DES MOINES -- Ardell Inlay proved something to himself Saturday.
The Sioux City East junior showed that he is among the elite in the state when it comes to the sprints as he finished as the runner-up in the 100 meters at the Iowa State Track and Field Championships in Des Moines.
Inlay, who took sixth in the 100 at Drake, got off fast and finished second in 10.80 seconds to Ames’ Bernard Bell Jr., who won in 10.60.
“In my prelim I got out to a horrible start so I just had to focus on my start the whole time,” Inlay said. “I PR’ed and I can’t do any better than that. I am OK with second I have next year.
“It gives me great confidence because now I know I can beat some of the guys I didn’t think I could beat before.”
Inlay closed out his state meet by taking fifth in the 200 in 22.14.
North senior Merga Gemeda made his final state appearance a memorable one as he added a third-place finish in the 1,600 to go with the fifth he took in the 3,200 on Thursday. Gemeda raced to the line in the final 100 meters to finish in 4:22.24.
“I knew I had energy at the 200 mark but I just stayed behind them and with 100 meters left I just kicked it in,” Gemeda said. “It was so painful but it was so worth it. I never thought I would get third but it happened.”
Sioux City East senior Lauren Van Dyke led early and closed strong in the 800 to run a PR of 2:15.27 to finish in fifth place. It was a fitting end to a strong career for Van Dyke, who battled back down the homestretch to clip a pair of runners at the line.
“In my head I was like ‘you have trained for this, you can do this, you have to finish strong, you have to trust your body to do this,’” said Van Dyke, who took third in the event as a junior but ran faster on Saturday. “A girl came up beside me on the right and all I could think was that I had to beat them.”