The big key for Unity Christian High School senior Mikayla Turek is consistency.
Turek has been getting better each and every race throughout her career, which will conclude at the Class 2A state track meet in Des Moines at Drake Stadium. Her first event is at 11:30 a.m. Thursday with the long jump.
Turek will compete in three individual races at the state meet. At 1:20 p.m., the Knights senior will compete in the 400-meter dash.
On Friday, Turek will defend her top seed in the 400-meter hurdles at 11:40 a.m. Turek was the runner-up last season at state in the 400mH.
She seems to find ways to get better, and rarely gets satisfied with where she sits, whether it’s with her time or where’s she seeded in the state.
The weather has helped Turek stay consistent this season. Unity Christian hasn’t had too many meets canceled this season, compared to last year when the Knights hardly could find a meet that wasn’t affected by the weather.
“I think about last year and there weren’t a lot of meets that we had,” Turek said. “This year, we had almost every single one, which was really helpful for me and my teammates to get a lot of meets to be able to improve. I really liked having every meet.”
Last year, Turek and Knights put more significance on practices to get better. There weren’t the competitions to show the progress of the runners’ work.
Turek said her most impressive improvement has happened in the 400. She worked throughout her career to get under 60 seconds in the race.
She met that mark this season at the South O’Brien meet. Turek wasn’t expecting to hit the sub-60 mark at such a small meet, but glad that she did.
“I don’t think I could have done that if we didn’t have the amount of meets that we did,” Turek said. “It was a moment of all the work I put in finally showed. I was really excited about it.”
Turek has progressed in the 400 hurdles, too.
She finished 13th at state as a freshman, seventh two years ago and second just a year ago.
“I’d like to win it,” Turek said. “Anything can happen. My family, my friends and my coach are all going to be there.”
Last week at the state-qualifying meet, she set a personal best with a time of 1 minute, 4.71 seconds at Sioux Center.
“That’s attributed to her technique,” Knights coach Mark Kauk said. “She does devote time to work on the finer points of lead-leg and trail-leg clearance. It’s a combination of technique and better conditioning.”
There’s one more concrete landmark Turek wants to reach before Thursday’s end.
Turek has been wanting to get a personal best in the long jump since her freshman year.
That’s the last time she jumped 17 feet, 4.25 inches.
She is seeded fourth in the class, as her state-qualifying jump is 16-9.25.
Turek has gotten 17-2 and 17-1 so far this season but would like to end her career crossing another personal best off her list.
“I’ve gotten close, but I haven’t beaten it,” Turek said.