Taking a Closer Look at Area Girls Drake Relays Qualifers

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

The high school portion of the 109th edition of the Drake Relays gets underway on Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines with the meet concluding on Saturday afternoon.

Here is a closer look at every high school girls event that features an area athlete.

100 Meters

Day/Time: Friday, 8:40 a.m. (Prelims); Friday 2:29 p.m. (Finals)

Number of Qualifiers: 32

Drake Relays Record: Kerris Roberts (Waterloo East) 11.82, 2017

State Leader: Libby Wedewer (Dubuque Wahlert) 12.24

Area Qualifiers: 32. Erin Kerkhoff (Solon) 12.78

What to Watch: Waterloo East junior Kerris Roberts returns seeking a third consecutive title after setting a Drake Relays record on her way to a second win in the 100 last year.

Solon 400 meter specialist Erin Kerkhoff will make her lone 2018 individual Drake Relays appearance in the 100.

800 Meters

Day/Time: Friday, 2:07 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 16

Drake Relays Record: Shelby Houlihan (Sioux City East) 2:07.69, 2011

State Leader: Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar) 2:11.08

Area Qualifiers: 6. Bailey Nock (West High) 2:16.01; 8. Deniz Ince (West High) 2:18.11

What to Watch: A title contender in both the 3,000 and 1,500, Nock will be a factor in the 800 race as well.

The West High senior was seventh in the 800 a season ago and has the sixth best time in the state this season while teammate Deniz Ince enters with the eighth best time.

Linn-Mar senior Payton Wensel is the favorite and has the top time by more than two seconds.

1,500 Meters

Day/Time: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 21

Drake Relays Record: Katie Flood (West Des Moines Dowling) 4:28.3, 2010

State Leader: Ellie Friesen (Crestwood) 4:42.24

Area Qualifiers: 2. Bailey Nock (West High) 4:46.17; 11. Deniz Ince (West High) 4:52.21

What to Watch: Nock will attempt to end her Drake Relays career with a win as she enters with the second fastest time in the 1,500.

The West High senior was fifth in the 1,500 a year ago behind champion Joy Ripslinger of Davenport Assumption, Anna and Marie Hostetler from Mid-Prairie and Crestwood’s Ellie Friesen.

Friesen and both Hostetlers figure to be Nock’s top competition on Saturday.

3,000 Meters

Day/Time: Thursday, 5:40 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 21

Drake Relays Record: Stephanie Jenks (Linn-Mar) 9:26.87, 2014

State Leader: Ellie Friesen (Crestwood) 10:06.08

Area Qualifiers: 4. Bailey Nock (West High) 10:18.92; 17. Camille Mac (Liberty High) 10:40.5; 20. Deniz Ince (West High) 10:44.77

What to Watch: Nock gets her final chance to add a Drake Relays 3,000 title to her already impressive list of career achievements. The Colorado recruit was third in the event last season behind Mid-Prairie sisters Anna and Marie Hostetler.

The Hostetler sisters are back to highlight a loaded field along with Crestwood senior Ellie Friesen.

100 Hurdles

Day/Time: Friday, 8 a.m. (Prelims); Friday, 10:29 a.m. (Finals)

Number of Qualifiers: 32

Drake Relays Record: Mary Young (Urbandale) 14.3, 2014

State Leader: Sydney Winger (Waukee) 14.26

Area Qualifiers: 12. Kitra Bell (West High) 15.41; 15. Taylor Cannon (Liberty High) 15.49; 18. Caroline Schaeckenbach (City High) 15.56; 32. Peyton Steva (West High) 15.84

What to Watch: Bell makes her second consecutive Drake Relays appearance in the 100 hurdles after missing the finals last season.

Cannon, Schaeckenbach and Steva will all be making their Drake Relays 100 hurdle debuts.

400 Hurdles

Day/Time: Saturday, 12:45 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 16

Drake Relays Record: A.G. Bradford (Davenport North) 1:01.01, 2008

State Leader: Payton Wensel (Linn-Mar) 1:01.45

Area Qualifiers: 4. Caroline Schaeckenbach (City High) 1:05.59; 16. Gabbi Bullard (Solon) 1:07.6

What to Watch: City High sophomore Caroline Schaeckenbach is one of the best stories of the week, qualifying for the Drake Relays in her first season of track and just months after trying the hurdles for the first time.

Schaeckenbach has the fourth fastest time in the state this season and should contend for Drake medal.

Linn-Mar senior Payton Wensel is a heavy favorite and could push for the Drake Relays record.

Discus

Day/Time: Friday, 9 a.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: Kiana Phelps (Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central) 162-7, 2016

State Leader: Jamie Kofron (Tipton) 142-1

Area Qualifiers: 9. Ainsley Schrock (Clear Creek Amana) 127-9; 24. Chandler Haight (West High) 121-4

What to Watch: A year after West High senior Leah Dusterhoft surprised the field to win her first Drake Relays title the discus could prove again to be among the most wide open events of the weekend.

Only one of the top 11 finishers from last year’s Drake Relays returns and the top six throwers are separated by less than 10 feet.

