Zahn exorcises demons, returns to state in high jump

NEVADA – Winning easy reached a new level for Cal Zahn yesterday, but the Webster City junior isn’t about to complain.

He’ll go ahead and run with it … all the way to Des Moines.

Zahn took just two attempts – not enough to get warm or even break a sweat – and that was all he needed to win the high jump at yesterday’s Class 3A State Qualifying Meet.

A watered down field – Gilbert’s Wesley Greder, who had jumped 6 feet, 2 inches this season opted not to compete – certainly helped Zahn, who wanted to grab the gold and get out of dodge as quickly as possible.

He sauntered over 5-6 on his first jump and then had no trouble getting over 5-8 on his next jump, and that was it.

Game over.

“I didn’t really want to keep going and going, so it was good to just take two jumps and be done with it,” Zahn said after quickly putting on his warm-ups in bone-chilling temperatures and rain showers.

Zahn placed eighth at state as a freshman in 2012, but failed to qualify last year in the same pit at Nevada High School. So, yeah, the redemption felt good.

“(Last year’s disappointment) bothered me for a little while and I was kind of hanging my head, but then I just figured I might as well get something positive out of it,” Zahn said. “I’m really happy to come back here.”

Zahn’s golden effort was the crowning moment for Webster City, which scored 76 points to place fifth in the field of eight teams. Algona (145 points) claimed the team title.

The Lynx will have to wait until later today to see if anything else will get into the state-meet field. Only the top two finishers automatically qualified; the final eight spots in each event will be unveiled today.

“I think we performed really well in a very fast (field),” WCHS head coach Tony Bussan said. “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Bussan is hopeful his shuttle hurdle relay will earn one of the at-large bids after it turned in a time of 1:01.42 to place third last night. Tanner Hoveland, Fernando Martinez, Dylan Fielder and Tanner Hild made up the relay.

“We would like to think the shuttle hurdle has a really good shot,” Bussan said. “Given the conditions we hope that would get in.”

Senior sprinter Cooper Jaycox will also be anxiously waiting by the computer for the list of state qualifiers. He finished third in the 100-meter dash last night in a strong time of 11.42 seconds.

“We would like to think Cooper has a pretty good shot,” Bussan said.

WCHS also received third-place points from Ben Mossman, Ryan Heinrichs, Cole Zahn and Brandon Patten in the 4×800 (8:46.31). However, Bussan says that quartet has the odds against it with regards to a state berth.

The state meet will again convene from Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Thursday. It will run through Saturday.