Waterloo High School junior Jenna Schwartz was attempting to win the distance running triple crown Saturday at the IHSA Class 2A state track meet in Charleston.
She already won the state cross country title in the fall, and was attempting to win both the 3,200-meter and 1,600-meter events this spring.
Schwartz cruised to first place in the 3,200, but ran out of gas late in the 1,600 to place seventh.
“It was an exciting experience, for sure,” Schwartz told the Republic-Times. “I knew it would be tough to win a track state title, but winning in cross country helped my confidence.”
In the 3,200, Schwartz said she didn’t run a particularly fast time as she knew she had to also run the 1,600 later in the day.
“I was trying to conserve some energy,” she said.
Schwartz won the 3,200 with a time of 11:01.86, which was nearly nine seconds ahead of second place finisher Campbell Petersen of Dunlap.
On Friday, Schwartz qualified for the 1,600 final with the top overall time of 5:08.94 in the prelims.
In the 1,600 final on Saturday, Schwartz led for most of the race before falling back at the very end. Petersen won with a time of 5:05.97. Schwartz finished seventh with a time of 5:11.97.
“It was my first year running it, and I did what I thought I needed to do to win,” she said. “I probably should’ve worked the middle harder.
“It was a good experience and I’ll try to get back to state next year.”
Waterloo track coach Larry Huffman was happy with Schwartz’s effort at state.
“I am super proud of how she performed at state,” Huffman said. “Not only was her 3,200 championship amazing, I was proud of how much she pushed herself through tired legs to get an all-state performance in the 1,600.”
Schwartz plans to train hard this summer in preparation for the cross country season this fall.
“I’m just going to have another good summer of training with my cross country team,” Schwartz said. “Our whole top seven is returning, so I think we’ll be pretty good.”
Also at state, Waterloo sophomore Maddie Valerius competed in the 400 meter run, finishing with a time of 1:00.73 in Friday’s prelims.
In Class 1A, Dupo’s Annalese Gill competed in the shot put at state, throwing 32-05.75 in the prelims; Gibault’s Nicole Lindsey ran a prelim time of 16.938 in the 100 meter high hurdles.