Your Prep Sports
Four Classes, 19 events over three days.
That’s the basic numbers for the boys state track and field meet that runs May 18-20 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
A lot happens on and around the blue oval at Drake Stadium during the three-day state meet so here is a breakdown of the area teams competing at state this week.
Individual events qualified: 10 Events (200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, 110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, high jump, discus, shot put).
Relays qualified: Six (4×100, 4×400, 4×800, distance medley, sprint medley, shuttle hurdle).
Athlete to watch: Senior Derek Nugent enters with the fastest qualifying time in the 800 at 1:55.52 and is a member of the Trojan’s top-seeded 4×400 relay team and the distance medley team that enters with the third fastest time.
Relay team to watch: The 4×400 foursome of Derek Nugent, Chris Low, Austin West and Gabe Caruthers clocked the third fastest time in 4A and best at any state qualifying last week with a 3:20.75. The group will be looking for a little redemption after being disqualified in the event at the Drake Relays.
Outlook: Two seasons removed from scoring five points at the state meet West High comes in as a legitimate title contender. The Trojans have four individuals that enter with top-two qualifying marks and two relays that enter seeded into the top three. Led by its relays and the distance duo of sophomore Kolby Greiner and senior Ali Ali West High figures to battle Western Dubuque and Waukee for the 4A title. The Trojans expect a boost from a balanced group of individuals that includes Gabe Caruthers (2nd in the 200), Nugent, Austin West (6th in 400 hurdles) and Max Hill (4th 110 hurdles).
Individual events qualified: Five events. (400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, 110 hurdles).
Relays qualified: Five (4×100, 4×400, 4×800, shuttle hurdle relay, sprint medley relay).
Athlete to watch: Jim McMillan picked up a state medal in the 4×800 relay last season helping City High to a seventh-place finish but returns to Drake Stadium for the final time in search of more. McMillan enters with the sixth fastest qualifying time in the 800 at 1:57.78 and helped the Little Hawk 4×800 team post the third best time at a state qualifier at 8:02.41.
Relay team to watch: The Little Hawk 4×400 squad of Daniel Brown, Zach Jones, Lucas Firmstone and Jack Roggeveen ran a season-best time of 3:21.67 at the district meet last week, fourth best among qualifiers. City High posted its previous best time this season in the Drake Relays’ prelims and ended up finishing eighth.
Outlook: Led by its 4×800 and 4×400 relay teams that both enter with top-four qualifying times City High is set up for its best performance at state in several years.
Between senior distance runner Michael Berg (top-eight qualifying times in both the 1,600 and 3,200), McMillan and Zach Jones (10th in the 400) the Little Hawks are poised to easily surpass its point total from the past two seasons.
With a strong performance from its seventh-seeded 4×100 relay team City High could match its point total from the last two state meets combined.
Individual events qualified: Four (400, 110 hurdles, discus, shot put).
Relays qualified: None.
Athletes to watch: Tyler Linderbaum and Coal Flansburg headline a strong list of Solon throwing qualifiers that will try to build on the Spartans’ legacy of shot put success. Linderbaum enters with the third best mark in Class 3A this season at 55-10 while Flansburg, a sophomore, has the fourth best mark in 3A this spring at 54-8 ½.
Outlook: The list of Solon qualifiers isn’t long but the Spartans have a chance to leave Des Moines with some hardware. Five of Solon’s six event qualifiers are seeded into the top seven in their events led by the Spartan’s throwing corps. Jackson Walker and Jake Coons are fifth and seventh respectively in the discus while Luke Ira has the second best qualifying mark in the 110.
Clear Creek Amana
Individual events qualified: One (400 hurdles).
Relays qualified: Two (4×800, shuttle hurdle).
Athlete to watch: Senior Derek Toy is making his second consecutive state meet appearance in the 400 hurdles and helped the Clippers’ shuttle hurdle relay team qualify with the 20th best time.
Relay team to watch: The 4×800 team of Drake Mougin, Quentin Gisleson, Kaden McAreavy and Jack Wingert clocked the second fastest time in school history at the district meet last week and enters with the 14th best qualifying time.
Outlook: Clear Creek Amana got back on the board with four points at the state meet last season after being shutout in 2015. Keep an eye on the Clippers’ shuttle hurdle relay team that expects to make a big jump returning to state with the same four members that placed 21st last year.
Individual events qualified: Four (400, 3,200, shot put, discus).
Relays qualified: Three (4×100, distance medley, sprint medley).
Athlete to watch: With the sixth best throw in state history already under his belt this season Jared Brinkman will try to cap an impressive career with a state shot put title. Brinkman’s toss of 65-2 ½ is the sixth best all-time but only the fourth best in Iowa this season. Also a qualifier in the discus, Brinkman enters with the sixth best 2A discus toss this spring.
Relay team to watch: The sprint medley relay team of Michael Conlon, Brady Bigley, Jayden Kies and Jack Jensen enters with the ninth best time in 2A this season and should contend for a state medal.
Outlook: It will be tough for the Regals to match the 28 points or eighth place performance of a season ago but the Regals have a chance to leave Des Moines with something they didn’t last season, an individual state title. Brinkman will attempt to become the first shot put champion in Regina history following a runner-up finish last season. None of the three Regina relays teams are seeded into the top 10 but don’t count out the Regals who have been among the best sprint relay groups in 2A over the past several seasons.
Individual events qualified: One (110 hurdles).
Relays qualified: One (4×800).
Athlete to watch: Senior Cooper Kabela caps a strong prep career and impressive senior season as the Bears’ lone individual qualifier. Kabela finished 17th in the 110 hurdles at state last season and was a member of the Bears’ runner-up shuttle hurdle relay team.
Relay team to watch: The 4×800 relay team of Jordan Baldwin, John Yates, Atlas Kolpin and Ben Thompson won the district title in a season-best time of 8:26.67, 11th best in Class 2A this season.
Outlook: West Branch won’t match its sixth-place finish or 34 points from last season but has a chance to score some points with a pair of qualifiers. Kabela is a state meet veteran and the 4×800 relay teams enters with the 11th best qualifying time from the district meet.