Breaking Down the Boys State Track and Field Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Four classes with 19 events each over a span of three days.

That’s the numbers for the state track and field meet that opens on Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines and runs through Saturday afternoon.

With so much going on in and around Drake Stadium during those three days here is a quick breakdown of the area teams competing this week.

Class 4A

West High

Individual Events Qualified: Nine (400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, long jump, shot put, discus)

Relays Qualified: Three (4x400, 4x800, sprint medley)

Athlete to Watch: Austin West has already had an impressive senior season but will try to put a bow on his breakthrough season with a strong state meet showing. West has the best performance in the state this spring in both the 400 hurdles (51.96) and long jump (23-3) and has the third best 400 time in 4A this season at 48.93.

Relay Team to Watch: With West on the anchor leg the Trojans’ sprint medley team looked like a state title contender last week.

The foursome of Jackson Steburg, Dante Eldridge, Andre White and West ran a 1:32.74 at the state qualifying meet, the second fastest time in 4A this season.

Only Bettendorf with standout Darien Porter on the anchor leg has run a faster time (1:31.12) this season.

Outlook: West High had plans to return to the top of the 4A standings last season but settled for a ninth-place finish with 35 points.

The Trojans return to Drake Stadium this season expecting to improve on last year’s placing and scoring total.

Behind West, junior Kolby Greiner in both distance races and throwers Landon Green and Jonathan Gannon West High has the ability to surge in trophy contention.

Gannon has the third-best qualifying mark in the discus (168-10) while Green is fourth in the shot put (56-7).

Greiner has top-five qualifying times in both the 3,200 and 1,600 and the Trojans’ sprint medley and 4x800 relay teams both enter with top-six qualifying times.

City High

Individual Events Qualified: Five (100, 200, 800, 3,200, high jump)

Relays Qualified: Five (4x100, 4x400, 4x800, distance medley, shuttle hurdle)

Athlete to Watch: Zach Jones will close his career with one final busy weekend at the state track meet.

The senior is a member of four state-bound relay teams, three of which enter with top-10 times in 4A this season.

City High has the sixth best 4x400 (3:21.93) time and seventh best 4x100 (42.86) time in the state this season and ranks 10th in 4A this spring in the shuttle hurdle at 58.91.

Jones was a part of all three of those teams that clocked season-best times at the district meet last

Relay Team to Watch: The City High 4x800 team placed seventh at state a year ago and with three members of that team back and a top qualifying time from district meets the Little Hawks have much higher goals this season.

Jimmy Momberg, Daniel Brown and JP Rethwisch are all back from last year’s state medalist group and teamed with Lucas Firmstone to clock a 7:55.21 at the district meet, the top time in the state this spring.

Outlook: City High got a strong close to the state meet last year via back-to-back top-four finishes in the 4x100 and 4x400.

The Little Hawks will try to build on that performance while improving on its 14 points and 19th place team finish from a season ago.

City High qualified five individual events but will rely on its relay squads to pile up points at state.

All five of the Little Hawks’ relay teams head to state enter with top-13 times from districts and the 4x800 is ranked first and the 4x400 second off qualifying times.

Class 3A

Solon

Individual Events Qualified: Four (110 hurdles, long jump, discus, shot put)

Relays Qualified: Three (4x100, 4x200, sprint medley)

Athlete to Watch: Senior Tyler Linderbaum has climbed the shot put standings each of the past two seasons and gets one final shot at a coveted state gold this week.

Linderbaum enters with the fifth best throw in the state at 57-1 ½ and trails only Algona senior Dominic Etherington (61-5) among Class 3A competitors. Linderbaum will also compete in the discus where he has the 12th best toss in 3A this season.  

Relay Team to Watch: The Solon 4x100 team of Kendrick Harris, Adam Bock, Spencer Wegmann and Luke Ira is coming off its best outing of the season at the district meet where it ran a 44.19.

That time ranks the Spartans 10th in 3A this season and makes the foursome a contender to reach the 3A finals.

Outlook: Behind double entries in both the throws and senior hurdler Luke Ira the Spartans should surpass their 19th place finish and 14 teams points from a season ago.

