What to Watch at Conference Track Meets

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Championship season is upon us. It may just come a little later than most expect.

Forecasts calling for the potential for strong storms caused some scheduling havoc for conference meet containing area track and field teams this week.

The Mississippi Valley Conference boys and girls divisional meets and the River Valley Conference super meet originally set for Thursday were moved to Friday due to the impending threat of inclement weather.

The WAMAC Conference super meet set for Thursday at Solon has cancelled and the conference will now run co-ed divisional meets on Monday.

Solon will host the East Division meet at 4:30 p.m. with Benton hosting the West Division squads.

Regardless of the day the postseason gets under way state qualifying meets are still set for next Thursday and the state track and field meet is scheduled for May 17-19 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Here are five things to keep an eye at conference meets.

Check The Schedule

Considering what the weather has been like for track teams this spring it seems only fitting that mother nature disrupted the first week of the postseason.

Every conference meet featuring an area team has had a weather-related schedule change this week.

MVC divisional meets and RVC super meets are Friday with the WAMAC going to divisional meets on Monday.

The forecasts for Friday and Monday look great but if you have plans to catch a conference track meet make sure to check the schedule for the correct day and time.

Home Sweet Home

A pair of area teams are hoping that running at home provides a little extra boost as they compete for conference crowns.

West High and Solon will both play host to divisional meets and are hopeful the home track advantage leads to a title.

Solon will host the WAMAC East Division meet on Monday and the Spartan girls are heavy favorites to claim that title after back-to-back runner-up super meet finishes.

West High is the favorite to claim the team title at the MVC Mississippi divisional meet on Friday at Trojan Field.

Linn-Mar will be a top-challenge for West High and the Women of Troy will attempt to use its familiar setting to provide the difference.

Little Hawks Look to Climb the Ladder

The City High girls won three consecutive MVC divisional titles from 2013 to 2016 but dipped to sixth at the seven-team Valley Division meet a year ago.

An ascent back toward the top of the conference begins on Thursday.

The question is how close can the Little Hawks come to getting back on top?

City High has made already take big strides this season under Terry Coleman who returned to the head coaching spot.

The Little Hawks boast top two qualifying marks in six different events entering Friday’s Valley divisional at Cedar Rapids Prairie and have a pair of top-five qualifiers in three individual events.

The Valley division field appears to be wide open and City High could contend for the top spot with a big day.

Nock, Wensel Bring Star Power

Seniors Bailey Nock and Payton Wensel have already cemented their themselves as two of the best the state has to offer. 

The seniors standouts will be looking to add to their impressive career resumes on Friday at the MVC Mississippi divisional meet at West High.

Both enter the postseason with top-five times in the state in their respective events.

West High’s Nock has the fifth best time in the 3,000 at 10:18.92 and is third fastest in the 1,500 in Iowa this spring at 4:38.32.

Wensel of Linn-Mar has the top times in the 400 hurdles (1:00.25) and 800 (2:11.08) and has the second fastest time in the 400 (55.55).

The two will likely only go head-to-head once on Friday, if at all, but two of the best in the state at their craft leading their teams toward a team title is definitely worth watching.

Raising the Standard

Ben Robison was bullish about his Clear Creek Amana squad all the way back in January.

Three months later Robison hasn’t changed his position about his team’s potential.

After placing 10th with 22 points at the WAMAC Super meet last season Clear Creek Amana expected to fight for an upper division finish at the always loaded WAMAC super meet this year.

With the conference going to divisional meets on Monday the Clippers won’t get the chance to see how high they could climb in the super meet field but should still show off the impressive growth they have made this season.

Clear Creek Amana qualified a pair of events for the Drake Relays and has set school records in the sprint medley and 110 hurdles.

After producing three of the past four Class 3A state champions including the top finishers at state a year ago the WAMAC meet has a reputation of being among the toughest anywhere in the state.

Despite that distinction expect the Clippers to turn in their best WAMAC meet performance in recent memory.