By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – West High came to Drake Stadium this week with a plan to win a state title.
The Women of Troy executed that plan to near perfection over the three-day Class 4A state track and field meet.
Waukee held off West High to win its second straight Class 4A title and fourth in the past six years but needed a 4A record 116 points to do it.
West High rolled up 89 points on its way to the runner-up finish, its most points and highest team finish since scoring 91 points to win the 4A title in 2010.
“The plan that we put together when we came down here I would say in all reality the girls executed that to near perfection,” West High coach Mike Parker said. “We won five events. We won the longest race on the track, the shortest race on the track we won the combination between the sprint and distance relay we won a field event we did a lot of great things, Waukee at the end of the day they just had too many good things.”
The 89 team points nearly matched the combined total from the past two seasons for West High and pushed the Women of Troy into the top three for the first time since 2011.
West High hadn’t scored more than 57 points in any of its previous five trips to state and was 14th in 2014.
“We wanted to win a team title but we’ll take runner-up that is really awesome because we haven’t been in the top three for many, many years,” West High senior Valerie Welch said. “We finally put it all together this year.”
Welch and junior Bailey Nock were big reasons for the breakthrough for West High.
Nock and Welch each won a pair of individual titles and both ran on West High’s winning distance medley relay team.
Welch won the long jump and 100 hurdles and Nock won the 3,000 and 1,500 as West High scored points in nine different events.
“We said our stars had to be stars for us to be in contention and our stars were,” Parker said. “You saw Val and Bailey do what everyone on their team knew what they could do.”
West High had double placers in four individual events as seniors Micaela Gravelin (400 hurdles) and Gabby Skopec (3,000) earned state medals along with sophomore Deniz Ince (800) and junior Kitra Bell (long jump).
Leah Dusterhoft (discus) and Chandler Haight chipped in with runner-up finishes in field events.
“Being in the team race makes it more special,” Dusterhoft said. “As a senior to have a chance to try to help our team win a team title just makes you want it that much more and makes it more fun.”
West High held a 10-point lead heading into Saturday but Waukee erased it with a win in the sprint medley relay in the first event.
The Warriors added a tittle in the shuttle hurdle relay but placed in the top five in other events on Saturday to pull away.
“You never believe that it’s out of reach until that final point total,” Parker said. “Waukee had just a few too many good things and that is what we knew we would be up against them just plugging away with seconds and thirds and that’s what made a difference.”