Junior Coal Flansburg has the third best mark in the discus this spring and senior Luke Schaekenbach joins Linderbaum in the shot put.

A Drake Relays medalist, Ira enters with the third fastest 110 hurdle time in 3A this spring at 14.9.

Liberty High

Individual Events Qualified: Two (400, long jump)

Relays Qualified: Three (4x400, distance medley, sprint medley)

Athlete to Watch: Sophomores Drake Woody and Jaquel Davis are both three-event qualifiers and account for both of the Lightning individual events.

Woody qualified in the 400 and Davis in the long jump while both running on the 4x400 and sprint medley relays.

Relay Team to Watch: The sprint medley squad of Jack Ankenbauer, Ben Houselog, Davis and Woody has the 18th best time in 3A this season after clocking a season-best 1:36.83 at the state qualifying meet.

Outlook: Liberty High had a strong district meet in its first postseason appearance in program history.

Now the Lightning will try to carry that momentum into Drake Stadium.

Woody is the top seeded competitor off district times with the 18th best mark in the 400 at 52.36.

Davis owns the 21st best long jump mark for district competition at 20-5 ½.

Clear Creek Amana

Individual Events Qualified: Five (400, 1,600, 3,200, 110 hurdles, long jump)

Relays Qualified: Four (4x100, 4x800, distance medley, shuttle hurdle)

Athlete to Watch: Senior Seb Johanson has been a leader for the Clippers all season and will attempt to end his season with a strong state meet showing.

Johanson enters with a top-10 qualifying time in the 110 hurdles at 15.15 and will compete in the long jump while running on the Clippers’ 4x100 and shuttle hurdle relay teams.

Relay Team to Watch: The Clippers expect to be in the shuttle hurdle relay medal hunt entering with the sixth-best qualifying time from districts at 1:00.04.

Matt Brimeyer, Trever Stockman, Andrew Swails and Johanson own the sixth best time in Class 3A this season.

Outlook: With nine events qualified and double qualifiers in two individual events Clear Creek Amana took a major stride forward under head coach Ben Robison this season.

Now the Clippers will attempt to take one more step with a big state meet.

The Clipper qualifiers are a strong mix of individual and relays.

Nick O’Connor (1,600) and Brandon Barker (3,200) give Clear Creek Amana a pair of distance qualifiers while Nick Gerard enters with the third best long jump in 3A this season at 22-4 ½.

Four Clipper relays are highlighted by the shuttle hurdle group and a 4x800 squad that has the 12th best qualifying time from district meets.

Class 2A

Regina

Individual Events Qualified: Four (200, 800, 3,200, shot put)

Relays Qualified: One (Distance medley)

Athlete to Watch: Luke Stein was a state qualifier in both the discus and shot put last season and hopes to leave his return to Drake Stadium with a state medal.

Stein has the sixth best toss in 2A in the shot put this spring with a mark of 53-8 at the River Valley Conference meet earlier this month.

Relay Team to Watch: The Regina distance medley foursome of Jayden Kies, Theo Kolie, Jack Goedken and Ryan Bonthius took more than 10 seconds off its previous season-best time at the district meet last week, posting the 21st best qualifying mark at 3:46.01.

Outlook: Keep an eye on the shot put where senior Cole White joins Stein in the only double qualifying event for the Regals.

White had his best toss of the season at the district meet at 50-5 1/4 which ranks seventh best among qualifying marks in 2A.

Senior Nathan Meyer has the fourth best time from district meets in the 3,200 at 10:05.94 and Kies (200) and Ryan Bonthius (800) round out the Regals’ individual qualifiers.

West Branch

Individual Events Qualified: None

Relays Qualified: One (4x400)

Athlete to Watch: Senior Ben Thompson gets the opportunity to close his West Branch career on the blue oval at Drake Stadium after helping the Bears qualify in the 4x400.

Relay Team to Watch: The foursome of Luca Passeri, Ben Thompson, Zach Thompson and Trey Eagle got in as an additional qualifier and will try to make some noise after entering with the 23rd best qualifying time at 3:34.94.

Outlook: West Branch qualified the one relay for the state meet and will look to post a season-best time for the second consecutive race after lowering its previous best by a full second at the district meet last week.