THE NEED FOR SPEED: Howard caps career with 2 bronze medals

DES MOINES – Devin Howard oozed maturity in the moments following his final prep races Saturday afternoon in front of a large crowd inside Drake Stadium.

The state sprinting title that he’d chased for three years evaded him, yet he held his head high – like a champion – as he looked back on a decorated career that now includes six state medals.

“I’ve done everything I could possibly do to better myself and sometimes there’s just somebody faster our there,” Howard, a South Hamilton senior, said after finishing third in the Class 2A 200-meter dash – the same spot he landed in the 100 just an hour earlier – at the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships. “My goal was to run the best I could and no matter what I placed be proud of it. I’ve just been blessed to be here.”

The two bronze medals join an already hefty resume that also includes consecutive runner-up runs in the 100 and fourth-place finishes in the 200 in 2012 and 2013.

“Not too many people, especially from South Hamilton, have come down here and finished top-four three years in a row,” South Hamilton head coach Darrell Paulsen said. “He should be very proud of himself and I know as coaches we’re proud of him.”

Howard leaned across the finish line in 11.36 seconds in the 100. He clocked 22.74 in the 200.

Camanche senior Derek Harksen and Hinton junior Blake Mossberg took first and second in both sprints. Harksen pulled off the sprint double in 11.20 and 22.40 seconds.

“You never know what’s going to happen down here. Sometimes people move up classes and sometimes guys mature over the year,” Howard said. “So it’s no surprise … I respect both of those guys. They ran awesome races.”

Howard says he never envisioned winning six state medals when he was a freshman, and they mean more now that his journey has ended.

“Right now they mean the world to me, and to know that I have family and coaches and friends up there supporting me means a lot to me,” he said. “I ran my races. I just came up short.”

Howard competed alongside teammates Ross Enderson, Zach Zoske and Devon Fisher in Friday’s 1,600 medley relay. The Hawks finished 22nd in 3:42.84.

South Hamilton sophomore Alyssa Hegland returned to the girls’ high jump field. She was able to clear 4 feet, 8 inches and 4-10, but went out at 5-0 and placed 20th.

Hegland cleared 4-10 and finished tied for 18th as a freshman.

Monticello (92 points) claimed the 2A boys’ team title. Cascade (49) was the girls’ champion.