Washington Evening Journal
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VBC’s Duncan wins 400 hurdle gold
Warrior senior brings home third-place finish as well
DES MOINES — Two years ago, Van Buren County senior Anthony Duncan didn’t even think about running track.
When he made the decision to go out last year, it changed everything.
On Friday, in front of over 15,000 fans, Duncan hurdled and ran his way to a gold medal as he was the first to cross the tape in the Class 2A 400-meter hurdles.
“This is something I wouldn’t have even dreamed of when I went out for track last year,” Duncan said. “It feels really good. When I went out, I never even thought I would make state, let alone be a state champion. It’s amazing.”
Duncan gave quite a performance, as his 54.97 was not only the state winning time, but a new personal best.
He moved up four spots from last year, finishing fifth overall in 2022.
Through the race, Duncan stayed right in the number two position, but when it came down to the final two hurdles his kick made all the difference as he blistered past former 3A champion Iowa Falls-Alden’s Jaden Damiano.
“When I started the race, I was a little worried,” Duncan said. “I knew that Jaden had won the 3A state championship last year with like a 53 something and I’ve never broke 54. I knew I had more in the tank at the final two hurdles. I was hoping to get low 54 today, but it got me the title so there’s nothing I can complain about.”
Duncan was the only competitor to run sub 55 in the final.
The state title in 400 hurdles wasn’t the only hardware that Duncan brought home.
He also saw success in the 400-meters as well.
Duncan sprinted to a third-place finish in the event, clocking 50.04.
“I’m happy about the race,” Duncan said. “I ran a new personal best and a new school record. My goal was to break 50, but it didn’t happen. There’s nothing to hang my head about.”
After finishing 13th in the event back in 2022, the third-place finish is quite the leap for Duncan.
Shenandoah’s Alex Razee took the title with a 49.22 and Mediapolis’ Anthony Isley finished second in 49.97.
Duncan and Isley are use to running against one another.
“We ran against each other at district and I barley beat him,” Duncan said. “He got me in the conference meet and I knew it would be a really close race no matter what. Today he got me, but congrats to him.”
Duncan says being around the team was his favorite part of the season.
“My coach, he’s a great guy and one of my favorite coaches I’ve ever had,” Duncan said. “It was always a fun time and the team was great. We had a really great team this year overall. I feel really good about how we did this year.”
Van Buren County got some other great performances as well.
Junior Warrior Tyler Stoltz jumped his way to a seventh-place finish in the Class 2A high jump.
Stoltz cleared 6’1, but missed three straight attempts at 6’3. A clear at 6’3 would have earned him a top four finish.
Eleven athletes finished at the 6’1 mark.
Senior Wyatt Mertens competed in long jump. Mertens finished with a leap of 21-08.50, good enough for eighth.
The mark was Mertens first jump of the day.
Also for the Warriors, freshman Lincoln Bainbridge ran to a 20th place finish in the 3200-meter run.
Bainbridge clocked a time of 10:28.00.