BY CHAD DARE
Salt Fork’s Jenny Kimbro had very simple goals for her freshman season.
Just making it to the IHSA Class 1A State Meet was good enough.
Kimbro took it a few steps further on Saturday earning a pair of state medals, including a second-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles at O’Brien Stadium.
“I just thankful to make it this far, to get two medals is just crazy,’’ she said. “It’s more than I could have thought about doing in my first year.
“I’m just so happy that I made it to the finals in both events.’’
Kimbro equaled the best finish in program history. Hannah Wilkins was second in the shot put at the 2009 state meet, while Theresa Myers was second in the 100 hurdles for Jamaica at the 1993 state meet.
And for most of the 100-meter race, Kimbro was right there with Peyton Wade of Aurora Christian, but just like Thursday’s prelims, Wade won the battle.
“It was one of my best times, I’m just glad I did it here at state,’’ said Kimbro, who finished the race in 15.08 seconds. “I’ve gotten second for the last three years.
“It’s just amazing. I’ve lost to some really good people.’’
Kimbro was also second in the 100 hurdles at the IESA state meets in 2012 and 2011.
But, she still had to battle some major nerves on Saturday — especially when Seneca’s Aspen Stuedemann, the top sectional seed, was called for a false start.
“I was so nervous before the first one and the nerves just tripled because of the false start,’’ Kimbro said. “I was just hoping it wasn’t me.
“After that, I just try to block out everything that happened and think about the race.’’
And while that race is something she has done a lot over the years, Kimbro was really surprised with her fifth-place finish in the 300 hurdles.
“I was so bad the first time I ran that race, I didn’t think there was any chance for me to make it state, let alone place,’’ she said.
And while Kimbro was extremely elated with her state medals, she was just as happy for fellow freshman Abby Nicholson, who took eighth in the discus event.
“I’m really glad that my teammate Abby Nicholson was able to get eighth in the discus,’’ Kimbro said. “It was a good year for both of us and a good way to end our first high school season.’’
Nicholson, who best toss was 114 feet, 11 inches in Thursday’s prelims, was a little disappointed that she didn’t improve in her final three throws on Saturday.
“I was hoping to hit 120 and get my best throw of the season, but just getting medal is very honorable,’’ she said.
And, it’s the best finish for the Salt Fork girls in the discus. Hannah Wilkins, daughter of Salt Fork coach Herb Wilkins, was ninth in 2009.
“Yeah, it’s a big deal especially considering our program’s success in the shot and discus,’’ said Nicholson, who joins her cousin Sean Nicholson, sixth in 2009 shot put, as state place-winners in the family. “I want to come back next year and do better.
“I’ve got to keep working hard this summer and during the off-season.’’
Salt Fork tied for 15th in the Class 1A standings with 15 points as Moweaqua Central A&M won its second straight title with 60 points.
While Kimbro and Nicholson were freshmen in their first years, Schlarman Academy junior Janelle Marion also made quite an impact in her first-ever season of track.
The former softball player for the Hilltoppers earned a ninth-place finish in the long jump with a career-best 16 feet, 3½ inches.
“I just decided to give it a try. The first few weeks of doing long jump, I hated it,’’ said Marion. “I asked my coach, Tyler Overstreet, to take me out of that event.
“After a while, I got the hang of it and it started flowing.’’
Marion is just the second girls track athlete from Schlarman to place at the state meet.
Robin Dillon was third in the 100 hurdles at the 1982 state meet.
“That’s just crazy,’’ Marion said. “I had no idea. It’s really an amazing accomplishment for me.’’
Bismarck-Henning sophomore Jessica Hall finished 11th in the finals of the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 7 inches.