Clear Creek Amana sophomore Ainsley Schrock will make her Drake Relays debut and enters with the ninth best throw.

Shot put

Day/Time: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: Paulette Mitchell (Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln) 50-4 ¾, 1992

State Leader: Kat Moody (Waukee) 47-3

Area Qualifiers: 4. Chandler Haight (West High) 43-7; 8. Emily Troyer (Solon) 41-7 1/2

What to Watch: Moody returns to defend her title from last season when she won with a toss of 43-10. The Waukee junior recorded her state-leading toss of 47-3 at the Forwald/Coleman Relays last Thursday to outduel West High senior Chandler Haight.

Haight was fourth last year and has the fourth best mark in the state this season while Solon senior Emily Troyer enters with the eighth best throw.

Long Jump

Day/Time: Friday, 9:30 a.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: LaNeisha Waller (Cedar Rapids Washington) 19-3 3/4, 2004

State Leader: Erin McQuillen (Bettendorf) 18-11

Area Qualifiers: 5. Kitra Bell (West High) 18-1; 8. Katie Severt (West High) 17-8 ¼; 14. Khaylor Fleck (Solon) 17-5

What to Watch: With four of the top five finishers from a year ago, including the top three, all back long jump figures to be among the most entertaining events of the weekend.

Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln junior Darby Thomas returns to defend her title and will have plenty of competition from a loaded field that includes the West High duo of Kitra Bell and Katie Severt.

Bell was fifth a year ago and has the fifth best mark in the state this season while Severt enters with the eighth best mark.

Solon sophomore Khaylor Fleck makes her Drake Relays debut in the long jump and enters with a top-15 qualifying jump.

4x100 Relay

Day/Time: Friday, 5:33 p.m. (Prelims); Saturday, 3:31 p.m. (Finals)

Number of Qualifiers: 80

Drake Relays Record: Des Moines Roosevelt 47.55, 2012; Cedar Rapids Jefferson 47.55, 2015

State Leader: Dubuque Wahlert 48.84

Area Qualifiers: 16. City High 50.83; 17. Solon 50.84; 40. West High 51.85; 80. Regina 52.84

What to Watch: City High and Solon both have top-20 qualifying times and have outside chances to reach the finals.

Dubuque Wahlert has the top qualifying time followed closely by Linn-Mar and Pleasant Valley.

4x200 Relay

Day/Time: Friday, 1:43 p.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: Cedar Rapids Jefferson 1:40.87, 2016

State Leader: Pella 1:43.78

Area Qualifiers: 8. Solon 1:45.54; 24. City High 1:48.07

What to Watch: The Solon squad of Taylor Ryan, Cayley Annis, Erin Kerkhoff and Abby Smith should push for a top-eight finish.

Solon enters with the eighth best qualifying time while City High has the 24th best mark.

4x400 Relay

Day/Time: Friday, 8:35 p.m. (Prelims); Saturday, 4:25 p.m. (Finals)

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: Waukee 3:50.21, 2009

State Leader: Southeast Polk 3:59.42

Area Qualifiers: 5. City High 4:04.06; 7. Solon 4:05.91

What to Watch: Solon showed it could compete with the state’s best last year with an eighth-place finish.
The same Solon foursome that finished eighth last year, Taylor Ryan, Cayley Annis, Abby Smith and Erin Kerkhoff has clocked a 4:05.91 this season, seventh best in the state.

City High will also push for a top-eight finish as the team of Sydney DePrenger, CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Caroline Schaeckenbach and Ayana Lindsey enters with the fifth best qualifying time.

4x800 Relay

Day/Time: Saturday, 9:58 a.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 16

Drake Relays Record: West Des Moines Dowling 9:11.01, 2010

State Leader: West High 9:32.78

Area Qualifiers: 1. West High 9:32.78

What to Watch: After finishing runner-up to West Des Moines Dowling last year West High will attempt to take over the top spot in the 4x800 relay.

The West High team of Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Erica Buettner, Deniz Ince and Bailey Nock has the top qualifying time at 9:32.78, nearly a second faster than Southeast Polk.

Sprint Medley Relay 

Day/Time: Saturday, 9:49 a.m.

Number of Qualifiers: 24

Drake Relays Record: Des Moines Roosevelt 1:44.98, 1985

State Leader: Linn-Mar 1:44.9

Area Qualifiers: 16. Solon 1:51.26

What to Watch: Defending champion Linn-Mar boasts the fastest qualifying time by more than two seconds over Southeast Polk.

Solon was 11th a year ago and enters with the 16th best qualifying time.

Shuttle Hurdle Relay 

Day/Time: Saturday, 8:30 a.m. (Prelims); Saturday, 11:30 a.m. (Finals)

Number of Qualifiers: 16

Drake Relays Record: Waukee 1:00.95, 2017

State Leader: Waukee 1:04.08

Area Qualifiers: 11. Solon 1:07.81; 13. West High 1:07.91

What to Watch: Defending champion Waukee has dominated the shuttle hurdle relay as of late and enters with the top qualifying time.

Last year’s runner-up, West High enters with the 13th fastest qualifying time while Solon has the 11th best time this season.