What to Watch on Thursday at the State Track and Field Meet

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

DES MOINES – There is a lot going on at the state track and field meet.

There are 19 event titles up for grabs on both the boys and girls side in four classes over three days.

That is a lot of action in less than 72 hours.

In an effort to help track and field fans this is the first of three guides to help navigate the hectic three-day meet that opens Thursday morning at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Leading into each day of the state and field meet Your Prep Sports will take a look at five of the top events, athletes or storylines to follow that day.

Thursday is the first of two days at the state meet divided into two sessions.

Classes 1A and 4A kick things off at 9 a.m. on Thursday with 2A and 3A to follow.

There are three finals on the track on Thursday as well as two field event titles up for grabs in each class.

Here are five things to watch on Thursday.

Little Hawks Lead the Way

With six all-time titles in the 4x800 relay City High has a storied history in the state’s longest event but has been in a bit of a 4x800 drought of late.

City High hasn’t finished better than seventh in the 4x800 since winning its last title in the event in 2013 and has placed seventh each of the past two seasons.

The Little Hawks are out to change that on Thursday.

City High enters with the top time in the state this season after Daniel Brown, Jimmy Momberg, Lucas Firmstone and JP Rethwisch teamed up to clock a 7:55.21 at the district meet last week.

The district time was the seventh fastest all-time at City High and was more than a second faster than the next best time in the state this season, recorded by Cedar Rapids Prairie at the Drake Relays.

Waukee has won the last two 4x800 titles, winning last year in a time of 7:49.34.

Schrock Chases Discus Gold

Clear Creek Amana sophomore Ainsley Schrock already owns some state track hardware in the discus.

Schrock was sixth in Class 3A in the event in her state meet debut last season.

In her return to the state meet Schrock has her sights set on a gold medal.

Schrock had the top toss from last week’s Class 3A state qualifying meets at 127-1 and owns the third best throw in 3A this season at 127-9 which trails 3A leader Cassidy Nerland of Webster City by less than two feet for the top mark this spring.

A Drake Relays qualifier this season, Schrock is seeking to become the second discus champ in school history and first since Caroline Ruppert won back-to-back 2A titles in 2001 and 2002.

Strong Start for West High

West High earned its first top-two finish at state since winning the 4A title in 2010 last season finishing runner-up to two-time defending champion Waukee.

The Women of Troy expect to push for the 4A title again this week and to challenge favorite Waukee they will need a big weekend from the distance duo of Bailey Nock and Deniz Ince.

Nock and Ince have been a strength for West High all season and will get the chance to provide a strong start in the 3,000 on Thursday.

The defending state champ in the 3,000, Nock enters with the top time in 4A this season at 10:18.92 while Ince has the second-best time in the event at 10:24.47.

A one-two finish from Nock and Ince in the first final of the meet would do more than provide 18 valuable team points for West High, it could set the tone for the rest of the week.

Mac Makes History

By this point Camille Mac has gotten used to making school history.

The Liberty High freshman became the first cross country qualifier and medalist in program his last fall and then became the first Liberty High athlete to compete at the Drake Relays.

Mac will make a little more history when she joins teammate McKenzie Logan as the first Lightning to compete at the state meet when the duo take part in the Class 3A 3,000.

Mac has a shot to become the first state medalist in program history in the event as she enters with the fifth fastest time in Class 3A this season at 10:40.5.

Logan enters the state meet with the 16th best time in 3A at 11:00.3. 

Kerkoff Gets Another Shot at 400

Two state meet appearances, two sixth place finishes in the 400 for Solon’s Erin Kerkhoff.

Kerkhoff will try to snap that sixth-place streak on Thursday and get the Spartans off to a strong start as Solon chases a team trophy.

After back-to-back sixth-place showings Kerkhoff enters the 400 with the fourth fastest time in Class 3A this season at 58.84.

Denison-Schleswig senior Ellie Mendlik has the fastest time in 3A at 57.42.