Breaking Down the Girls 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: City High

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 has won back-to-back MVC Valley Division titles and enters as a contender for a third consecutive crown.

Last season the Tigers finished 69 points clear of runner-up City High but the Little Hawks are poised to close that gap this time around.

City High has the depth, talent and home track advantage to push Cedar Falls for the top spot while Cedar Rapids Prairie will try to squeeze its way in the to team race.

Athlete to Watch: Fresh off a runner-up finish in the 400 hurdles at the Drake Relays City High junior Caroline Schaeckenbach is quickly become a force to be reckoned with across the lineup.

Schaeckenbach has the top qualifying time among Mississippi Division competitors in the 110 hurdles at 15.01 and 400 hurdles at 1:04.05 and runs on a City High shuttle hurdle relay team that enters with the top time at 1:05.73.

If City High is to make a push for an MVC title it will need a strong day from Schaeckenbach who also runs on the Little Hawks 4x400 relay team that is seeded second.

Event to Watch: Three different athletes in the Mississippi Divisional field have jumped at least 17-0 feet in the long jump this season including City High freshman Te’Nia Ansley.

Cedar Falls freshman Sarah Albaugh has the top mark this spring at 17-11 while Western Dubuque senior Catie Brosius has jumped 17-9 ¼.

Don’t Miss This: Waterloo East senior sprinter Kerris Roberts has established herself as one of the state’s best and is always worth watching.

Roberts won the third Drake Relays 100-meter championship of her career last weekend and owns the top time in the state this season in both the 100 (11.82) and 200 (25.14).

Anyone that hasn’t seen Roberts up close should take the opportunity to see the speedster put on a display in her final MVC meet.

Breakdown: City High was one of the most improved teams in Class 4A last season going from sixth in the Valley Division meet in 2017 to a runner-up finish last spring.

Another move up in the divisional standings will be difficult but the Little Hawks are capable of surpassing their 101 point total from last season.

City High has top-three qualifying times in six of seven relays and will need a big day from those events to stay in title contention.

MVC Valley Divisional

When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.

Where: Loras College 

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

Team Title Chase: West High has won three consecutive divisional titles after holding of Linn-Mar for the Mississippi Division crown a year ago.
Injuries will make it challenging for West High to claim a fourth straight title but you never count out the Women of Troy who have won MVC titles in 17 of the past 21 seasons.

Linn-Mar and Dubuque Wahlert each finished within striking distance of West High last season and return as the top two title contenders this season.  

Athlete to Watch: If Ashlyn Keeney wasn’t well known to track fans around the state before the Drake Relays the Liberty High freshman certainly is now.

Keeney won the 3,000 and finished runner-up in the 800 at the Drake Relays in times that both ranked as the fastest ever for a freshman in Iowa.

She enters her first MVC meet with the top time in the 800 (2:09.99), 1,500 (4:40.07) and 3,000 (9:39.64). The times for Keeney in the 800 and 1,500 are both second best in the state this season and her 3,000 time is the best in Iowa this spring.  

Event to Watch: Few meets in the state of Iowa outside of Drake Stadium will feature a high hurdle lineup like the one on tap Thursday.

Three of the top seven hurdlers in the state will square off with West High senior Peyton Steva and Liberty High junior Taylor Cannon leading the way.

Steva has the second fastest 100 hurdle time in the state this spring at 14.33. She posted that time twice on her way to a runner-up Drake Relays finish last week.

Cannon has the fourth fastest time this season at 14.62 while Cedar Rapids Kennedy Kajsa Gerkens owns the seventh best time at 14.8.

Don’t Miss This: Only four athletes have gone over 18 feet in the long jump this season and two of them will square off on Thursday at City High.

Dubuque Wahlert junior Aliyah Carter and Dimia Burrell will tangle again this season after going head to head each of the past two weeks.

Carter and Burrell each posted their top efforts of the season two weeks ago in Dubuque. Carter jumped 18-5 ¼ at that meet while Burrell soared 18-4 ¾.

Burrell returned the favor at the Drake Relays edging Carter by three inches on her way to a runner-up finish.

Breakdown: Injuries have dealt a serious blow to the title chances for West High which lost senior standouts Deniz Ince and Katie Severt to injuries.

West High still has plenty of talent in Northern Iowa recruit Steva and the throwing duo of Salima Omari and Alexie Little and isn’t going to go down without a fight.

Omari has the top mark in the shot put while Little enters with the top discus effort among divisional competitors.

