Breaking Down the Boys Conference Track and Field Meets
Your Prep Sports
The postseason has arrived in the sprint that is the high school track and field season.
All seven teams in the Your Prep Sports area will take part in conference meets on Thursday starting a two-win postseason stretch that continues with state qualifying meets on May 11 and ends at Drake Stadium in Des Moines with the state track and field meet scheduled for May 18-20.
The postseason opens with conference meets on Thursday and we take a quick look at all four conference meets featuring teams from the Your Prep Sports area.
MVC Mississippi Divisional
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids
Teams: Liberty High; Cedar Rapids Prairie; Cedar Rapids Jefferson; Cedar Rapids Xavier; Cedar Falls; Dubuque Wahlert; Dubuque Senior
Team title chase: Cedar Falls is the top seed in eight events including four relays and has the depth throughout the lineup to stay a step ahead of contenders, Liberty High, Cedar Rapids Prairie and Dubuque Senior.
Athlete to watch: Liberty High junior Aidan Decker continues to emerge as one of the top distance runners in the conference. Decker enters with the third fastest time among divisional competitors in both the 1,600 (4:25.93) and 3,200 (9:38.89) and will have stiff competition in strong fields in both events headlined by Cedar Falls freshman standout Jaden Merrick who enters with the top time in both.
Event to watch: Drake Relays qualifiers Da’Shon Fisher of Liberty High and Jacob Kieler of Cedar Falls will meet for the second week in a row in in what should be an exciting high jump competition. Kieler cleared 6-10 to win the Drake Relays last week and Fisher has cleared 6-5 this season in his first year of track and field.
Breakdown: Liberty High scored over 100 points and finished fourth in a loaded Mississippi Division field last season and will look to improve on that finishing position on Thursday.
The Lightning will look to get a strong start in the field events as Fisher has the second best effort in both the high jump and long jump and Brady Cannon has a top-four effort in the shot put.
Senior Maxwell Thompson has the second fastest time in the 400 hurdles at 56.28 and the Lightning have the second fastest distance medley relay time.
MVC Valley Divisional
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Raffensperger Track and City High
Teams: City High; West High; Cedar Rapids Kennedy; Linn-Mar; Cedar Rapids Washington; Dubuque Hempstead; Waterloo West; Western Dubuque
Team title chase: City High and West High both won divisional titles last season and the two cross-town rivals enter as the favorites in a loaded Valley Division field this season.
City High has distance standout Ford Washburn and a loaded middle-distance group while West High counters with an elite group of sprinters and emerging stars Aidan Jacobsen and Moustafa Tiea.
Everything points to a City and West showdown but don’t count out Linn-Mar who is loaded with talent in its own right led by hurdler Nicholas Gorsich and jumper TJ Jackson.
Athlete to watch: City High senior Ford Washburn is the reigning Mississippi Division athlete of the year after sweeping the distance events last season.
Washburn has the top time among qualifiers in both the 1,600 (4:10.91) and 3,200 (9:00.73) this season and has clocked a 1:56.69 800 this spring.
Event to watch: Two 200 should feature two of the best in the state in West High junior Izaiah Loveless and Cedar Rapids Washington senior Miles Thompson.
Loveless is the state leader in the 200 at 21.69 while Thompson has the 10th best time state-wide at 22.18.
The two could also meet in the 100 where Thompson, who was the Drake Relays champ in the 100 and was named the Most Outstanding performer at the Drake Relays last week, has the best time at 10.37 and Loveless, a Drake Relays finalist, has the ninth best time at 10.8.
Breakdown: Even with only eight teams in the Valley Division is one of the most star-studded conference meets in the state.
Ten of 12 individual events have an athlete from the Valley Division with a top-five performance in the state this spring including six with the top time in Iowa.
Overall, 15 of 18 events have a Valley Divisional participant with a top-five time and the best overall time in the state this spring in 10 of 18 events has come from a Valley Divisional participant.
City High will rely on Washburn, Ammon Smith (top time in 800) and Matt Schaeckenbach to rack up points.
