Breaking Down the Girls State Qualifying Track and Field Meets

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

Class 4A, District 5

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: Ashlyn Keeney has quickly become a can’t miss attraction at any meet.

The Liberty High freshman followed up a record-breaking weekend at the Drake Relays by winning four events at her first Mississippi Valley Conference meet last Thursday.

Keeney enters with the top time in the state in both the 3,000 (9:39.64) and 1,500 (4:32.98) and her top time in the 800 (2:09.99) ranks second.

Event to Watch: Eight athletes have run under 2:15 in the 800 this season and three of them will be in the field on Thursday.

Keeney enters with the second fastest time while Ottumwa juniors Allison and Grace Bookin-Nosbisch each enter with sub-2:13 times that rank in the top eight in the state.

Allison Bookin-Nosbisch was third at the Drake Relays finishing behind Keeney in a time of 2:10.23.

Don’t Miss This: Half of the Drake Relays finalists are in one state qualifier making the 100 hurdles at Raffensperger Track on Thursday the top hurdle field in the state.

West High senior Peyton Steva was the Drake Relays runner-up and enters with the second fastest time in the state this season at 14.33.

Liberty High junior Taylor Cannon owns the fourth fastest time in Iowa this spring at 14.62 while City High junior Carolina Schaeckenbach ran 15.01 in the Drake Relays finals, the ninth best time in the state.

Toss in Cedar Rapids Kennedy junior Kajsa Gerkens and the 100 hurdles will be among the top races anywhere on Thursday.

Breakdown: City High, West High and Liberty High are all set up for strong performances at the state qualifier.

Iowa City schools enter with the top qualifying time in 14 of the 19 events and have the second best time in eight events.

West High has the top seed in seven events as Steva has the top time this season among state qualifying competitors in the 100, 200 and 100 hurdles and the Women of Troy have the top mark in both throwing events with Salima Omari leading the shot put and Alexie Little enters with the top discus mark.

Keeney leads the way for Liberty High which also boasts the top sprint medley time among district qualifiers at 1:50.68.

City High should make its hay in the relays and enters with the top time in the shuttle hurdle, 4x200 and has the second best time in the 4x100 and 4x400.

Class 3A, District 1

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: A strong sendoff for Solon senior Erin Kerkhoff begins with the final state qualifier of her career on Thursday.

Kerkhoff had a stellar showing at the WAMAC Super Meet last week and will look to continue that into Thursday.

She enters with the top qualifying time in District 1 in the 100 and 400 and, as always, will be a focal point of the Spartans’ relay teams.

Event to Watch: Defending Class 3A state champion Ainsley Schrock can take the first step to a repeat with a strong showing at the district meet.

Schrock has the top toss in the qualifying field at 128-8, which ranks sixth in Class 3A this season.

There will be competition for Schrock on Thursday, mainly in the form of Vinton-Shellsburg Lauren Upmeyer.

Upmeyer was runner-up at the WAMAC meet last week and enters with the second-best throw at 124-6 1/2.

Don’t Miss This: The relay events have long been a strength for Solon but you have to go back a while to find a Spartan team this deep and loaded across all seven relays.

Solon has the top qualifying time among state qualifying teams in all seven relays with four of those squads enter with times that rank in the top three in Class 3A.

The Spartan sprint medley and 4x400 teams both have the second-best time in 3A this season while the shuttle hurdle and 4x200 squads are third in 3A.

Even as it moves athletes around to individual events Solon has a solid opportunity at qualifying all seven relay teams for the state meet.

Breakdown: After strolling to a WAMAC title last week Solon turns its attention to individual success as it attempts to send a loaded roster to the state meet next week.

It’s depth and balance make Solon a heavy favorite to win the district title and should put the Spartans in the thick of the 3A race at state but that starts with a strong showing Thursday.

Solon has the top qualifying mark in 12 of 19 events highlighted by Kerkhoff and its relay teams.

Gabbi Bullard as the top time in the 400 hurdles and freshmen Emma Bock (800) and Makinley Levin (long jump) each enter with top qualifying marks. 

Class 2A, District 7

When: Friday, 4 p.m.

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: Annie Gahan reached the state meet in two events last season as a freshman and is poised for a breakthrough this season.

Gahan reached the state meet in both the 400 and 400 hurdles last season and enters the state qualifying meet with top-three qualifying times in both events.

A top-10 finisher at the Drake Relays in the 400 hurdles, Gahan has the fifth fastest time in 2A this season.

Gahan also anchors the Regina sprint medley relay team that enters with the top time among state qualifying squads.

Event to Watch: Success in the shuttle hurdle relay has become a tradition at West Branch over the past several seasons.

West Branch has earned a top-five finish at the state meet in the event in four of the past five seasons.

The Bears boast a hurdling crew capable of adding to that legacy this season.

The West Branch foursome of Jaylen Votroubek, Sasha Koenig, Chloe Sarver and Kaiya Luneckas won the River Valley Conference title last week and enters with the top time among state qualifying squads at 1:08.98.

The top time for the west Branch squad this season ranks fifth in Class2A and is more than two seconds faster than the next fastest team in the state qualifying field.

Don’t Miss This: Northeast freshman Ellie Rickertsen outdueled Gahan and Votroubek to win the 400 hurdles at the River Valley conference meet last week.

The rematch comes on Thursday as all three return the state qualifying meet with top-seven times in 2A this season.

Rickertsen owns the third-fastest time in 2A this season at 1:06.2 while Gahan is fifth (1:06.57) and Votroubek seventh (1:08.19).

Gahan finished nearly two seconds in front of Rickertsen on her way to the ninth-place performance at the Drake Relays.

Breakdown: A year ago Regina qualified five events for the state meet and West Branch sent three events to Drake Stadium in Des Moines.

Both teams should surpass those totals on Thursday.

Regina owns the top qualifying mark in three different events and has the second-best mark in five others while West Branch has three top-three qualifying marks.

Jaedynn Evans enters as the leader in the high jump, Annalee Bartels has the top time in the 3,000 and the Regal foursome of Madeline Adam, Hope Simpson, Evans and Gahan have logged the best time in the sprint medley relay.

Regina has the second-best time in the 4x100, shuttle hurdle, 4x200 and 4x400 relays.  

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