By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – West High came to the state meet with its sights set on a top-three finish.
In order to get the finish it wants on Saturday afternoon the Trojans needed a strong start on Thursday morning.
Kolby Greiner and Ali Ali took care of that.
Greiner and Ali finished third and fifth respective in the 3,200 to help propel West High to 14 team points on the opening day of the Class 4A state track and field meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“It was inspiring,” West High coach T.J. Craig said. “The amount of concentration that they put into scoring points for the team is unbelievable and it tells us a lot about where their heads are at.”
Greiner clocked a career-best time of 9:13.35, just .31 off the West High school record to finish third in the first state meet event of his career.
The sophomore passed City High senior Sam Schillinger in the final 100 meters to finish third behind a pair of seniors as Linn-Mar’s Ryan Murphy edged Patrick Bose of Johnston for the title in 9:09.28.
“I felt like we got out slow which is surprising,” Greiner said. “I wanted to take it out but I really wanted to catch Sam Schillinger really bad. When I saw him hurting a little I just had to go for it.”
Ali was fifth behind Schilling in 9:24.33.
The 10 combined points from Greiner and Ali helped West High finish the first day fifth in the 4A team standings with 14 points.
West Des Moines Valley and Waukee are tied for the team lead with 27 points after five events.
“It’s all for the team this week,” Greiner said. “We want to do it for our team and our coach who is a great mentor for us so I was really happy to do that.”
Greiner had a little extra motivation on Thursday while lowering his career-best time by more than six seconds.
His grandmother passed away two days before the meet and Greiner dedicated his performance to her memory.
“My grandma passed away two days ago and I just really wanted to dedicate it to her,” Greiner said. “It’s really emotional but when you finish like this it makes it all the better knowing that she is up there watching down on me. I’m just happy.”
West High also got team points from sophomore Jared Sams-Merriwether who cleared 6-2 to finish fourth in the high jump.
The shuttle hurdle relay team of Cole Mabry, Max Hill, Caden Fedeler and Javonte Williams ran a season-best time of 59.01 to qualify for Saturday’s finals.
West High entered with the 14th best qualifying time in the event but knocked .27 off to reach the finals.
“We talked about that this week that not everything is going to go that we think it’s going to go and not everything is going to go the way we hoped it would but the best thing we can do is keep going out there and putting our best performance out there and see what it gets us,” Craig said. “We had a lot of things to be really happy about today.”