Hawks’ Howard takes lousy lanes in stride, heads back to finals in 2A 100 and 200

DES MOINES – Running out of the forgotten lanes yesterday, Devin Howard made dang sure people noticed him anyway as he showed off his speed on the famed blue oval inside Drake Stadium.

The South Hamilton senior might not have enjoyed his draws for the preliminary heats of the Class 2A 100- and 200-meter dashes, but he simply made the best out of a bad situation.

And his best has put him back in the medals.

Howard qualified for the Saturday’s finals in both events despite running the 100 in Lane 8 and the 200 in Lane 1. His performances ensured that he’ll move back closer to the middle when he runs for state championships.

“I wasn’t in the ideal lanes, but that’s just the way it is. Instead of complain about it, I just went with the flow and took what was given,” Howard said. “It’s like my coach (Darrell Paulsen) told me: 100 meters is 100 meters and 200 meters is 200 meters.”

A two-time state runner-up in the 100 and two-time fourth-place finisher in the 200, Howard qualified for the finals in the upper tier.

He leaned across the line in 11.11 seconds in the 100 – good enough for second in his heat and fourth overall. He’ll be chasing Hinton’s Blake Mossberg (10.97), who was the lone sprinter to go below 11 seconds.

Howard was also second in his 200 heat in 22.61, which was the third-fastest time in the prelims. But he says he can go even faster.

“Now I’ll be back in the middle and back in my normal race and I think it will be a little better,” he said.

Whatever happens on Saturday – be it a gold-medal celebration or a pair of eighth-place finishes – Howard says he has no regrets.

“I’ve done almost everything I can do to get here, so no matter what happens I’m proud of what I’ve done,” he said.

The South Hamilton boys’ team also sent its 4×800 relay onto the track yesterday. The foursome of Titan Johnson, Caleb Olson, Devon Fisher and Jacob Ratzke survived a near mid-race disaster when Fisher took a tumble trying to hand the baton off and placed 23rd in 8:34.51.

The Hawk girls’ squad also took part in the 4×800 and finished 19th overall. Kayla Monthei, Allyson Ervin, Kayla Lucas and Meghan Fisher completed the eight laps in 10:16.39.

Kali Lucas took her turn in the long jump competition and placed 18th. She jumped 15 feet, 23?4 inches on her first two jumps.

Teammate Alyssa Hegland will be in the high jump today, while the boys’ team will send its 1,600 medley relay into action.