DES MOINES — Eldon Warner liked the beginning of his big day at state much more than the end.
The Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson senior posted a personal best and earned a top-eight medal in the Class 4-A boys 800 meters Saturday morning at Drake Stadium. But he faded into the pack for the afternoon 1,600 and finished more than eight seconds slower than his time at his qualifying meet.
West Des Moines Dowling's Ryan Schweizer won the 1,600, clocking a 4:17.66 to Warner's 4:34.82, which sent the Yellow Jacket to 18th.
But Warner's 800 time, 1:55.16, was good for fifth in a talented field led by Schweizer (1:53.14). The Thomas Jefferson distance standout listened to advice from his coaches and avoided getting boxed in by the herd during his state debut in an individual event.
"It's fantastic; a year ago I wouldn't have even made it in the open," Warner said. "It's just great knowing that the hard work I did over the summer and during the winter paid off. It's such a great feeling."
C.B. Abraham Lincoln's Avery Thomas felt similarly vindicated after crossing seventh in the 110 high hurdles in a PR 15.12 seconds. After landing second in the long jump Friday, the sophomore returns home with two medals.
Thomas said he's more musician than athlete — he plays viola, jazz bass and saxophone, while track is his only sport. At the same time, his weekend showing on the oval has him as motivated as ever to improve next spring.
"You just kind of get out there and hope you do your best, and I did," Thomas said. "A lot of people say track is mind over matter. But your body has to take over your mind. When I get out there, I can't think — I just have to do."
Sioux City East's Ross Godfrey (eighth in the 100) was western Iowa's other boys medalist. Acquiring hardware for the girls was Sioux City West's Khenadi Jones in both the 100 (third) and 200 (sixth).