April 22, 2021

Panther boys improve in Winterset

Nodaway Valley’s distance boys thrive

Creston boys track and field finished 13th in the team standings Friday night at the Winterset Husky Invitational, showing improvements for a deep team from the season-opening meet in Clarinda earlier in the week.

Friday night’s boys only meet saw the weather stay a little warmer later in the day, and despite some wind, Creston boys track and field coach Pat Schlapia felt it was a good night for the Panthers among strong Central Iowa competition.

“It was a nice difference from Tuesday,” said Schlapia. “It was about 20 degrees warmer, we still had the wind, but it was good competition. There was five (Hawkeye 10) conference schools, ... North Polk was the top one with ADM and Underwood in the top three. ... They ran real strong, and was some good competition. ... It was good for us to be tested.”

North Polk scored 175 points for the meet win. ADM placed second with 111 points. Creston scored two points.

The Panthers finished the day with 10 improvements on marks from Tuesday, two resulting in the Panthers medaling for its two points.

In the distance medley, the Panthers clocked a time of 4:31.17 for sixth place.

Schlapia said the distance medley helped earn the boys a medal, edging Earlham’s relay tandem by three seconds in Creston’s first distance medley race of the season.

“We had Austin Seaton, Jack Walter, Gavin Bolton and Garrett Burkhalter in the distance medley,” said Schlapia. “That was all their first time with us and were able to get a medal out of that.”

Also earning a medal was the 4x800 relay team of Austin Evans, Dylan Calvin, Ty Morrison and Brandon Briley, which improved on 12 seconds from Tuesday’s meet in Clarinda.

“They improved 12 seconds from Tuesday, so that was nice to see,” Schlapia said.

The 4x800 clocked a time of 9:29.79 for sixth, 01.21 behind the fifth-place Nevada team.

Elsewhere, the Panthers saw improvements in individual events.

In the 100, 200 and 400 meter dash the Panthers saw improvements in participants. In the open 100, Cael Kralik improved his time of 12.86 by 0.03. He was 13th in the field.

Kralik, who recovered from a lower-body injury throughout the football and basketball season, is working his way back to top shape said Schlapia.

“Cael Kralilk, he’s still working on conditioning coming back from (a knee injury),” said Schlapia. “... He’s still not 100% yet and is coming into it condition-wise. He improved a 0.03 of a second in sprints. That was some very heavy competition. ... That was good for Cael to improve like that.”

It was Kralik’s only individual event. He anchored the 4x100, 4x200 and was in the second leg of the 800 sprint medley.

Also improving times in the opens was Tony Davidson, who clocked a time of 26.25 for a .20 improvement. Quinten Fulle also improved by .80, clocking a time of 30.54.

In the 400 meters, Chris Chen improved his time by a second and a half for a 62.58. Austin Evans’ time of 2:23.90 was a four second improvement from Tuesday’s time in the 800 meters.

Jayden Pettegrew clocked a time of 1:06.27 in the 400 hurdles for ninth fastest, the only hurdle event the Panthers raced in. They did not compete in the 110 meter high hurdles or the shuttle hurdles.

In the long jump, Chris Wells’ distance of 17-00.5 was also a big improvement from Tuesday.

“Chris Wells, in the long jump, ... he was able to improve by three feet on his last jump. That was nice to see,” Schlapia said.

While the team score did not favor the Panthers, Schlapia feels the amount of improvements for the team is a good sign for his group after one week of live competition.

For Creston, the idea of “learning every day” will continue to be evident as it heads into the second week of the season.

“We did see improvements and everybody got a second meet under their belt in the first week of competition,” said Schlapia. “It’s going to help us grow physically and mentally to go through this. ... There wasn’t much recovery in between and that’s another thing we learn from. ... We’re going to learn every meet who come out to no matter what level of experience we have.”

Wolverines take ninth

Nodaway Valley took ninth in the field of 13th Friday, seeing much of its success coming from its distance specialists.

Former cross country state-qualifier Toby Bower’s 2:11.52 clocked him as the sixth fastest in the 800 meters. ADM’s Nate Mueller was the leader at 2:06.54.

In the 1,600, Bower again medaled – this time clocking a time of 5:05.01 for fifth in the field. Teammate Doug Berg, another cross country state-qualifier, was just off a medaling spot at a clip of 5:11.58 for six seconds off of sixth-place.

Berg was able to go home a medalist, though. His time of 11:01.79 was third fastest in the field for the 3,200. Teammate Ben Breheny, another state-worthy cross country runner for NV, was not far off Berg’s pace, running a time of 11:08.94 for fourth-place.

Nodaway Valley had one relay team claim a medal, taking sixth-place in the 4x400 at 3:57.21.