Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Four classes with 19 events each over a span of three days.
That’s the numbers for the state track and field meet that opens on Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines and runs through Saturday afternoon.
With so much going on in and around Drake Stadium during those three days here is a quick breakdown of the area teams competing this week.
Individual events qualified: Eight (100, 200, 400, 1,600, 3,200, high jump, discus, shot put)
Relays qualified: Three (4x800, distance medley, sprint medley)
Athlete to watch: Gabe Caruthers didn’t play a central role in West High’s state runner-up run last season but that won’t should change this season. Caruthers comes to the state meet with top-seven qualifying times in three individual events and anchors the West High sprint medley relay.
The senior sprinter has been among the best in the state this season and will need a big weekend if West High is going to be in trophy contention on Saturday afternoon. Caruthers had the third-best time in the 400, sixth-best 100 time and seventh best 200 time from state qualifying meets.
Relay team to watch: The best bet for relay points for the Trojans comes in the sprint medley anchored by Caruthers who owns the third fastest 400 time in the state this spring.
Shamar Wyatt, Tyuss Bell, Nick Johnson and Caruthers clocked a 1:33.68 in winning the district title last week, good for ninth fastest among state qualifiers.
Outlook: West High came up three points shy of two-time defending state champion West Des Moines Valley in the 4A team race last season, settling for a runner-up finish in title chase that came down to the final event.
West High was ninth with 35 points in 2017 before rolling up 57 points in its runner-up finish last May.
Led by the big three of Caruthers and fellow senior Landon Green and Kolby Greiner the Trojans will look to force their way into trophy contention once again.
Greiner will look to cap a strong prep career with his best state meet yet.
The veteran distance ace ran a 4:26.89 1,600 and a 9:30.06 3,000 while winning district titles in both events and enters with the top qualifying time in each.
Green is the defending 4A state shot put champ and has the fourth best mark in 4A this season entering the state meet.
Last season Green also entered fourth before improving his previous best mark by nearly two feet to win the title.
Individual events qualified: Six (800, 1,600, 110 hurdles, high jump, long jump, discus)
Relays qualified: Four (4x200, 4x800, Shuttle hurdle relay, distance medley relay)
Athlete to watch: Senior Daniel Brown is seeking to put the exclamation point on his prep career with a strong showing at the state meet.
Brown posted a pair of stellar 800-meter performances at the district meet last week posting the second fastest time from 4A qualifiers in the 800 at 1:57.36 and leading off the Little Hawks’ winning 4x800 relay team with a 1:57 split.
A big weekend at the state meet would be the perfect capper for a strong career for Brown.
Relay team to watch: 4x800 – City High returns to the state meet seeking a second consecutive 4x800 title after winning the state title in 7:49.41 a year ago.
Brown is the lone member from last year’s state title team to compete at the district meet but the Little Hawks are still in the thick of the title conversation after posting the sixth fastest time from state qualifying meets.
Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand, Joe Fischer, Max DePrenger and Brown clocked an 8:05.32 at the district meet just six seconds off leader Johnston.
Outlook: Of the 10 events City High qualified for the state meet seven enter with top-10 qualifying times.
Brown and the 4x800 relay team are the headliners but the Little Hawks have a pair of other athletes that enter with top-six marks from state qualifiers as City High attempts to improve on its 17 points from a year ago.
Junior Oisin Leopold ranks sixth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.98 while Kaleba Jack had the second-best long jump performance from state qualifiers at 22-2.
Tevon Williamson (high jump), Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand (1,600) and the City High shuttle hurdle relay team all enter with top-10 qualifying times.
Individual events qualified: Two (400, 400 hurdles, long jump)
Relays qualified: Four (4x400, 4x800, sprint medley relay, distance medley relay)
Athlete to watch: Drake Woody put on a display at the district meet last week while qualifying for the state meet in four events.
The junior won the 400 hurdles in 54.97, the sixth fastest performance at a state qualifier, was runner-up in the 400 and anchored the Lightning 4x400 relay team to a title.
Woody also runs the 400-meter leg on the Lightning sprint medley relay team.
Relay team to watch: The Liberty High 4x400 relay team ran its top time of the season on its way to a district title last week and will look to build on that performance at the state meet.
The foursome of Kelby Telander, Bo Gryp, Ben Houselog and Woody clocked a 3:27.27 en route to the district title, good for the 10th fastest time from state qualifying meets.
