CEDAR FALLS – There is little doubt that Cedar Falls junior hurdler Maddy McFarland is fast.
But when McFarland explodes out of the blocks like she did Thursday night in the 100 hurdles at the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Divisional, McFarland is really fast.
Running a personal best and MVC Divisional meet record time of 15.05, McFarland captured her featured event as part of a hurdles sweep. She also won the 400 hurdles.
“Usually my starts are something I need to work on, but tonight I got out hard,” McFarland said. “My form gets a little crazy with the last three hurdles because I start getting tired, but I just needed to stay disciplined, drive those arms and finish strong. I did.”
“That is crazy,” added McFarland about her record time. “I’ve wanted to get to high 14 seconds, and that is what I’ve been working toward. I didn’t think I’d be that close, but we’re there…we aren’t done yet, but that is the goal, a high 14.”
McFarland won the 400 hurdles in 1:05.43 as part of a strong night by Cedar Falls. The Tigers claimed five individual wins and finished third with 127 points. Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids Prairie tied for the title with 130.
A slip up in the shuttle hurdle relay, where the Tigers were disqualified for a quick start, may have prevented Cedar Falls from winning the meet. The Tigers had been favored in that event.
“We moved somethings around this week to give some girls opportunities,” Cedar Falls head coach Chris Wood said. “I’m not going to put where we finished on them. One or two places here or there can shift things around, too. I was happy with how they girls competed and finished strong.”
As for McFarland, Wood said the reason she’s close to breaking the 15-second barrier in the 100 hurdles is because of the work she has put in.
“One of the things she set for herself in the offseason was to push and push and grind and that is what she has done,” Wood said. “We threw her in the 4x100 tonight which was about a 10 1/2 minute turnaround from the 400 hurdles. She’s just been doing it all for us.”
Cedar Falls also got a sweep from Myah Brinker in the discus (124-0) and shot put (36-6 1/2). Her winning marks fell short of personal season bests, but Brinker feels there is time left before next Thursday’s district meet in Cedar Rapids to ramp up her training and results.
“It wasn’t my best performance,” Brinker said. “I typically rise to the level of my competition and I did that in the discus tonight. There was a girl (from Prairie) we were going back and forth early where she was a foot ahead and then I was a foot ahead and we were trading the lead. I rose to the occasion there so I’m happy.
“We got a week to go. The physical work has been put in. Got to put in some time on the mental side and go in confident at districts.”
Cedar Falls also got a victory in the 200 from Lindsey Sires. Running just her second open 200 of the season, Sires edged Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Gabby Cortez, 26.60 to 26.70.
“I think she is loving the fact she got to run the open 200,” Wood said. “She ran four events tonight and was real important for us. She’s been running a lot of relays for us, running some 400's. I definitely think she was happy running the open 200.”
Asked if the open 200 would be one of Sires events next Thursday at districts, Wood laughed and said, “I think it will be a hard thing to pull her out of that the way she competed with some of the best in the state tonight.”
Sires was second in the 100 in a close race with Dubuque Wahlert’s Ariana Yaklich. Yaklich finished in 12.47 and Sires in 12.49.
Among other highlights for Cedar Falls, Noelani Mattson posted a PR in the 100 hurdles, finishing second to McFarland in a time of 16.11.
The Tigers also produced top-five finishes in the sprint medley, 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 4x800 and distance medley.
“We are in the sharpening phase of our season. We still have some high quality workouts left to finish, but the coaching staff has a ton of work to do to put our district lineup together,” Wood said. “We have a lot of great girls we can move around to different parts.”