Your Prep Sports
The start of the state track and field meet is less than 48 hours away.
After a one-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic the state track and field meet returns to Drake Stadium in Des Moines on Thursday at 9 a.m. and runs through Saturday evening.
Before the gun sounds to start the first event on Thursday morning we take a quick look at each of the teams from the Your Prep Sports area that qualified athletes for state.
Here is a quick breakdown of the Class 4A girls teams from the area.
Individual events qualified: Seven (400; 3,000; 100 hurdles; 400 hurdles; shot put; discus)
Relays qualified: Three (4×400, 4×800, shuttle hurdle)
Athlete to watch: Senior Phoebe Burt is the latest in a long list of excellent West High throwers and will attempt to etch her name into the Trojan record books with a big performance at the state meet.
A serious title contender in both throwing events, Burt enters with the top discus effort in 4A this season and the second-best mark in the shot put.
Burt unloaded the top throw in 4A in the discus this season at 135-11 at the state qualifying meet last week and her mark of 39-10 in the shot put ranks behind only Pleasant Valley senior Riley Vice who leads 4A with a toss of 40-6 ½.
Relay team to watch: The shuttle hurdle quad isn’t the highest seeded among the Trojans’ state qualifying relay teams but the foursome may be the West High group peaking at the perfect time.
Led by junior Ella Woods, the West High squad enters with the 20th best time among 4A qualifiers at 1:11.38 but has run its best down the stretch this season.
Woods, Hebah War, Brynne Nock and Raina Pfeifer finished fourth at the state qualifying meet while posting their best time of the season.
Outlook: Behind Burt and teammate Arionnah Sonii in the throwing events and Woods and freshman Erinn Varga on the track West High is set up for an exciting return to the state meet.
Burt is a legitimate title contender in both of the throwing events while Sonii owns the fourth best throw in 4A in the shot put this season at 39-4 ½.
Varga has emerged as a potential star and enters with a pair of top-10 qualifying times.
The freshman standout enters with the sixth fastest time from state qualifying meets in the 400 hurdles at 1:06.75 and is 10th in the 400 in a time of 1:01.21.
Woods won the 100 hurdles at the state qualifying meet and enters with the ninth fastest time from qualifiers in the event at 15.84.
Individual events qualified: Seven (400; 3,000; 100 hurdles; 400 hurdles; high jump)
Relays qualified: Six (4×200; 4×400; 4×800; shuttle hurdle, sprint medley, distance medley)
Athlete to watch: Senior Lillian Reynolds heads up a group of four four-event qualifiers for the Little Hawks, a list that includes three seniors seeking strong finishes to their careers.
Reynolds enters with the fifth best 400 hurdle time from state qualifying meets at 1:06.59, a time that ranks seventh in Class 4A this season.
City High went heavy on the relays at the state qualifier and Reynolds was a big reason the Little Hawks qualified six relay events for state.
Reynolds is a member of the City High 4×400 squad that enters with the seventh fastest qualifying time, is part of the distance medley team seeded eighth off state qualifiers and the sprint medley team seeded 11th.
Relay team to watch: City High hopes to be a player in the final race of the meet on Saturday evening.
The Little Hawk 4×400 foursome of CeCe Kelly-Harvey, Mia DePrenger, Iris Wedemeyer and Reynolds enter with the seventh fastest time from the state qualifier at 4:07.97.
City High has shown the ability to compete with the best in the state this season.
The Little Hawks posted the fourth fastest time in 4A this season at the Drake Relays last month, clocking a 4:03.8 in a fourth-place finish.
Outlook: City High scored 20 points in a 15th place finish at state in 2019 and the Little Hawks will need a strong performance from its relay teams to match those numbers this week.
All six City High relay teams headed to state are seeded in the top 13 and are squarely in the medal conversation.
Senior CeCe Kelly-Harvey will be a part of four of those relay teams after helping the 4×200, 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley relay teams qualifier.
Senior Jordan Sekafetz enters seeded 10th in the 100 hurdles and is another four-event qualifier after running on the sprint medley, distance medley and shuttle hurdle relay teams at the state qualifier.
Individual events qualified: 12 (400; 800; 1,500; 3,000; 100 hurdles; 400 hurdles; long jump; high jump; discus)
Relays qualified: Six (4×100; 4×200; 4×400; 4×800; shuttle hurdle; distance medley)
Athlete to watch: Already a two-time state champion Ashlyn Keeney returns to Drake Stadium seeking to defend her state titles and build on her legacy as one of the state’s best distance runners.
Keeney won the 1,500 and 3,000 as a freshman in 2019 and enters as one of the favorites in both events this season.
She holds the top time in the 1,500 in 4A this season at 4:39.24 which is more than five seconds faster than the next best time clocked in 4A this spring.
Keeney has the ninth fastest time in 4A in the 3,000 this season but she won the state qualifier in a season-best time of 10:20.94 finishing in front of a pair of top-five runners in Dubuque Hempstead freshmen Keelee Leitzen and Julia Gehl.
Keeney also has the fifth fastest time in the 800 this season at 2:18.13 and runs the anchor on the top-seeded Liberty High distance medley relay team.
Relay team to watch: The Liberty High distance medley relay team will be attempting to make history with the first state relay title in program history.
The foursome of Chaise Lange, Christella Luyeye, Isabelle Woody and Keeney have already proven capable of winning a state title.
Liberty High clocked the fastest time in 4A this season at the state qualifier, edging Dubuque Hempstead in a time of 4:11.38. Hempstead enters with the second fastest time at 4:11.78.
Outlook: After posting the best state meet showing in program history in 2019 the Lightning return to Drake Stadium boastings its largest ever haul of state qualifiers.
Liberty High qualified an impressive 12 individual entries across nine events and is sending six relay teams to the state meet including three (shuttle hurdle, distance medley and 4×800) that enter with top-10 seed times.
Keeney gives the Lightning a true star capable of racking up individual points but the Lightning now possess the balance to challenge the 48 points it scored in a fourth-place finish in 2019.
Liberty High is seeded ninth in the 4×800 relay and the shuttle hurdle team of Woody, Brie Klein, Elizabeth Jaeger and Brityn Gryp enters with the sixth fastest qualifying time at 1:08.17.