Breaking Down the Boys Conference Track and Field Meets

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

MVC Mississippi Divisional

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Cedar Falls

Teams: City High, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Washington, Dubuque Senior, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Waterloo East, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Western Dubuque

Team Title Chase: Cedar Falls is seeking its first divisional title since 2015 after a runner-up finish to Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the Valley Divisional last year.

MVC newcomer Western Dubuque is poised to spoil the Tigers’ title plans.

The Bobcats have the talent across their lineup to make a splash with a divisional title in its first year in the MVC the key could be how the conference newcomers respond to their first MVC postseason appearance.  

Athlete to Watch: Max DePrenger emerged late last season as a key for the Little Hawks and the senior will again be a critical part of what City High is hoping is another strong finish.

DePrenger enters with the top 400 qualifying time among Mississippi Division competitors but can be plugged in across the lineup as City High looks to maximize its point production.

Event to Watch: City High didn’t score a point in the long jump at the divisional meet last season on its way to a fifth-place finish. If City High is to improve on its performance from last season look no further than the long jump as an event where the Little Hawks can gain ground.

Kaleba Jack and DaRhon Fouch were both Drake Relays qualifiers and enter with jumps better than 21-7 on the season to rank third and fourth among divisional competitors.

Don’t Miss This: Last season it wasn’t until the state qualifying meet that the City High 4x800 relay team made its big jump. The defending 4A champs in event, City High will face a stiff test on Thursday as Cedar Falls ranks seventh in the state with a time of 8:05.97. City High brings the 12th best 4x800 time into Thursday at 8:09.48.  

Breakdown: City High should have no problem improving on its fifth-place finish from last season’s Valley Divisional but the question is how high can the Little Hawks climb.

A runner-up finish at the loaded Forwald Relays two weeks ago showed City High can compete with the best in the state.

In order to push for the top spot City High will need a strong all-around performance paced by seniors like DePrenger, Daniel Brown and Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand.

MVC Valley Divisional

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Cedar Rapids Prairie   

Teams: West High, Liberty High, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Dubuque Hempstead, Linn-Mar, Dubuque Wahlert, Waterloo West

Team Title Chase: Something has to give on Thursday as a pair of two-time defending MVC divisional champions in West High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy via for the Valley Divisional title.

West High has won the past two Mississippi Division titles while the Cougars have won the Valley Division crown each of the past two seasons.

Those two appear to be the class of a strong Valley Division field this season that includes a Linn-Mar squad fully capable of spoiling the party for the two defending champs.

Athlete to Watch: West High can plug senior springer Gabe Caruthers into any number of spots in its lineup as it seeks a third consecutive MVC title. Caruthers has top three qualifying times among Valley Divisional athletes in the 100, 200 and 400 entering with the third-best 400 time in the state this spring.

Caruthers versatility makes him a key contributor for West High which will likely need a strong meet from its seniors.

Event to Watch: The top two shuttle hurdle relay teams in the state will square off again as Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Linn-Mar battle again.  Kennedy enters with the top time this spring at 58.2 after edging the Linn-Mar for the Drake Relays title last Saturday.

Don’t Miss This: West High senior distance standout will battle the Dubuque Hempstead senior duo of David Holesinger and Ben Hermiston for valuable team points all evening.

The 3,200 figures to be among the top races of the day as Holesinger enters with the third fastest time in the state, Hermiston the fifth fastest and Greiner the sixth fastest.

Breakdown: This has all the makings of a great divisional showdown with talent and intriguing races all over the heat sheets.

In order for West High to earn a three-peat it will need a strong meet from its three-headed monster of Caruthers, Greiner and senior thrower Landon Green.

The Trojans have the balance and depth to pull off another conference crown.

WAMAC Super Meet

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Central DeWitt

Teams: Solon, Clear Creek Amana, Dyersville Beckman, Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Central DeWitt, Independence, Maquoketa, Marion, Mount Vernon, Vinton-Shellsburg, West Delaware, Williamsburg, South Tama

Team Title Chase: This has all the makings of a fantastic team race that comes down to the final few events.