West High has a top-two time in six different relays and enters with the best time in the 4×200 and distance medley relay.
Linn-Mar will look to make hay in the field events behind Jackson who has the top effort in both the long and high jump and throwers Keaton Roskop and Sam Watts.
WAMAC Conference Meet
When: Thursday, 4 p.m.
Where: West Delaware High School in Manchester
Teams: Clear Creek Amana; Solon; Benton Community; Center Point-Urbana; Independence; Marion; Mount Vernon; Vinton-Shellsburg; West Delaware; Williamsburg; South Tama
Team title chase: Solon has finished third each of the last two seasons but has the balance and depth to jump to the top this season. What else would you want if you are the Spartans than to be battling your biggest rival for the top spot? That’s a real possibility and Solon and Mount Vernon appear to be at the front of a list of title contenders that also features Williamsburg and Marion.
Athlete to watch: A strong day in the field events would go a long way in bolstering Solon’s title hopes and one of the strongest Spartans on the team is capable of providing plenty of points.
Senior thrower Adam Smith enters with the best mark among WAMAC competitors in the discus this season at 171-0 and has the fourth best shot put performance at 50-0.
Event to watch: The 4×400 is always a popular event but the team race could very well come down to the final event of the night on Thursday and the top two teams in the event should be in the thick of the team race.
Mount Vernon has run the second fastest time in the state in the 4×400 this season at 3:19.48 and is a heavy favorite in the event.
There could be a scenario while Solon needs a strong finish to hold off the Mustangs in the team race and Solon has its own stellar 4×400 team ranking fourth in 3A this season with a 3:25.38.
Breakdown: A year ago the top three finishers at the WAMAC meet were separated by nine points with Clear Creek Amana claiming its second straight conference crown by a single point.
It would be no surprise to see another tight team race on Thursday.
Solon has top-three qualifying time in four relays and has the second fastest time in both the shuttle hurdle and 4×400.
The Spartans also have a pair of top-seeded individuals with Blake Timmons in the 200 (22.49) and Smith in the discus leading a list of five top-two seeded individuals for the Spartans.
Clear Creek Amana will lean on its hurdlers as senior Andrew Schlemme and freshman Aren Schlemme have the top two times in the 110 hurdles at 15.54 and 15.59 and lead the Clipper shuttle hurdle team that enters with the fastest time at 1:02.38.
River Valley Conference Meet
When: Thursday, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Tipton City Park
Teams: Regina; West Branch; Anamosa; Dyersville Beckman; Bellevue; Camanche; Cascade; Durant; Maquoketa; Mid-Prairie; Monticello; Northeast; Tipton; West Liberty; Wilton
Team title chase: A year ago Tipton held off Mid-Prairie for the RVC crown. Those two should be towards the top again this year in what figures to be another close conference race. Anamosa was fifth a year ago but is poised for a big jump and could certainly contend for the top spot.
Athlete to watch: Regina junior Drew Streb will look to get the Regals off to a strong start in the field events on Thursday.
Streb enters with top-six marks in both of the throwing events and is among the favorites to win conference gold in the discus.
Streb has the second-best discus throw this season at 144-9 trailing only Zach Yates of Monticello how has thrown 158-6.
Streb also has the sixth-best mark in the shot put at 45-8.
Event to watch: The 4×100 is one of the most exciting races in the sport and with the top four teams separated by just .13 Thursday’s shortest relay should be outstanding.
Camanche has the fastest time at 44.21 which ranks sixth in Class 2A this season.
Behind the Storm are three teams separated by the thinnest of margins.
Anamosa has run 44.27 good for eighth in 2A while Northeast is right behind at 44.29 and the West Branch team of Carver Boelk, Zach Walker, Wyatt Fiderlein and Evan Striegel has run 44.34.
Breakdown: Regina and West Branch both made big jumps at the RVC meet last season and will look to continue that trend this season.
West Branch senior Evan Striegel has the third fastest time in the 200 at 22.8 while junior thrower Reese Trepanier should score points for the Bears entering with top-five efforts in both the shot put and the discus.
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