Your Prep Sports
The track and field postseason heats up in a big way on Thursday.
Trips to the state track and field meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines May 20-22 are on the line on Thursday at state qualifying meets around the state.
A pair of Your Prep Sports area teams will host meets on Thursday with West High playing host in Class 4A and Solon hosting a 3A qualifier.
Before the action gets rolling on Thursday at 4 p.m. here is a quick look at the girls state qualifying meets featuring teams from the Your Prep Sports area.
State Qualifier 4
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: West High
Teams: City High; Liberty High; West High; Dubuque Hempstead; Dubuque Senior; Muscatine; Ottumwa; Cedar Rapids Prairie
Team Title Chase: A couple of Mississippi Valley Conference divisional winners will battle for the team title as Cedar Rapids Prairie and Dubuque Hempstead enter as favorites at a loaded state qualifier.
Hempstead won the Valley Division title last week and Prairie took the Mississippi title and should be the leaders to emerge from a pack of contenders that includes Liberty High, City High, West High and Dubuque Senior.
Athlete to Watch: It has been a couple of years since a state track meet was held but Ashlyn Keeney is still the defending state champion in both the 1,500 and 3,000 and will be seeking to add to her title count next week.
Keeney is coming off an impressive performance at the MVC Divisional meet in which she finished runner-up in the 400 and won titles in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000.
The junior holds the fastest time in 4A this season in the 1,500 (4:39.24) and enters ninth in the 800 (2:20.25) and 13th in the 3,000.
Event to Watch: There are other events with higher ranking competitors among the best in 4A but the battle for the top two automatic qualifying spots in the 100 hurdles is setting up to be a among the most hotly contested of the evening.
It could very well be an all-Iowa City race for the two state meet spots in the high hurdles as the top five times enter the state qualifier all come from Iowa City competitors.
West High junior Ella Woods is top-seeded with a time of 15.87 while City High senior Jordan Sekafetz (16.26), Liberty High juniors Brie Klein (16.46) and Isabelle Woody (16.59) and City High freshman Sierra Pruessner (16.63) could all be in contention.
Breakdown: The field is strong from top to bottom and City High, West High and Liberty High all have the talent to contend across the board.
West High senior Phoebe Burt is the top seed in both the shot put (39-10) and discus (126-11 ½) and ranks in the top five in 4A in both this season.
West High junior Ariinnah Sonii is seeded second in the shot put (39-4 ½) and Liberty High junior Darya Acas is third in the discus and fourth in the shot put.
City High senior Lilly Reynolds is second seeded in the 400 hurdles (1:07) and teammate Alia Vanderhoef is second in the high jump (5-2).
Liberty High enters with five relay teams seeded in the top three including its 4×200, 4×800 and sprint medley teams which all have the second fastest time among state qualifying meet teams.
City High is the top seed in both the shuttle hurdle relay and 4×400 and has all seven relays in the top five entering competition on Thursday.
State Qualifier 5
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: Mount Pleasant
Teams: Clear Creek Amana; Davenport Assumption; Fairfield; Fort Madison; Keokuk; Mount Pleasant; Washington; West Burlington/Notre Dame
Team Title Chase: A strong field with plenty of balance this one could come down to the wire.
Fairfield, host Mount Pleasant and perennial power Davenport Assumption should be towards the top of the pack in a meet that should come down to the final few races.
Athlete to Watch: Clear Creek Amana sophomore Haidyn Barker enters with top-five seeds in a pair of individual events as she looks to secure her first ever trip to the state meet.
Barker is seeded third in the 1,500 (5:18.12) and fifth in the 800 (2:36) but should also play a key role in the relay races for Clear Creek Amana.
Barker is a member of the Clippers’ 4×800 and distance medley relay teams that each enter the state qualifying meet as the top seed.
Event to Watch: Clear Creek Amana turned a few heads last month with a fourth-place Drake Relays finish in the shuttle hurdle relay.
The Clippers can make another statement in the event with a strong showing at the state qualifier on Thursday.
Clear Creek Amana team of Emma Mathis, Kayla Jiras, Cileigh Smiddy and Silvana Kabolo enters with the top time in 3A this season at 1:07.47 and will face what could be a state final preview against a Fairfield foursome that currently sits third in 3A with a time of 1:08.08.
Breakdown: Clear Creek Amana has made massive improvements this season and can put the finishing touches on a strong season starting on Thursday.
The Clippers have just three top-five seeds in individual events (Barker and Kabolo in the 100 hurdles) but can do damage in the relays with four squads entering seeded either first or second.
Clear Creek Amana has the top seeded team in the shuttle hurdle, distance medley and 4×800 relays and the Clippers’ 4×400 team is seeded second.
