By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Less than two months separate the opening meet of track season and the state track and field meet that runs May 18-20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
As the season gets fully underway for area teams here are five athletes to watch leading up to the state meet.
Senior, West High
Ali announced his presence as an elite distance runner last season with a sixth-place finish in the 3,200 at the Class 4A state meet and reiterated that status by finishing sixth at the state cross country meet.
The senior added a 14th place finish in the 1,600 at last year’s state meet and will attempt to improve on both of those performances this spring.
Senior, City High
One of three returning members of the City High 4×800 relay team, McMillan is part of a strong middle distance group that headlines the Little Hawk roster.
McMillan helped City High to a seventh-place finish at the Class 4A state meet last year in the 4×800 and also finished 14th in the open 800.
A Northern Iowa football recruit, Brinkman has his sights set on closing out his high school career with a state title after missing the 2A shot put title by less than an inch last season.
Brinkman finished runner-up in the shot put with a toss of 61-1 and added a 10th place finish in the discus at the state meet last May.
He closed out the indoor season by setting a River Valley Conference indoor record with a toss of 59-7.
After a strong showing at the WAMAC indoor meet, Ira is a candidate for a breakthrough season this spring.
Ira placed 16th at the state meet last year in the 110 hurdles and helped the Spartan shuttle hurdle relay team earn a spot at the state meet.
The junior was a double winner at the WAMAC indoor meet, claiming titles in the 60 hurdles and the long jump.
Regina continued its run of relay success last season and Jensen was a big part of the reason why.
Jensen was a member of three Regina relay squads to notch top-five state finishes last season.
He was a member of the Regals’ runner-up 4×100 team and also ran a leg on the 4×200 team that finished third and the 4×400 squad that finished fifth.