Outlook: Liberty High had a solid debut season last spring qualifying five events for the Class 3A state meet in its first varsity season.
Even with a move up to Class 4A this spring the Lightning have taken big steps forward, qualifying seven events including four relays for the state meet.
Liberty High has a pair of individuals capable of snagging the first state medal in program history.
Woody has the seventh fastest time in the 400 hurdles this spring at 54.65 while JaQuel Davis has the third best long jump performance in 4A this season at 22-7 ¼.
Davis was ninth in the long jump at the 3A state meet last year.
Individual events qualified: Five (100, 400, 1,600, 3,200, 400 hurdles)
Relays qualified: Three (4x200, 4x800, shuttle hurdle relay)
Athlete to watch: It has been a breakthrough season for junior Nick O’Connor who comes to Drake Stadium seeking the first state medal of his career.
O’Connor owns top-five times in both the 3,200 and 1,600 on the season and anchored the Clippers 4x800 relay team to a district title and the fastest time among state qualifiers.
The junior distance ace has clocked a 9:55.33 in the 3,200 which ranks fifth in 3A this season and owns the fourth fastest 1,600 time at 4:33.11.
Relay team to watch: Perhaps the top performance in a district championship showing for the Clippers last week came from the Clear Creek Amana 4x800 squad that took more than 14 seconds off its previous season best on its way to the district title.
The foursome of Tom Johnson, Kaden McAreavy, Jack Sexton and Nick O’Connor won in a school-record time of 8:07.07 which is the fastest time in 3A this season.
Outlook: The Clippers qualified nine events for state last season and finished with seven points.
This season Clear Creek Amana will send eight events to the state meet but behind its distance corps is fully capable of surging well past its state meet point total from a year ago.
O’Connor has a pair of top-five times in the 1,600 and 3,200 this season and is a key on the Clippers top-seeded 4x800 relay team.
Brandon Barker won a distance title in the 3,200 and has the 11th fastest time in 3A this season.
Individual events qualified: Five (100, 400 hurdles, long jump, discus, shot put)
Relays qualified: Two (4x100, 4x200)
Athlete to watch: Solon has a pair of senior throwers in medal contention in Coal Flansburg and Rocky Lensing.
Lensing has the sixth best mark in 3A in the shot put this season at 53-2 ¼ while Flansburg has the seventh best toss in the discus this spring at 162-10.
That duo headlines the scoring opportunities for the Spartans along with junior Hayes Dierson who enters with the 11th best mark in the discus this season.
Relay team to watch: The foursome of Jace Andregg, Jackson Pipolo, AJ Coons and Adam Bock qualified in both the 4x100 and 4x200.
The Spartans have work to do to work themselves into medal contention entering outside the top 15 in both events.
Solon ranks 17th in the 4x100 entering the state meet and are 24th in the 4x200.
Outlook: Solon will be hard pressed to match its 27 points and 11th place finish from last season but has the ability to rack up points with a strong showing in the throws.
Solon has a trio of individual qualifiers in Bock in the 100, Thomas Brandt in the 400 hurdles and Andregg in the long jump.
Individual events qualified: Two (Shot put, discus)
Relays qualified: None
Athlete to watch: A three-time state qualifier, senior Luke Stein will look to cap his career with a second consecutive state medal.
Stein was fifth in the shot put last season and enters with the second-best toss in Class 2A this season at 56-2.
Iowa football recruit Noah Fenske of New Hampton has the top mark in Class 2A this season at 60-11 ¼.
Outlook: Stein is the lone Regina qualifier, earning spots in both throwing events for the first time in his career.
The senior is seeking a second consecutive top-five performance in the shot put and has the ability to earn a medal in the discus.
Stein enters with the seventh best mark in 2A in the discus this spring at 150-10.
Individual events qualified: Two (400, 800)
Athlete to watch: Senior Zach Thompson will carry the flag for West Branch after qualifying in a pair of events.
Thompson clocked the 19th fastest time in both the 400 (52.76) and 800 (2:03.27) from 2A qualifiers to earn a spot as an additional qualifier in both events.
Outlook: Thompson is the lone qualifier for West Branch and will look to make his mark in his final season.
Last season Thompson was a member of the West Branch 4x400 relay team that placed 12th and he will make his individual state debut this spring.
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