DES MOINES — Andrew Gibb had a vision as he prepared to compete for the final time as a Gael.
Gibb, a St. Edmond senior, stepped in the blocks here Saturday at Drake Stadium to begin the Class 1A 4×400-meter relay.
About three-and-a-half minutes later, Gibb, Sean Newell, Sean Flattery and Charlie Shelly celebrated a second state title for the school.
Newell, Flattery, Shelly and Kase Baker claimed gold in the 4×100-meter relay, winning that event for the first time in school history. This was the fifth time SEHS has claimed at least two relay titles in a single state meet.
“I texted Sean (Newell) a couple days before we came down and said ‘We gotta get this 400 relay,'” said Gibb, who will play basketball at Iowa Central next year. “It’s the perfect way to cap our high school careers.”
As for those final moments before he ran his leg of the event.
“When I got in the blocks to start, my entire high school athletic career flashed before my eyes,” Gibb said. “All the injuries, hard losses, wins and great times I have had with my teammates.
“I just let the emotion and adrenaline carry me.”
The Gaels have won 13 state track titles in all, including the 4×400 five times now. They have also claimed the 4×800 and 4×200 three times, the distance medley relay twice and now the 4×100 once.
“This is literally the best feeling ever,” Shelly said. “I’m so proud of our team and what we did. It’s surreal. I couldn’t ask for a better finish for the season and for our seniors.
“And it is such an honor to represent a school with such an amazing history of track.”
The 4×100 relay finished in a school-record time of 43.71 ahead of Wapsie Valley and Pekin, with the 4×400 going 3:25.73 to just edge Maquoketa Valley.
Newell, Flattery, Baker and Shelly also placed third in the sprint medley relay with a school-record time of 1:36.35.
“Ever since last year after the 4×400 finals, Sean, Charlie and I have been putting in extra work in the offseason and Coach (Donn) Larson put us to work every Sunday as soon as football ended and track started because we knew we were capable,” Flattery said. “(Winning) the 4×100 was just a cherry on top of it all.”
Baker was also eighth in the 200 in 23.45, with Gibb adding a 22nd in the 800 in 2:09.74.
“It’s insane,” Baker said. “There is no better feeling then winning a state title. It is unreal.
“To be able to run with these guys is a gift. I am truly blessed to be a Gael.”
St. Edmond finished in fifth overall with 32 points, but would have been second had the 4×200 relay not been disqualified Friday night after winning.
“I’m glad to end my career at St. Edmond with two state titles and having the opportunity to run with such great guys motivated by one goal, which was to get the gold,” Newell said. “It was just something amazing and I’ll never forget it.
“Memories for a lifetime.”
Abby Landwehr finished off her Gael career with an 11th in the 1500 in a personal-record time of 5:08.39. The Loras College-signee finished in the Top-15 in both distance events each of the past two years at state.
“I knew that I would remember this race for the rest of my life, so I knew I wanted to make it one I would want to remember,” Landwehr said. “I ran a race I am proud of. The best part of the weekend, though, was hands down screaming at the top of my lungs to cheer on the boys to back-to-back wins in the 4×1 and 4×4.”
Landwehr was also able to share a special moment with her senior teammate, Erin Flattery, who missed the season due to a knee injury.
“The one thing I will never forget is that after all the runners had cleared out of the stadium, I took my very last lap on the blue oval with Erin Flattery,” Landwehr said. “She is the best teammate I’ve ever had and was unable to run at state this year because of a torn ACL.
“There is no person I’d rather run my last lap on the blue oval with than her.”