Glenwood's Janette Schraft wins 'most grueling' event at Drake Relays, the 400 hurdles

Glenwood senior Janette Schraft won her first Drake Relays title in the 400 hurdles Saturday.

DES MOINES – Janette Schraft embraces the aspects of track and field others despise.

So in what’s largely considered the most grueling high school event, with wind chills in the low 30s, the Glenwood senior couldn’t have been more excited on Saturday to run the 400 hurdles.

“I think it’s the fearlessness and grit,’’ she said. “I’ve always just been the type of person that really likes to attack things. ... Metaphorically and literally, I just don’t want barriers to ever stop me from doing something that I want to do.’’

Iowa City High junior Caroline Schaeckenbach pulled even with Schraft at the ninth hurdle, but the Rams star kept her composure. And when Schaeckenbach stumbled briefly after the 10th hurdle, Schraft pulled away to claim her first Drake Relays championship. She won in 1:03.21, with Schaeckenbach placing second in 1:04.05.

“I told my teammates the other day, ‘I just want to win so badly,’’’ Schraft said. “Even though winning’s not everything, I just like the feeling of being able to finally say that I worked so hard and I finally have something to show for it. It’s a great, great feeling.’’

Neither Schraft nor Schaeckenbach started hurdling until 2018. Schraft’s first 400 hurdles was April 19th of last year, and nine days later, she finished third in the event at Drake in 1:03.18.

This year, Schraft finished fourth in the 3,000 on Thursday and fifth in the 800 on Friday.

“It made me so hungry,’’ she said. “It made me want to come out here and just go even harder in the four lows because I knew this was one of my last shots.

“It’s kind of crazy that this is the event that fell into place for me. I never in my life imagined being a Drake Relays champion in anything until this year.’’

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In the 400 hurdles final, Schraft was in Lane 4 with Schaeckenbach in Lane 5. She said that was “definitely helpful, because I knew how close she was.’’

They were near the lead throughout the race. Their lead legs landed simultaneously after the ninth hurdle.

“Physically, I’m thinking, ‘I’ve still got a whole lot left in me. I’ve got to power through these hurdles. Even though I don’t have the best hurdle form and I’m probably not the best hurdler, there are girls that are here because of their hurdle form, so I’ve just got to get in between the hurdles,’’’ Schraft said.

Schraft had a slim lead when they cleared the 10th hurdle. Schaeckenbach stumbled and Schraft pulled away.

As the seven-time state champion clutched her white flag, Schraft said she felt she had an advantage in the miserable conditions.

“I love the cold and the rain,’’ she said. “When I was on the track before they started the race and I felt the rain start to come down, I was just like, ‘This is it. This is the one.’ … There’s just something about that this-isn’t-going-to-be-easy factor that makes me want to fight even harder.’’

Schraft returned later in the afternoon and finished seventh in the 1,500 in 4:48.63. Sioux City Heelan junior Amber Aesoph was second in the race (4:42.45), and Bedford senior Emma Lucas was sixth (4:48.39).

Only the top six Drake finishers earn medals, and Treynor senior Jerry Jorgenson joined that select group with a sixth-place finish in the 1,600, clocking a personal-best 4:26.40.

Jorgenson was 11th with 400 meters remaining, but moved up five spots with a strong finish.

“I trusted my training,’’ he said. “I knew I had a little bit more in me. I wanted to make sure I ended on a good note. Pain’s only temporary, they say. I’m proud to finish as well as I did.’’

As the top 2-A finisher in the 1,600, Jorgenson said he’ll use his Drake debut to “hopefully get a gold medal at state.’’

Two Missouri River Conference boys relays earned fifth-place medals: Sioux City East’s 400 relay team of Ray Ray Douglas, Ardell Inlay, Kayden Jones and Gabe Wagner (43.72), and Sergeant Bluff-Luton’s 1,600 relay team of Zach Shultz, Easton Ritz, Britton Delperdang and Jorma Schwedler (3:25.22). Schwedler ran a 48.18 anchor to move the Warriors up from eighth to fifth.

Drake Relays

Saturday’s Southwest Iowa Results

GIRLS

Prelims

Shuttle hurdle relay: DQ—Glenwood (Audrey Arnold, Marissa Ausdemore, Sami Parr, Elle Scarborough).

400 relay: 25, Glenwood (Audrey Arnold, Bailey Ostrander, Jaeda Wilson, Coryl Matheny) 51.01; 34, Harlan (Savanna Musich, Delaney Wegner, Abby Alberti, Chloe Hansen) 51.57; 49, Treynor (Maddie Shipley, Megan Carley, Noel James, Mia Shipley) 52.16; 69, Lewis Central (Kortnie Getzschman, Sophia Glasnapp, Lynae Focken, Emily Merksick) 52.73; 71, Abraham Lincoln (Brooke Wohlers, Jocelyn Hendrix, Taylan Keefer, Kensi LaSale) 52.76; 84, Denison-Schleswig (Alex Mohr, Cierra Kastner, Raegan Andersen, Vanessa Gunderson) 53.22; 93, Thomas Jefferson (Maxine Mass, Alexis Smith, Suzie Miller, Shaeley Bose) 54.46.

Finals

400 hurdles: 1, Janette Schraft, Glenwood, 1:03.21.

1,500: 7, Janette Schraft, Glenwood, 4:48.63.

BOYS

Prelims

400 relay: 58, Glenwood (Jon Lee, Christian Stanislav, Cooper Silvius, Zach Vondra) 45.27; 73, St. Albert (Dillon White, Luke Blaha, Ethan Bernard, Aiden Antisdel) 45.62.

Finals

1,600: 6, Jerry Jorgenson, Treynor, 4:26.40.

Iowa Western Results

Finals

WOMEN

400 relay: 2, Patricia Johnson, Christine Irving, Amya Clarke, Traci Brown 46.79.

MEN

400 relay: DNF.