5 Girls Track and Field Athletes to Watch

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The first day of spring is here and that means track and field season is upon us.

Area teams officially open the season with outdoor meets this week with the goal remaining a spot at the state meet that runs from May 17-19 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Here are a few area athletes to watch this season as the track season begins and all the way leading up to the state meet.

Bailey Nock

Senior, West

Among the premier distance runners in the state and one of the best in the storied history of West High Nock looks to end an impressive prep career with a stellar season senior.

Nock was dominant at the state meet a year ago, capturing titles in the 3,000 and 1,500 and anchoring the West High distance medley relay team to a title.

Her impressive state meet performance helped West High to a team runner-up finish in Class 4A.

A Colorado recruit, Nock will attempt to close her career with her best season yet after finishing runner-up at the state cross country meet in November.

Emma Clark/Emma Cooper

Juniors, City High

The junior sprint duo was half of a Little Hawk quartet that qualified for the state meet in the sprint medley, 4x100 and 4x200 a year ago.

City High failed to finish better than 16th in any of those three events at the state meet but brings back all four members led by Cooper and Clark.

Both are already two-year letterwinners and are poised for breakthrough seasons.

Chandler Haight

Senior, West High

In each of her first three trips to the state meet Haight has taken a step forward toward a shot put title.

The next step for Haight is a big one and the West High senior appears poise to take it.

Haight went from placing 21st as a freshman to third as a sophomore before a runner-up finish in the 4A shot put last season with a mark of 42-3 ½.

She gets her final shot at a shot put gold this season and will attempt to earn her first ever state medal in the discus after placing ninth at state as a sophomore and 14th last season.

Kitra Bell

Senior, West High

A versatile athlete that can score point in a number of events Bell is another West High senior that will be key as the Women of Troy chase another state team trophy.

Bell was a member of the West High school record setting distance medley relay team that won the state title in a time of 4:03.21 a year ago.

She also ran a leg on state qualifying shuttle hurdle and 4x200 relay squads and earned a medal with a sixth-place finish in the long jump.

Erin Kerkhoff

Junior, Solon

Kerkhoff followed up a strong freshman season that included a state medal in the 400 with a breakthrough season campaign last spring.

She qualified for the state meet in four events, earning a medal in the 400 for the second consecutive season with a sixth-place finish and anchoring the Solon 4x400 team to a runner-up finish and school-record time of 3:58.62.

Kerkhoff also ran on the Solon sprint medley and 4x100 relay teams that finished 10th and 11th at state respectively.