Bursting with pride: A-P's Jungling wins 2A 400 title (PHOTOS)

Aplington-Parkersburg's Sophia Jungling reacts to winning the Class 2A 400-meter dash at Drake Stadium in Des Moines during Thursday's session of the state track and field meet. (Jake Ryder photo)

DES MOINES – Faith, teammates and the competitive spirit brought Sophia Jungling to the finish line at Drake Stadium on Thursday as the Class 2A state champion in the girls' 400-meter dash.


Thinking about what this championship meant to the Aplington-Parkersburg junior brought her to tears.


"I gave it my best with some of the state's best," Jungling said as emotions filled her words. "To come out on top, it means so much me, being able to represent my school."


The state title is the first individual title for A-P since Rachel Vanderholt secured a 100 hurdles state title in 2007. Jungling was also part of the last overall A-P girls state title as the anchor leg of the sprint medley team along with Ivy Nolte, Ellie Wolff and Gabby Hanken in 2017.


Jungling needed to outlast her opponents in the third heat of the timed final at the state track and field meet. She was also running against the clock, a 57.97 posted by fellow NICL East competitor Allison Waterman. She said when she heard track announcer Mike Jay proclaim that Jungling had a chance to catch Waterman's time, it spurred her on even further.


"[Waterman] pushes me like no other, she's unreal," Jungling said. "My teammates are always there pushing me, … and also my faith in Jesus – when all those things work together, it makes for a good day.


"Where I come from is a special place, I know it's not like that everywhere, and I don't take that for granted. I'm really thankful that I come from Aplington-Parkersburg."


KNOCK FINDS HIS FOOTING: After earning seventh place in the long jump at the Drake Relays, Morgan Knock wasn't sure he had even qualified for the event at the Class 2A meet at all after the state-qualifying meet.


Not only did he get in with an at-large bid, but he got to share his previous Blue Oval experience with newcomer Jack Haren as the Aplington-Parkersburg duo competed on Thursday. Knock landed a 21 foot, 6.5 inch leap for third place and Haren finished 12th with a best jump of 20-2.25.


Knock was seeded 22nd in the event, but qualified for the final at 21-2.75 and got his bronze-winning jump on his second attempt in the finals.


"I didn't know what to expect after districts," Knock said. "I was jumping good again, so I was happy with it. Hitting 21-2 did a lot for my confidence."


Haren beat his seeding too, entering with a 13th-place ranking but hitting his best jump on his first attempt at Drake Stadium.


"I was excited to be here," Haren said. "It's a good first experience to be down here and I just wanted to relax and go jump."


Aplington-Parkersburg's girls 4x800 relay powered through for a sixth-place finish in 2A in 10:03.00. Lily Hovenga was the newcomer to the state track and field meet on the first leg, handing off to Sommer Stotler, then Maci Freund and finally anchor Megan Johnson. Western Christian won in a new state record 9:24.76.   


"I was more nervous than anything," Hovenga said. "I just wanted to compete and try to figure out how it works. … We didn't run a PR but I'm proud of what we did to come down here."


The 4x800 crew rounded into form late in the season, smashing its personal best by 14 seconds at the district meet to get to state.


"Being able to come together and work our butts off to get that far to now is pretty amazing," Freund said.


The Falcon boys' shuttle hurdle relay closed the season with a personal best in the 2A prelims, running 1:03.49 for 13th place overall. Jayden Mackie, Jack Haren, Morgan Knock and Gannon Oberhauser beat their seed time of 1:04.07 and finished better than their 19th seeding heading into the state meet.


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Photos: 2019 State Track and Field - Aplington-Parkersburg, Day 1

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