Your Prep Sports
It’s state track time.
Thursday marks the opening day for the four-class, three-day state track and field meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
The opening two days are divided into two sessions with Classes 1A and 4A going in the morning and Classes 2A and 3A in the afternoon.
Before the gun goes off to start the first races on Thursday morning here is a list of five things to watch on the opening day.
The Team Races
Team trophies aren’t handed out until Saturday afternoon but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t title implications from the opening race.
The City High boys should be in a 4A title race that expects to come down to the wire.
Same for the Solon girls in Class 3A.
Both teams have a chance to put themselves in solid spots on Thursday.
City High will look for big points from its 4×800 relay team, distance stud Ford Washburn in the 3,200, sprint star Jovan Harris in the 400 as well as Matt Schaeckenbach (high jump) and TaeShon McDaniels (discus) in the field events.
Solon is the defending 4×800 champion and has a shot at defending its title and should double score in the 400 with Emma Bock and Gracie Federspiel.
The West High boys and City High girls are capable of coming home with team trophies as well and have important races Thursday morning.
Distance Showdown #1
The first head-to-head meeting of the weekend between cross-town distance aces Ford Washburn of City High and Alex McKane of West High comes Thursday in the 3,200.
McKane and Washburn headline an impressive field in the 4A 3,200.
Washburn enters with the fastest time in 4A this season after ripping off an 8:59.6 in a runner-up finish at the Drake Relays.
McKane has the fifth-fastest time among 4A qualifiers with a 9:11.41 at the Drake Relays.
West Des Moines Dowling Jackson Heidesch is the defending champion in the event and has clocked a 9:01.29 this season.
Toss in Linn-Mar senior Hayden Kuhn (9:06.04) and Dowling senior Will Ryan (9:10.72) and the 3,200 is one of the top races of the meet across all classes.
Keeney Gets Started
Another busy week on the blue oval inside Drake Stadium for Liberty High senior Ashlyn Keeney kicks off on Thursday with the 3,000.
Already a three-time state champion, Keeney will compete in four events at state for the third time in her career.
Keeney won the 3,000 as a freshman in 2019 and was the runner-up in the event last season.
She has the seventh best time in 4A in the 3,000 this spring at 10:10.09.
Woody Aims For High Jump Title
It’s been a tough season to a degree for Liberty High senior Isabelle Woody.
Offseason surgery kept Woody off the track for the duration of the season limiting her to one event – the high jump.
Rather than lament what she hasn’t been able to do this season on the track Woody has put her focus into what she can do and in the process has put herself into position to compete for a state high jump title on Thursday.
Woody is one of five jumpers to clear 5-4 this season, posting her career-best mark at the state qualifying meet last week.
Another career-best on Thursday could put Woody into the title hunt as she is just off the pace of North Scott sophomore Sydney Skarich who leads the field clearing 5-6.
Jensen/Pierce Chase Medals in 2A
Regina senior Carson Jensen will be looking to add to his medal count in his final state meet on Thursday while West Branch freshman Alyssa Pierce will be attempting to start her career with a medal in her state debut.
Jensen was seventh at the state meet last season in the 400 in a time of 50.81 and enters with the fifth fastest time this season at 50.75.
Pierce won the shot put title at the state qualifying meet last week to secure her first trip to state.
The toss of 37-4 by Pierce at the state qualifier is the 11th best in 2A this season.