Photo by Rob Howe
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – A year ago at this time Caroline Schaeckenbach was a rookie hurdler making her Drake Relays debut.
On Saturday Schaeckenbach put her Drake Relays experience to good use.
Schaeckenbach clocked a career-best time of 1:04.05 on her way to a runner-up finish in the 400 hurdles on a cool, wet and windy day at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Glenwood senior Janette Schraft pull in front of Schaeckenbach over the final 10 meters to win the title in 1:03.21.
“I felt really strong,” Schaeckenbach said. “I tried to get out really fast because I know that happens at Drake if you don’t get out fast you fall behind really fast. I tried to do that and I tried to pick it up a little bit earlier than I normally do and having her right there helped me maintain it.”
Schaeckenbach gave hurdling a try for the first time last year and had instant success.
She was seventh at the Drake Relays a year ago and went on to finish fourth at the Class 4A state meet.
On Saturday Schaeckenbach showed how far she had come in the last year.
Schaeckenbach took nearly a second off her previous career-best time of 14.91 on Saturday and was more than a second and a half faster than her Drake Relays time from last year.
“That was really exciting because I’ve been working really hard on it,” Schaeckenbach said. “God really has blessed me and made me fast and I’m trying to use that.”
Schaeckenbach and Schraft established themselves as the leaders early.
Schraft and Schaeckenbach entered with the top two times in the state this spring separated by just a second.
The duo was nearly dead even approaching the final hurdle.
Schaeckenbach caught part of the 10th hurdle and stumbled allowing Schraft the opening she needed to earn her first Drake Relays title.
“I was right with Janette over the last hurdle and my leg, I just started to trip,” Schaeckenbach said. “I wish I would have kept going because I felt like I had her but it’s o.k., she’s a really great racer.”
Schraft, who also began hurdling last year and was third at the Drake Relays last season, lowered her career-best time by more than a second in the win.
It was an impressive performance by a pair of athletes that have been competing in the 400 hurdles for just a year.
“It’s hard to like it right away because it hurts so much but I feel like once you get used to it I enjoy how competitive it can be,” Schaeckenbach said of the hurdles. “Especially at Drake it’s exciting to have someone right there all the time.”
Schaeckenbach also helped the City High shuttle hurdle relay team to a fifth-place finish on Saturday.
The City High foursome of Te’Nia Ansley, Jordan Sekafetz, Kate Swenning and Caroline Schaeckenbach finished in 1:06.18.
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