INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
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CENTRAL CITY — For the past several weeks, Lisbon’s Jack Butteris sat out most of his team’s meets.
Sidelined with a quad injury and patellar tendinitis, Butteris tried to participate in a meet three weeks ago, but the following day left his leg sore.
Fast forward a few weeks, and Butteris burst back onto the scene, qualifying in not just one, but two events for the state meet at Thursday’s Class 1A state-qualifying track and field meet. Butteris won the 400-meter run in 49.57 seconds and took the 200 in 22.68 seconds.
“It wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be,” Butteris said. “But it feels good to qualify and get that out of the way and know that I am going to run fresh at state.”
Butteris credits past disappointments and the support of the Lisbon community to help him recover. “Coming up short last year really motivated me,” he said. “And the community of Lisbon backed me 100 percent. I got texts every day asking how I am doing. Knowing that they care ... I want to do something really good for them.”
Revenge certainly motivated the Maquoketa Valley girls’ shuttle hurdle relay team. North Linn beat the Wildcats at Maquoketa Valley earlier this season, and the two teams have traded first and second at meets all season. “They beat us on our home track, so that got us pretty motivated,” Cassidy Wilson said.
The Wildcats resolved to get one step faster to cross the finish line ahead of North Linn one more time. Maquoketa Valley did just that, crossing the line in 1 minute, 11.12 seconds and securing a spot at the state meet.
“It’s good competition,” Kara Orcutt said. “We just knew we had to work hard. We got a PR and won. Which is heartbreaking for them, but we certainly like it.”
Lisbon’s Thatcher Krob changed pace for a new event this season and help the Lions secure a trip to the state meet. Running the 3,200 meters for just the fifth time, Krob took first place in a time of 10:15.49.
“It’s a lot different than just two laps,” Krob said. “There is a lot more endurance and longer runs. It’s more than just speed work.”
When asked about her favorite event, Springville’s Rylee Menster instantly replied with the long jump. The junior qualified with a leap of 17 feet, 1 inch and reflected on why she prefers the long jump to the 200.
“It’s much less running,” said Menster, who still finished first in the 200 with a time of 26.49. “(The 200) went by pretty fast.”