Liberty High Finishes Second, West High Third at 4A State Qualifying Meet
Your Prep Sports
DUBUQUE – Neil Davis set his lineup to get the most kids to the state meet.
The Liberty High girls’ track and field looked a bit surprised at how many points the Lightning piled up in the process.
“The girls went after stuff beyond what we thought,” Davis said after the Lightning earned automatic state berths in nine events and finished second in the team race at a Class 4A state-qualifying meet Thursday at Dubuque Senior High School. “They were hitting season bests at big percentages, surprising percentages.”
Liberty High junior Cori Mac got the running portion of the meet started in style for the Lightning with a win in the 3,000, which delivered her to the state meet for the second time in the event and third year in a row overall.
“Fresh legs,” Mac said. “First event. It was a little hot, but I was running with my good friend Leah (Klapatauskas of Dubuque Senior, who finished second).”
This is the first full season of running the 3,000 for Mac, who did not compete in the event as a sophomore last season until the conference, district and state meets.
“She just has the heart of a lion,” Davis said. “I would love to have 20 Cori’s. And not 20 Cori’s that run the 3,000 that well. Twenty Cori’s who compete like her and are just as brave as she is to go out there and lay it on the line.”
Liberty High earned three wins in field events after senior Jasmine Barney (18-02 1/4) defeated West High senior Meenah Tate (17-02 1/4) by a foot in the long jump.
Junior Jolie Nordell posted wins in the shot put and discus.
“I am hoping this year to get my PR’s, get some distance,” Nordell said. “I know I am not going in as the number-one seed. I am just trying to do the best I can and place the best.”
Nordell qualified for state last year in the shot put, and it appeared for much of the discus competition that she would be on the outside of automatic state qualification again this year after she trailed two other throwers with one toss to go.
Nordell made the final hurl count, clearing 111 feet – 111-02 1/2, to be exact – which helped her claim a second state bid and a new personal record in the process.
“That doesn’t happen accidentally,” Davis said. “That happens because somebody is working with you, moving you forward, moving you through it and clearly, her and Coach (James) Harris got that one done.”
Nordell’s discus PR was a foot and a half further than Dubuque Hempstead’s Gabbi Frederick (109-08).
“Honestly, it was my final throw and I was like, ‘I might as well try and snatch that first-place spot’,” Nordell said. “Great girl. I can’t wait to see her at state. She’ll also be there competing, so I am really excited about it.”
Nordell’s shot put crown came at the expense of West High junior Helen Penning who was runner-up.
Both will compete at state.
In addition to the automatic state qualifiers (top-two place winners in each event), 12 at-large bids will be awarded from the remaining performances in the other state-qualifying meets across the state.
The state meet begins May 18 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Liberty High also qualified two of its relay foursomes with a pair of runner-up finishes.
Junior Amira Coleman was involved in both the sprint medley relay and the 4×200 relay while Barney joined her in the 4×200.
Cedar Falls (140 points) edged the Lightning (135.5) by less than five points for the team title. West High was third with 119 points, highlighted by a pair of individual hurdle titles by juniors Erinah Carter (100 hurdles) and Erinn Varga (400 hurdles).
For Varga – who credits eight years of youth gymnastics as an element of her hurdling success – it will be her third trip to state in the 400 hurdles.
“I have always been able to maintain a speed for a bit,” Varga said. “Adding hurdles into the mix with my gymnastics abilities for eight years, I feel like I have always been able to hurdle and then sprint a bit to the next one.”
Tate earned a second state berth with a victory in the high jump over Liberty High senior Cassidy Hartman who will join her in Des Moines.
Carter also anchored West’s victorious shuttle hurdle relay performance.
“I feel like we have talent in every single spot we can have it in,” Varga said. “Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, but I feel like there are just points where we have the right group of girls and we try our best and produce results.”
Class 4A State Qualifying Meet No. 2
At Dalzell Field in Dubuque
Team scores – 1. Cedar Falls 140; 2. Liberty High 135.5; 3. West High 119; 4. Dubuque Hempstead 109.5; 5. Clinton 92; 6. Waterloo East 53; 7. Dubuque Senior 49; 8. Waterloo West 35.
