Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Mike Moore knew it was coming.
As far back as three seasons ago the City High coach could see his program was starting to turn a corner.
City High didn’t finish better than 18th at the Class 4A state meet during Moore’s first four seasons.
Moore believed the breakthrough was coming in the 2020 season that was ultimately cancelled due to covid.
Instead it came last season in the form of a sixth-place finish, the best for the Little Hawks since 2013.
“We took a lot of tail whoopings along the way here but we also built something,” Moore said at practice on Tuesday. “We have to keep that going.”
It’s been a solid turnaround story for Moore and the Little Hawks but last season’s sixth-place performance isn’t the end.
In fact, as far as the Little Hawks are concerned it is just the beginning.
“I saw it from the end of last year, that we could be special this season,” City High junior Sam Rew said. “We performed really well at state, we got sixth but we had basically everybody returning. When we left there last year we could see it.”
What the Little Hawks could picture last season leaving Drake Stadium in Des Moines was a team that could contend for a state title.
That is precisely what City High has shown to be as it returns to Drake Stadium for the Iowa High School Track and Field Championships that begin Thursday and end Saturday in Des Moines.
“Absolutely we want to win it and we think we can win it,” Rew said. “We truly believe everything it takes to win it so there isn’t really any hiding it. We want to win it.”
The signs that started to show up last season suggesting City High could contend for a 4A title surfaced early in 2022.
City High was strong during the indoor season winning the IATC Indoor State Meet in Ames.
“A lot of it was at the beginning of the season kind of dominating in the indoor meets,” City High junior Matt Schaeckenbach said. “When you talked to guys early in the season and asked how they did and they were all winning events you could see it.”
Behind a deep roster stocked with top-end talent the early season success continued throughout the season.
As the outdoor season started the invitational meet titles kept piling up.
“It was an eye-opener to just how sturdy we are as a team and how much potential we had,” Rew said. “That showed us something.”
City High won an Invitational at West Des Moines Valley in April and another meet filled with central Iowa teams a few days later in Ames.
The Little Hawks added wins at its own Forwald Relays as well as conference and district titles.
“Winning is something that is contagious,” Moore said. “When you get a feel for what that’s like it hard to stop that snowball from rolling into a big snowman.”
City High enters the three-day state meet as one of the main title contenders in 4A.
The Little Hawks had 19 total event qualifiers across 15 events.
“It’s awesome because you see so many great athletes all around,” Schaeckenbach said. “You put the bits and pieces together and you could see that we don’t really have a weak spot on our team.”
City High has nine events with top-five qualifying performances from the state qualifying meet last week.
Junior Ford Washburn has top-five times in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and Schaeckenbach has top-five times in the 110 and 400 hurdles.
TaeShon McDaniels enters fifth in the discus, Ammon Smith is fourth in the 800 and the City High 4×800 relay is second.
“This weekend is going to be fun to see,” Moore said. “We definitely are going to go there and perform. We are going to be hopefully coming home with some kind of a trophy.”