Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
When: Friday, 5 p.m.
Where: City High
Teams: City High, West High, Liberty High, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Washington, Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids Prairie
Who Qualifies: The top two finishers in each event earn automatic berths to the state meet along with the next 12 best performances from all six 4A meets.
Athlete to Watch: West High senior Gabe Caruthers is coming off an impressive performance at the Mississippi Valley Conference divisional meet last week and will look to carry that momentum into the postseason.
Caruthers won the 100 and 400 at the MVC Valley Divisional and added a runner-up finish in the 200.
The senior sprinter has the top time among district 5 competitors in the 100 (10.96), 200 (22.09) and 400 (48.82) and will provide a boost to whichever West High relay team he joins.
Event to Watch: For distance runners the district meet can turn into a battle of attrition as runners attempt to earn automatic spots at the state meet.
The two auto berths in the 1,600 on Thursday should be hotly contested with three of the top 11 milers in the state battling for the top two spots.
Cedar Rapids Prairie junior Jack Pendergast has the top time among district 5 competitors at 4:25.58 but there are two other competitors less than a second and a half back of that pace.
Cedar Rapids Washington junior Max Locher has clocked a 4:26.58 and West High senior Kolby Greiner ran a 4:26.75 at the Drake Relays.
Don’t Miss This: Field events can be fickle this time of year with a single missed step costing a spot at state. The long jump field on Thursday will be worth monitoring as all three area schools have strong chances to qualifying athletes for the state meet.
Liberty High junior JaQuel Davis leads the list of District 5 competitors with a leap of 22-7 ¼ this season while the City High duo of Kaleba Jack (22-3) and DaRhon Fouch (21-7 ¼) are right on his tail.
West High senior Ryan Gudenkauf has jumped 21-7 this season, good for fourth best among District competitors.
Breakdown: City High and West High were nearly dead even on the same track three weeks ago at the Forwald Relays and will likely battle again for the team title but on this day it is all about advancing to state.
City High figures to do much of its damage in the relays where the Little Hawks enter with the top qualifying time in the 4x200, 4x800, sprint medley and distance medley.
Daniel Brown has the top time in the 800 at 1:58.54 and will be heavily involved in the City High relay plans.
Watch City High junior Oisin Leopold who has run 14.9 in the 110 hurdles and could help the Little Hawks shuttle hurdle relay team reach state with a strong run.
West High has the top qualifying mark in five individual events, three coming from Caruthers. Defending state champion Landon Green owns the top distance in the shot put (56-7 ½) and Marcus Morgan headlines the high jump competitors clearing 6-3 ¼.
The veteran Greiner will be in title contention in both then 1,600 and 3,200 trailing only Pendergast in both events in qualifying time.
Liberty High is set up for a strong showing in its first 4A district meet.
Junior Drake Woody enters with the top time in the 400 hurdles (54.65) and third best in the 400 (50.62) while Davis leads the list of long jump competitors.
When: Friday, 4 p.m.
Where: Benton Community High School in Van Horne
Teams: Clear Creek Amana, Solon, Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Grinnell, South Tama, Vinton-Shellsburg, Cedar Rapids Xavier
Who Qualifies: The top two finishers in each event earn automatic berths to the state meet along with the next eight best performances from all eight 3A meets.
Athlete to Watch: Clear Creek Amana junior Nick O’Connor had a breakthrough performance last week at the WAMAC meet sweeping the distance events and setting a school record in the 3,200 in the process.
O’Connor enters as a heavy favorite to repeat that distance sweep at the district meet with the top time in both the 1,600 and 3,200 by more than six seconds.
The first Clipper to win either the 1,600 or 3,200 at the WAMAC Super Meet, O’Connor has top-five performances in Class 3A in both events this spring.
Event to Watch: Solon has a long history of postseason throwing success and Thursday offers the first opportunity to continue that tradition.
The Spartans have the top qualifying mark in the shot put and enter with the top two marks in the discus all coming from different individuals.
Senior Rocky Lensing leads the list of district shot put competitors with a toss of 53-2 ¼ while Coal Flansburg (162-10) and Hayes Dierson (158-8) enter with the top best efforts in the discus.
Don’t Miss This: For many track fans there isn’t a more exciting event than the 4x100 relay and Thursday’s expects to live up to that hype with the top three teams separated by just .33.
Cedar Rapids Xavier enters with the top time at 44.39 while Solon and is second at 44.57 and Clear Creek Amana is right behind at 44.72.
The Clippers were runner-up at the WAMAC meet last week and are anchored by sophomore Alex Figueroa who enters with the top 100 time in the District 1 field at 11.34
Breakdown: Clear Creek Amana opened some eyes with a strong WAMAC Super Meet showing last week that ended with a program-best third-place finish.
The Clippers are poised to continue that success on Thursday at a District 1 meet that features six WAMAC schools.
Clear Creek Amana has the top qualifying time in four individual events courtesy of O’Connor, Figueroa and Nick Gerard who leads the long jump participants.
Solon expects to do most of its damage in the relays and the throws where it has the top qualifying mark in both events.
Where: Tipton City Park
Teams: Regina, West Branch, Camanche, Columbus, Durant, Louisa-Muscatine, North Cedar, Northeast, Tipton, Wapello, West Liberty, Wilton
Who Qualifies: The top two finishers in each event earn automatic berths to the state meet along with the next eight best performances from all eight 2A meets.
Athlete to Watch: Regina senior Luke Stein will look to put the finishing touches on a stellar career with a strong postseason push that begins on Thursday.
Stein, who was fifth at the state meet in the shot put last season, will be looking to become a two-event qualifier for the first time this spring.
He enters as a heavy favorite in the shot put, holding the top qualifying mark among District 7 competitors by more than four feet, and sits second among District 7 entries in the discus as 150-10.
Stein won the shot put with a season-best toss of 56-2 at the River Valley Conference meet last week and was fifth in the discus.
Event to Watch: Regina sophomore Theo Kolie had the top long jump mark entering the RVC meet last week but settled for a sixth-place finish.
Kolie gets a shot at a state tournament berth and redemption on Thursday against a similar long jump field in District 7.
The top jump this spring for Kolie of 21-1 ¼ is again tops in the field while Durant junior Jake Willkomm who won the RVC title has the second-best jump among District 7 athletes this spring at 20-9.
Don’t Miss This: The discus could be among the most exciting events to follow on Thursday with four athletes battling for the two automatic state berths.
Wapello senior T.J. Dirth has the top toss this season at 158-7 followed by Stein at 150-10, Wapello senior all-state basketball player Keaton Mitchell at 149-1 and West Liberty senior Spencer Daufeldt at 145-3.
Breakdown: Regina will be led by its field events as Kolie and Stein each enter with the top mark in their events.
The Regals sent five events to the state meet last season and will try to match that number this season.
West Branch qualified one event a year ago and has top four qualifying marks in three events.
Zach Thompson has the fourth-best time in the 800 while Cash Woody is fourth in the high jump entering Thursday’s district meet.
The Bears also have the fourth-best time in the shuttle hurdle relay.
Did you enjoy this subscription free article? Help keep Your Prep Sports free by becoming a member.