DES MOINES - It would've been impossible to find a person inside Drake Stadium more excited than Carrie Gerdes Friday afternoon as she waited to pick up the first of what she hopes will be many state medals.
And can you blame her? She accomplished something that she never even let herself dream.
"Nope. Never. This never even crossed my mind," Gerdes, a Webster City freshman, said after she long jumped her way to a Class 3A second-place medal at the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships. "I have no words to even describe taking second place as a freshman. It's just unbelievable."
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
WCHS freshman Carrie Gerdes soars towards the sand during the girls’ Class 3A long jump competition at the state meet in Des Moines on Friday. Gerdes stunned even herself by placing second.
Gerdes vaulted herself into the runner-up position on her fourth attempt overall and her first jump of the finals. Her steps and spring off the board were good and when she splashed down she had an idea that she would like the result.
"I think everything just fell into place on that jump," Gerdes said of her personal-record leap of 16 feet, 8.25 inches, which pushed her ahead of eventual third-place finisher Lindsey Jerdee of New Hampton by a quarter-inch. "I could just feel it and it was awesome."
And moments later, everyone within 50 yards of the long jump pit heard Gerdes' reaction.
"I just screamed this very high-pitched scream," she said. "I didn't think I could scream that loud."
Gerdes qualified for the finals with a preliminary-round jump of 16-1. It came on her first attempt and helped to calm her nerves.
"I was very nervous before (the competition) started, but that first jump really calmed me down," she said.
Gerdes scratched on three of her six jumps, but she only needed the one to set herself up as a potential gold-medal contender next season.
"No pressure at all for next year," Gerdes joked. "But I can't wait."
Gerdes' main rival won't be going anywhere though. Mount Pleasant sophomore Leslie Taylor escaped the sand with the top prize after she soared 17-1.5 on her first finals attempt. She already held the lead of 17-1 from the prelims.
Webster City sophomore thrower Kaylee Schnathorst also competed on Friday. She finished 21st in the shot put with a best throw of 34-3.5.