By John Burbridge firstname.lastname@example.org
DES MOINES — A day after placing runner-up in the shot put, Nicole Heeren seemed to be the last to know that she just won the discus.
Her coach, however, immediately assessed the situation.
After the North Butler junior unleashed her final throw in the final round of the Class 1A discus event Friday at the State High School Track and Field Championships, Bearcats coach Ross Hawker raised his fist in the air before the discus hit the wet grass.
No premature celebration here. Heeren’s final attempt of 123 feet, 6 inches was 3 inches better than Maryn Phillips of Sidney for top honors.
“I didn’t think it was going to win it,” Heeren said. “It was a surprise to me that it did.”
Hawker had a good feeling a state title was in the mix before Heeren made her final throw.
“I knew what she is capable of,” Hawker said. “She has thrown even farther this season. She fought through the bad conditions today.
“She’s just a great kid … not just a great athlete.”
Heeren is relatively new to the discus event which for the Bearcats was formerly mastered by Haley Landers, who placed second at state as a sophomore and third in both her freshman and junior years.
“She really helped me when she was here,” Heeren said of Landers, who now throws for Northern Iowa.
“I just recently started spinning in the circle for my throws, and (Landers) helped me get my technique down.”
By way of Heeren’s first- and second-place throwing performances at state, she compiled 18 points for North Butler alone while placing the Bearcats 12th among Women Class 1A team standings.
With softball starting on Monday, Heeren said that she planned to enjoy the rest of the weekend and return home on Saturday.
“I have a lot of graduation parties to go to,” Heeren said.
None of these parties will be Heeren’s as she has one more year left at North Butler, which likely will give her coach Hawker a reason to celebrate.