CEDAR RAPIDS - After placing fourth at the state wrestling meet last season, Cedar Rapids Kennedy had a few holes to fill.
It appears the Cougars have armed themselves with a corps of promising freshmen.
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DES MOINES — The only person left for Stephanie Jenks to chase is herself.
Thursday morning at the state track meet at Drake Stadium, the sophomore from Linn-Mar outdid herself, breaking her own all-time Iowa best in the 3,000-meter run.
Her new standard: 9 minutes, 24.67 seconds. It’s not only the best all-time in Iowa, it’s No. 2 in the nation this season.
“I keep digging for something new,” she said. “I came back hoping I could improve on (my old mark).”
That was 9:26.87, set at the Drake Relays here four weeks ago. Thursday’s effort was a state-meet record.
As was the case at Drake, against the best distance runners the state has to offer, it was never a race.
Jenks blew out to the lead immediately, clicked off 76- and 77-second laps like clockwork, then closed in 72.
She won by more than a half-minute. It was easy enough the Jenks smiled at a teammate in the stands on her third lap.
“I heard some people laughing (about that),” she said.
Pleasant Valley is the 4A girls’ team leader after the opening day.
Through five events, the Spartans have 24.5 points. Muscatine is second with 22, followed by Urbandale (18.5).
Jenks will compete in the 800 and 1,500 Saturday. Runners are permitted four events, but Jenks will settle for three.
“I’m a team player, but I’m not into relays,” she said. “I’m more focused on the individual aspect of track. I think that will get me further.”
The area’s next best 4A girls’ finisher Thursday was Sarah Plock of Iowa City High, who was fourth in the 400.
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