five points in the 200.

Louisa-Muscatine tied for 20th in the team standings with 11 points. Cascade won the 2A girls title with 65 points.

While Hillard competed in her last state track meet, Wilton’s Buddy Darting is just settling in.

The freshman finished the boys 2A 1,600 in 23rd in 4 minutes, 52 seconds, and the 3,200 in 22nd in 10:16.74. The most impressive part was that he was the only ninth grader in both events.

“It was a great experience, and I’m glad I got to come,” Darting said. “I didn’t get the outcome I wanted, but I still got the good experience.”

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