State Qualifier 8
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: Solon High School
Teams: Solon; Central DeWitt; Maquoketa; Marion; Monticello; Mount Vernon; Dubuque Wahlert; Cedar Rapids Xavier
Team Title Chase: The field is solid but should turn in to a two-team race at the top between two-time defending 3A runner-up Dubuque Wahlert and host Solon.
Head-to-head relay matchups could be the difference with Dubuque Wahlert the top seed in four relays and Solon seeded first in three.
Athlete to Watch: The WAMAC track and field athlete of the year, Emma Bock will look to continue what has been a stellar junior season.
Bock is coming off a four-gold performance at the WAMAC Super Meet in which the Solon junior won the 400 and 800 and ran on the Spartans winning sprint medley and 4×400 relay teams.
Bock is the top seed in the 800 (2:15.99) on Thursday but will face a still test in the 400 in the form of Wahlert freshman Rylee Steffen who owns the third fastest time in 3A this season at 57.55 while Bock has the fifth fastest at 57.95.
Event to Watch: Expect Solon and Wahlert to battle in the relays all even with the Spartans and Golden Eagles the top two seeds in six of the seven relay events.
However, the final relay matchup between the two perennial powers may just be the best.
The Solon foursome of Makinley Levin, Kaia Holtkamp, Gracie Federspiel and Bock enters with the second fastest 4×400 relay time in Class 3A this season at 4:03.88 while Wahlert owns the fifth fastest time at 4:08.3.
The Spartans are the defending 3A champs in the event and will look to make a statement entering the state meet.
Breakdown: A week after racking up 175 points while winning the WAMAC title the focus for Solon shifts to accumulating state meet qualifiers.
Solon appears well positioned for a big night on Thursday at its home track with top-three qualifying marks in eight events.
In addition to Bock, Holtkamp is second in the 800 (2:19.67), Kiersten Conway is second in the 3,000 (11:12.62) and Sophia Stahle has the top time in the 100 hurdles (16.34).
Holtkamp is tied for the top spot in the high jump (5-2), Levin is second in long jump (16-11 ½) while senior Ava Conrad is second in shot put (38-4) and tops in discus (129-9).
All seven Solon relay teams are seeded first or second.
The distance medley, shuttle hurdle and 4×400 teams all enter with the fastest times among state qualifying meet teams while the 4×100, 4×200, 4×800 and sprint medley teams are all second behind Dubuque Wahlert.
State Qualifier 5
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Teams: West Branch; Regina; Anamosa; Bellevue; Camanche; Durant; Louisa-Muscatine; Mediapolis; Northeast; Tipton; West Liberty; Wilton
Team Title Chase: Northeast was runner-up to two-time defending 2A state champion Mid-Prairie at the River Valley Conference meet and enters as the favorite to secure the team title.
Tipton, Anamosa and Regina lead the pack of contenders that will be chasing the Rebels.
Athlete to Watch: Regina senior Annie Gahan is coming off a strong performance at the RVC meet and looking to set herself up for a busy week at state track next week.
Gahan was third in the 100 hurdles, fourth in the 400 hurdles and ran on the Regals shuttle hurdle and 4×400 relay teams that were both second at the conference meet a week ago.
Expect a similar workload for Gahan on Thursday as she enters with the second fastest times in both the 100 and 400 hurdles and Regina has the top times in both the 4×400 and shuttle hurdle relays.
Event to Watch: Regina senior Annalee Bartels enters with the fastest time in the 3,000 by nearly a minute but can also secure an automatic qualifying spot in the 1,500 with a strong effort on Thursday.
Bartels enters with third fastest 1,500 time trailing Charlotte Brown of Wilton (5:17.62) and Tipton freshman Rebecca Hinderaker (5:25.26).
At 5:26.31 Bartels is less than a second off the pace of Hinderaker and is coming off her fastest time of the season last week at the RVC meet.
Breakdown: Between Gahan, Bartels and sophomore Berlyn O’Connor in the 800 and junior Peyton Naeve in the 100 hurdles Regina has top-three seeds in six individual events.
However, the key for Regina’s postseason success may lie in the relays.
Regina has the top seed time in both the shuttle hurdle and 4×400 and ranks third in the 4×800, sprint medley and distance medley and fifth in the 4×200.
A strong relay effort on Thursday could be a massive boost to the Regals state qualifying haul.
West Branch enters with a pair of top-four seeded relay teams.
The Bears’ 4×200 enters third with a time of 1:54.26 while West Branch is fourth in the 4×100 at 53.78.
West Branch is also fifth in both the 4×400 and 4×800 and senior Allie Laschanzky is fourth in the shot put (34-4).