As many as six teams could challenge for the top spot in what should be a wild team race.

Center Point-Urbana and Benton Community both have four top-seeded events and enter as slight favorites but defending 3A state champion Marion, Mount Vernon, Clear Creek Amana and Williamsburg will all have a say in who walks away with the crown.

Athlete to Watch: Clear Creek Amana junior Nick O’Connor has had a breakthrough season on the track and enters with a pair of top-two times among WAMAC competitors.

O’Connor has the top time in the conference this season in the 1,600 at 4:33.11 and his time of 10:01.97 in the 3,200 is second to Marion senior Harrison Vanderlinden by less than two seconds.

Event to Watch: Two of the top discus throwers in the state will go head to head again this season as Mount Vernon senior Matt Vislisel and Solon senior Coal Flansburg square off.

Vislisel ranks third in the state and leads 3A with a toss of 173-9 while Flansburg ranks 12th in the state and fifth in 3A with a season-best toss of 162-10.

Solon junior Hayes Dierson enters with the third best mark among WAMAC qualifiers at 158-8 making the discus a potential big scoring event for the Spartans.

Don’t Miss This: Even you enjoy the team race element of a track meet make sure you are plugged in for the final two races of the day because the WAMAC team title will likely come down to the wire.

Williamsburg could be in the title hunt and is set up for a strong finish with the top qualifying times in both the 4x100 and 4x400.

The Raiders have the 10th best time in the state in the 4x100 and are tops among non-4A schools in the event.

Breakdown: Weather cancelled the WAMAC Super Meet last season, forcing the conference to go to divisional meets. The last Super Meet champion was Western Dubuque in 2017 and the Bobcats have since changed conferences so there will be a new champ on Thursday.

Center Point-Urbana, Benton Community and Williamsburg all enter with top qualifying marks in four events but don’t count out Clear Creek Amana or Marion in the title chase. Those two each have the top end talent and enough balance to make a push if things go the right way.

River Valley Conference Meet

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Camanche

Teams: Regina, West Branch, Anamosa, Bellevue, Camanche, Cascade, Durant, Mid-Prairie, Monticello, North Cedar, Northeast, Tipton, West Liberty, Wilton

Team Title Chase: Bellevue was seventh at the RVC meet in 2017 and moved up three spots to fourth last season.

The Comets will try to move up three spots again this season into the top spot.

Bellevue enters as a heavy favorite to claim the conference title with defending runner-up West Liberty and last season’s third-place finisher Northeast the top challengers.

Athlete to Watch: Luke Stein will seek to continue Regina’s recent domination of the throwing events at the RVC meet.

Jared Brinkman swept the throwing titles in 2017 while Stein finished fourth in the shot put and seventh in the discus that season.

Stein won the shot put title a season ago and will look to add to his title count in his final conference meet.
The senior enters with the top mark in the shot put among RVC competitors by more than a foot this season at 53-10 and ranks second in the discus behind Monticello senior Wade Picray.

Event to Watch: Regina sophomore Theo Kolie has flashed tremendous potential this season and will aim to begin championship season with an individual title in the long jump.

Kolie is the only RVC athlete to eclipse 21 feet this spring and has the top jump among RVC competitors at 21-1 ¼.

Northeast senior Dawson Stoll (20-7 ¼), Bellevue junior Ben Parker (20-8) and Durant junior Jake Willkomm (20-9) should all be in the title hunt along with Kolie.

Don’t Miss This: The shuttle hurdle relay is always an entertaining event but RVC fans will get a chance to see two of the best in the state on Thursday.

West Liberty enters with the second-best time in 2A this season at 1:01.1 which is just a second and a half faster than the top time for Tipton which ranks eighth in 2A.

The time of 1:01.1 for West Liberty is 15th best in the state this spring.

Breakdown: Bellevue enters as the favorite to claim the title with West Liberty and Northeast again giving chase.

Regina was eighth last season and faces a tough task in climbing into the top half of what expects to be a balanced field but has legit title contenders in Kolie and Stein.

West Branch was 12th last season and its top contenders are hurdlers Zach Thompson and Jonathan Wargo.  

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