DES MOINES - It started out like any other class 1A state 3200 meter run you’ve ever seen before on the Drake Stadium track in Des Moines Thursday, May 16.
The ending however, was unlike anything the Iowa High School state track and field meet has ever seen before, and Springville’s Caleb Christiansen and Oskar Andersen were right in the middle of it.
In blazing heated conditions that saw meet officials hand out water to runners during the race to keep athletes hydrated, Christiansen wound up placing 22nd overall with a time of 10-minutes, 52.97-seconds while Andersen was 23rd after his 10:57.89 clocking.
That was just part of the story.
As the 3200 competitors were making their way around the track, officials got mixed up as to how many laps were remaining, and rang the final bell lap a lap too soon.
Leaders made last-gasp surges to the finish line only to realize there was still a lap remaining.
Many had little or no energy left after giving their all at what they thought was the final lap, so hours later officials decided to call the winner after the seventh of the eight-lap total.
“Even with the mix up of laps, my boys new better and kept battling to the end,” said Oriole boys track coach Tyler Husak. “Even though we were hoping for faster times, the heat got to them a little bit.
“I am very proud how these two battled in the warm conditions and just kept their heads up. I’m not sure the last time Springville sent two guys in an open event to state, so this was still fun to watch.”
After the change of laps, Gehlen Catholic’s Will Roder was named class 1A 3200 meter champion as official times were not posted.
“I had some high hopes coming into the 3200 and didn’t think medaling was out of the possibility,” Christiansen said. “I didn’t run the time I was hoping for here, but I’m not walking off the track disappointed.”
Andersen, a foreign exchange student from Denmark, was overwhelmed by the state sights and sounds.
“I got out here and saw this huge crowd, that had me very nervous,” he said. “The first lap was very overwhelming, but them once I settled in and started just running, things got better.
“Seeing Caleb out here with me really helped, too. If it wasn’t for Caleb, I wouldn’t have made it here to state track or to state cross country last fall. He’s a great runner, and leader.”
Christiansen was back on the track Saturday, May 18, turning in a personal-best time of 4:40 in the 1A state 1600 meter run, good enough to place 10th overall in the event.
“This will end up being another race I will never forget,” Husak said. “Caleb got out great sitting tucked behind Calamus-Wheatland’s Chandler Gannon. By the start of the third lap Caleb had climbed into 12th, and then 10th behind Cal-Wheat’s Chase Knoche.
“I was screaming ‘go with Chase’ knowing he would pull Caleb to a medal. Caleb kicked it in late, but just missed the medal. Even though he was slightly bummed out missing the medal, that time was awesome and he enjoyed that. What a great way to finish his career at Springville.”
George-Little Rock’s Joe Anderson won the class 1A 1600 meter run championship with a time of 4:34.81.