Your Prep Sports
DUBUQUE – Jeremy Mims was not entirely sure what the day had in store for his team.
Prior to Thursday’s Class 4A state-qualifying meet, the City High girls’ track and field coach had to do some unexpected tinkering with his lineup.
Turns out, his bunch is as versatile as it is deep.
“Very happy,” Mims said after the Little Hawks won the team title at a district meet at Dubuque Senior High School. “We had to move some things around with illnesses right before districts. We made some last-minute changes. The kids stepped up and filled in their spots. We came out to compete, so I couldn’t be happier.”
With 139 total points, City High claimed the team crown by a dozen points over runner-up Dubuque Hempstead and were 20 better than third-place Cedar Falls.
City High freshman Ani Wedemeyer led the way for the Little Hawks with a pair of individual wins in the 400-meter dash (in 57.78 seconds) and the 800 run (2:18.79), and also anchored a pair of relay victories in the sprint medley and the 4×400.
“She is a special talent,” Mims said. “She has just got a work ethic. She is one of those kids that as a coach, you love having. The biggest thing you have to do is pull her back as opposed to challenge her because she will accept any challenge. … We have to pull back on the reigns a little bit because she wants to run. She gets out, she competes. She loves it.”
In addition to automatic state meet bids,12 at-large nods will be awarded from the remaining performances in the other state-qualifying meets across the state.
Wedemeyer entered the district meet ranked second in the 800 and fourth in the 400 and will definitely be one to watch when the state meet begins May 19 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
“I have a long background with sports,” Wedemeyer said. “I did gymnastics competitively for a long time when I was younger. It is just really fun. A good team environment. I just was racing to win. It was more about place tonight, so it was relaxed and lower pressure, which felt nice. So I just went out there and did my best.”
City High junior Eva Reynolds earned a state berth with a runner-up finish in the 400 hurdles (1:06.19) and was a part of relay wins in the shuttle hurdle and 4×400, plus a second-place performance in the distance medley.
Senior Mia DePrenger was the lone City High runner that participate in all four relays, and her efforts yielded four state bids via three titles (sprint medley, shuttle hurdle, 4×400) and one second-place finish (distance medley).
“She runs everything for us,” Mims said. “That kid is tough and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet. I am excited for next week to see what she can do next week. She is a special one.”
DePrenger and Wedemeyer were joined by seniors Safia Almabrazi and Claire Brown in the sprint medley victory, while DePrenger and Reynolds teamed up with seniors Te’Nia Ansley and Martha Hamilton in the shuttle hurdle, then welcomed junior Bella Skay and senior Rowan Boulter into the distance medley quartet.
In the meet-closing 4×400 relay, DePrenger, Reynolds and Wedemeyer were kickstarted by junior Iris Wedemeyer.
“We have been working hard all season, especially these last few weeks,” Ani Wedemeyer said. “Putting in the workouts and recovery. We have got a really good team dynamic and we just really care about it.”
West High finished fourth in the team standings with 97 points.
The Trojans locked up a pair of automatic state berths in individual events when senior Ella Woods placed second in the 100 hurdles and sophomore Erinn Varga won the district crown in the 400 hurdles (1:05.42).
“I can just finish really well in the 400,” Varga said. “When I cross that eighth hurdle, I know I can give all that I can give where some of the other girls are 100 hurdlers. I just feel like I can sprint to the next one and make over and sprint to the finish without any problem. I am really proud of myself for that.
In the field events, West High juniors Waad Ibrahim and Ava Bruxvoort were second and third, respectively, in the high jump.
Both were credited with jumps of 4-10 as was event winner Addison Freeman of Waterloo East. It stands to reason that the trio could face off again at the state meet.
“We are so excited,” Varga said. “We went to Drake we got our experience there and I think we are ready to come back and give a really strong performance and show all that we can give.”