Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – During a breakthrough junior season Ammon Smith is developing a reputation as an incredible closer.
His City High team has built a habit of starting meets with a bang.
On Friday at the Drake Relays those two things went hand in hand.
Smith ripped off a career-best 1:51.9 split as City High started the day with a title in the distance medley relay on a rainy morning at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“Start off with a bang, that’s what we usually do and it feels really good,” City High senior Jovan Harris said. “We started off winning, we usually finish with winning. We just want to keep winning. We want it all, we want to win everything.”
Harris ran the 400-meter leg of the medley win joining Ronnie Major and Sam Rew in leading the Little Hawks to the title in a time of 3:28.70.
Anchored by Aidan Ramsey who won the 3,200 title in a Drake Relays record time on Thursday, Dallas Center-Grimes was runner-up in 3:30.86 followed by Waukee Northwest in 3:31.09.
Ramsey closed ground late but couldn’t catch Smith who couldn’t believe his own sub-1:52 8000-meter split.
“When my coach told me my time I said, ‘no way, you’ve got to be kidding me’,” Smith said. “That did not feel like a 1:51.9. That was fun.”
Rew and Major had City High in solid position 400 meters into the race.
With heavy hitters Harris and Smith on the back end that was the plan.
“It makes it very relaxing (having those two) because going into the race our whole goal is getting the stick to them as fast as possible to let them go to work,” Rew said. “That’s what we did and pulled it through.”
Harris pulled City High into second with a strong final 200 meters.
When Harris he handed off to Smith the junior trailed Washington anchor Lance Sobaski by a little more than five meters.
“I love watching him run,” Harris said of Smith. “He started off good and his finish is always amazing. When I saw him go I knew it was our race for sure.”
It didn’t take long for Smith to take control.
He needed a little more than 300 meters to pull to the front of the pack.
“I love chasing, it gives me so much incentive,” Smith said. “You have to be patient when you are chasing someone which isn’t what you want to do but it works out.”
Ramsey and Kon Dut of Waukee Northwest gave chase but Smith would not be caught.
Smith didn’t hold off the pack, he pulled away.
“All I have to do is get it to Jovan and he’s going to do the rest, I know that,” Major said. “Then watch Ammon do his job.”
Smith and Harris were in the same spots on last year’s distance medley squad that finished runner-up to Ames at the Drake Relays.
On Friday the helped the Little Hawks finish the job while starting the weekend strong.
“It feels amazing,” Smith said of the win. “I’ve always wanted one of these flags and I finally have one.”
Junior Matt Schaeckenbach continued the strong day for City High with an eighth place finish in the high jump by clearing 6-5.
Schaeckenbach was one of eight competitors to clear 6-5 on Friday as Jacob Kieler of Cedar Falls, Sam Skarich of North Scott and North Polk senior Jack Noble each cleared 6-9.
At Drake Stadium
Individual champions; area participants
High jump – 1. Jacob Kieler (Cedar Falls) 6-9; 8. Matt Schaeckenbach (City High) 6-5
Shot put – 1. Austin Busch (South Hamilton) 60-5 ¾; 13. TaeShon McDaniels (City High) 49-6 ½
110 hurdles – 1. Jack Lathan (Spirit Lake) 13.99; 3. Eric Lucas (Liberty High) 14.71; 5. Harrison Rosenberg (Clear Creek Amana) 14.86;
100 – 1. Tyrese Miller (Ankeny) 10.88; 2. Miles Thompson (Cedar Rapids Washington) 10.95; 4. Luke Meyers (Liberty High) 11.08
400 – 1. Tyrese Miller (Ankeny) 47.91
800 – 1. Jackson Mace-Maynard (Newton) 1:54.25; 17. Ammon Smith (City High) 2:00.36
Distance medley relay – 1. City High (Sam Rew, Ronnie Major, Jovan Harris, Ammon Smith) 3:28.7; 21. Clear Creek Amana (Ben Swails, Gage Freeman, Keyan Gisleson, Gavin Zillyette) 3:38.38
4×200 – 1. Southeast Polk 1:28.43; 7. West High (Todd Rent, Izaiah Loveless, Nate Gudenkauf, Christian Janis) 1:30.06; 9. Liberty High (Carter Meyers, Ben O’Connor, Lucas Meyer, Luke Meyers) 1:30.49; 20. Clear Creek Amana (Ben Swails, Jackson Schmidt, Nick Johnson, Gage Freeman) 1:33.07; 23. City High (Sam Rew, Mike Rew, Isaiah Svoboda, Drew Larson) 1:34.1