Drake Relays: Durbin's twice as nice
By BRANDON HURLEY
Megan Durbin’s title defense nearly came hurtling to the ground without even clearing the starting height.
The Greene County junior and 2016 Drake Relays champion bounced back from two failed attempts at 5-00 to finish second overall in the girls’ high school high jump at the 2017 Drake Relays Friday, April 28, clearing a season-best 5-06.
North Polk’s Maria Gorham grabbed high jump gold clearing 5-07 while Solon’s Josie Durr finished third, clearing 5-06 on her second attempt.
Durbin entered Friday’s festivities ranked 19th in the state, having cleared just 5-04. Eight girls had cleared a state-leading 5-06 to set the figurative bar fairly high. A handful of others had cleared 5-05. A top three finish for Durbin seemed a bit lofty as action began.
Competing inside the Drake Fieldhouse due to a wave of cold, rainy weather, Durbin began her day missing on her first two attempts, showing visible bewilderment on each attempt.
The pressure of being defending champion [Durbin cleared a school record 5-08 last spring] may have played a roll in her shaky start, she said.
The lone Ram Drake Relays qualifier took her first two curves a little too steep while leaving a fraction early on her jumps.
“It was a little intimidating, honestly,” Durbin said. “I [felt] since [I] won last year, [I] needed to at least top five. [I told myself] to just relax and put it all in God’s hands and that’s what I did.”
After an unsuccessful first attempt at 5-04, Durbin cleared the bar with ease on her next jump, moving on to the final six.
The defending 3A state champion rode her rejuvenated confidence to a monumental leap at 5-06, clearing the bar on her first attempt while releasing an emphatic fist pump. Her season-best leap had placed her in the final three, securing her a medal in consecutive Drake Relays.
“My adrenaline was up after that,” she said.
Durbin came close to 5-07 on her next three jumps, clearing the bar before her hair knocked it off. Her third and final jump knocked the bar to the mat, ending her day in the high jump.
Though Durbin couldn’t match Gorham, it was another successful run at the Drake Relays for the Ram track star. She came up just inches short of becoming the school’s first back-to-back Drake Relays winner and Greene County’s only two-time champ.
Just a junior, Durbin may have one more final shot at history in 2018.
“I wasn’t ranked very well in the state and I won last year, so I was thinking just don’t get last,” Durbin said. “I came back with a second place. A first and a second is good. I’m happy with it.”
Friday’s top three all compete in Class 3A, competition for consecutive state titles will be stiff as well, Durbin said.
The 2017 state meet is set for May 18-20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.