100 – 1. Kanijah Angel (CLI) 12.42; 2. Nyla Norman (WE) 12.59; 3. Annie Schwartz (ICW) 12.59; 6. Kelsey Kaut (ICL) 13.34
200 – 1. Nyla Norman (WE) 25.47; 2. Kanijah Angel (CLI) 26.01; 3. Annie Schwartz (ICW) 26.18; 5. Amira Coleman (ICL) 26.90
400 – 1. Karis Finley (CF) 58.94; 2. Nyla Norman (WE) 59.07; 4. Erinn Varga (ICW) 1:01.35; 6. Evelyn Asay (ICL) 1:03.54; 7. Marissa Becker (ICL) 1:04.46.
800 – 1. Keelee Leitzen (DH) 2:17.32; 2. Josee Simonson (CF) 2:19.76; 5. Cori Mac (ICL) 2:29.52; 6. Kate Van Waning (ICW) 2:31.06; 7. Averie Bilskemper (ICL) 2:33.08
1,500 – Keelee Leitzen (DH) 4:48.95; 2. Leah Klapatauskas (DS) 2:19.76; 3. Cori Mac (ICL) 4:52.84
3,000 – 1. Cori Mac (ICL) 10:25.96
100 hurdles – 1. Erinah Carter (ICW) 15.45; 2. Paige Paup (CF) 15.64; 3. Sophia Olivo (ICW) 15.66; 6. Cindy Eckhardt (ICL) 17.62; 7. Lucy Maassen (ICL) 17.87.
400 hurdles – 1. Erinn Varga (ICW) 1:07.79; 2. Johnna Dieken (CF) 1:09.86; 5. Kinley Jones (ICL) 1:14.25.
4×100 – 1. Clinton 49.58; 2. Liberty High (Amira Coleman, Brynlee Slockett, Stephanie Nuro Gyina, Alexi Thigpen) 50.40; 6. West High (Natalie Steva, Lily McConnell, Lindsey McKane, Shaniya Jackson) 52.58.
4×200 – 1. Clinton 1:44.53; 2. Liberty High (Amira Coleman, Jasmine Barney, Stephanie Nuro Gyina, Alexi Thigpen) 1:45.73; 6. West High (Shaniya Jackson, Lily McConnell, Angelina Forte, Hebah War) 1:52.90.
4×400 – 1. Cedar Falls 3:59.67; 2. Liberty High (Hannah Ramsey, Natalie Ramsey,Jasmine Barney, Malia Taylor) 4:05.27; 3. West High (Annie Schwartz, Lydia Evans, Anna Prouty, Erinn Varga) 4:06.6
4×800 – 1. Dubuque Hempstead 9:32.54; 2. Cedar Falls, 9:47.43; 4. West High (Lydia Evans, Gabby Moniza, Cindy Wang, Kate Van Waning) 10:01.50; 5. Liberty High (Carleigh Maher, Bridget Canton, Clara Welch, Averie Bilskemper) 10:27.37.
Sprint medley – 1. Cedar Falls 1:50.12; 2. Liberty High (Amira Coleman, Stephanie Nuro Gyina, Natalie Ramsey, Malia Taylor) 1:50.34; 4. West High (Natalie Steva, Lindsey McKane, Annie Schwartz, Erinna Varga) 1:52.30.
Distance medley – 1. Dubuque Hempstead 4:10.60; 2. Cedar Falls 4:11.94; 3. Liberty High (Hannah Ramsey, Lucy Maassen, Natalie Ramsey, Cori Mac) 4:21.10; 6. West High (Lindsey McKane, Anna Prouty, Emelia Grueter, Hannah Longmire) 4:40.33.
Shuttle hurdle – 1. West High (Sophia Olivo, Lily McConnell, Hebah War, Erinah Carter) 1:05.44; 2. Cedar Falls 1:08.09; 3. Liberty High (Stephanie Nuro Gyina, Cindy Eckhardt, Lucy Maassen, Megan Brewer) 1:11.37
Discus – 1. Jolie Nordell (ICL) 111-02 1/2; 2. Gabbi Frederick (DH) 109-08; 8. Eno Sule (ICW) 83-08 1/2
Shot put – 1. Jolie Nordell (ICL) 36-0; 2. Helen Penning (ICW) 35-07 1/4
Long jump – 1. Jasmine Barney (ICL) 18-02 1/4; 2. Meena Tate (ICW) 17-02 1/4; 3. Alexi Thigpen (ICL) 17-02; 4. Evelyn Asay (ICW) 15-09 1/4.
High jump – 1. Meenah Tate (ICW) 5-04; 2. Cassidy Hartman (ICL) 4-10.
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