Liberty High will look to ride its standout freshman Keeney along with Cannon and distance runner Cami Mac to a strong finish in its first MVC divisional appearance.

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: Solon to a title at the East Divisional meet last season and the Spartans have the talent and depth across the board to add a Super Meet Championship to its resume this season.

The Spartans have it all from top-end individual talent to balance and strong relay teams.

In all Solon has eight events that enter Thursday with the top qualifying time including four relays that have the top time.

As always in the WAMAC the Spartans will have their share of challengers.

Williamsburg and Mount Vernon headline the list of challengers along with Center Point-Urbana and Benton Community.

Athlete to Watch: Solon senior Erin Kerkhoff will look to closer her career unbeaten in the 400 at WAMAC conference meets.

Kerkhoff has won the 400 at the WAMAC meet each of the previous three seasons and enters with the seventh fastest time in the state this season and tops among WAMAC competitors at 57.95.

Kerkhoff also has the top time in the 100 and the second-best time in the 200 but could be used on a number of Solon’s top-ranked relay teams.

Event to Watch: For the second week and a row Clear Creek Amana junior Ainsley Schrock and Mount Vernon junior Lily Meester will go head to head in the discus ring.

Meester earned the upper hand on Schrock last week finishing eighth at the Drake Relays while Schrock was 20th.

The defending 3A state champion, Schrock will attempt to get even on Thursday. Meester has the top effort among WAMAC competitors this season at 134-2 ½ while Schrock has the second-best toss at 128-8.

Don’t Miss This: Solon junior Gabbi Bullard is quickly become one of the premier hurdlers in the state.

Bullard is coming off a fifth-place finish at the Drake Relays last week in which she posted a career-best time of 1:05.95 which ranks sixth in the state this season.

Bullard has the top time by more than two seconds in the 400 hurdles among WAMAC competitors and is a member of the Spartans’ shuttle hurdle relay team that has the third-best time entering Thursday.

Breakdown: Solon enters as a heavy favorite to claim the WAMAC Super Meet title after weather forced the conference to move to divisional meets last season.

Kerkhoff, Bullard and freshman Emma Bock all enter with the top time in individual events and the Spartans have four relays that come into Thursday top-seeded.

Clear Creek Amana was seventh at the WAMAC West Divisional last season and will look to take a step forward this season behind Schrock in the discus.

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: North Cedar pulled away from a tight pack that included Cascade, Monticello and Mid-Prairie to win the RVC title.

This year RVC newcomer Anamosa joins the fold and is a slight favorite to claim a conference crown in its first season since coming over from the WAMAC.

Anamosa has six events that enter with the top seed and has enough balance to claim the RVC crown in its first go around.

Unlike last season it could turn into a two-team race at the top with last year’s fourth-place finisher Mid-Prairie hot on the heels of Anamosa.

Athlete to Watch: Tipton senior Jamie Kofron has already cemented her status as the top thrower in the state. The Iowa recruit is looking to put a bow on what has been an impressive prep career.

Kofron swept the throwing events at the Drake Relays for the second consecutive year last week and enters the RVC meet with the top marks in the state in the discus at 147-8 and the second-best toss in the shot put at 45-4 ¾.

Event to Watch: Conference meets provide a warmup before state qualifying meets and eventually the state meet.

The field in the 400 hurdles on Thursday will certainly have the feel of a state meet.

Four of the top eight 400 hurdles in Class 2A will battle for the RVC crown on Thursday a field that features a pair of area athletes.

Northeast freshman Ellie Rickertsen has the top time among RVC competitors and third-best in 2A at 1:06.2.

Regina sophomore Annie Gahan owns the fifth-best time in 2A at 1:06.57 while Cascade junior Jaylen Votroubek has the eighth fastest time in 2A at 1:08.39.

Cascade freshman Elizabeth Gibbs owns the seventh fastest time in 2A at 1:08.34.

Don’t Miss This: Fans at the River Valley Conference meet have grown accustomed to watching a Hostetler put on a show in the distance events. That should continue on Thursday.

Mid-Prairie junior Marie Hostetler brings the top 1,500 time in the state into the meet after blazing to a Drake Relays title in 4:38.14 last Saturday.

Hostetler has the second fastest 3,000 time in the state this spring at 9:55.26 and she has the top 800 time among RVC competitors at 2:21.11.

Breakdown: Regina and West Branch won’t push for a title on Thursday but both are primed to improve on their RVC meet performances from a year ago.

West Branch was 12th last season and Regina was eighth a year ago but both teams have lineups that are capable of pushing upward in the standings.

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