May 29, 2024

Southwest Iowa sends dozens to Class 1A state track

More than 30 area athletes will be competing in the Class 1A state track and field championships this week.

More than 30 Class 1A area athletes will be competing at the state track and field meet later this week on the blue oval after great performances Thursday at various state qualifying meets.

Classes 1A and 4A compete in the evening sessions Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday at Drake University in Des Moines.

Thursday

The first day of Class 1A state track kicks off at 2 p.m. with field events. Mackenzie Richards of Southwest Valley and Jorja Holliday of Nodaway Valley will compete at that time in the shot put. Richards’ throw of 36-05 is a new school record and ranks her ninth in the field while Holliday’s 34-03 puts her 21st. There are 24 participants in each event.

At 2:40, the Lenox shuttle hurdle relay team of Donald Bashor, JJ Martin-England, Dawson Evans and Gabe Funk will take the track for preliminaries. A year ago, the team medaled after rerunning the prelims by themselves due to an accident in the first race. Their time of 1:01.4 ranks them third behind Earlham and ACGC.

Three area girls will compete in the 200m dash preliminaries at 4:20. Leksi Gannon of Murray, the reigning 200m champion, ran a :25.29 a year ago in her win. Her qualifying time of :25.88 ranks her second behind Jaidyn Sellers of Panorama. Emma Cooper of Southwest Valley ranks 11th with her time of :26.91 while Emma Lundy of Nodaway Valley is at 15th with her time of 26:97.

The second wave of field events begins at 4:30 with Cooper competing for her third consecutive year in the long jump on a short turnaround time. She qualified at large after placing second Thursday, but her jump of 16-08.25 comes in sixth. As a sophomore, she placed sixth at state. Last year she struggled to meet her mark and placed 15th.

“Emma will have a very busy day with three events,” Southwest Valley coach Jason Hults said. “As a three-time qualifier in the long jump, her experience will be an asset to help her over some of the other young ladies.”

Trenton Warner of Nodaway Valley and Morgan Cooley of East Union will compete in the boys shot put at the same time. The two athletes competed in the same state qualifying meet Thursday at Mount Ayr where Warner took first in 53-01.3 and Cooley placed second in 52-09.5. Warner’s throw was a season best and ranks him second. Cooley’s throw ranks him third, but his personal best throw and East Union school record is 54-08.5.

At 4:40, Mount Ayr star Ryce Reynolds runs in the 200m dash preliminaries. He holds a perfect qualifying record as this year marks 16 qualified events, the maximum any athlete can have in their high school career. His :22.49 is the third-fastest qualifying time.

Cooper’s third event is at 6:30 when she, Gannon and Maddie Weston of Nodaway Valley run the 100m preliminaries.

Gannon placed second a year ago in a time of :12.54. Her qualifying time of :12.48 ranks her second. Weston is ranked 12th with a :13.01 while Cooper comes in 24th with 13:54.

In the boys 100m preliminary at 6:45, Lenox’s Bashor is ranked 18th with his time of :11.52.

The first day of competition ends with the girls and boys 400m dash at 7 and 7:20, respectively. This will be Gannon’s third event of the day as her 1:00.2 places her fourth in the rankings. Her season-best time is :59.76.

Also running the girls 400 is Sadie Cox of Lenox. The junior is ranked 14th with her time of 1:02.6.

Reynolds will compete for his third consecutive 400m dash title following the girls race. A year ago he broke the state record in the event with his time of :48.21. His qualifying time of :50.51 is the fastest coming in, but his season-best time is :48.43.

Friday

In the first wave of field events Friday, Holliday of Nodaway Valley and Keirsten Klein of Murray will compete in the girls discus. Holliday ranks 18th with her qualifying mark of 106-10 and Klein is 19th with 106-06 is ranked 19th.

Southwest Valley’s Gavin Wetzel will compete at the same time in the boys high jump. His qualifying jump of 6-0 ranks 12th though his season-best jump is 06-02 which would rank fifth.

At 2:40, the Mount Ayr girls distance medley relay kicks off running events. The team of Jaxy Knight, Aubree Shields, Ashlyn Murphy and Anne Newton ran a qualifying time of 4:32.66 to rank 19th.

The Mount Ayr boys DMR follows at 3:20. The team of Gavin Walter, Preston Fleharty, Jackson Ruggles and Aidan Trujillo ranks 10th with their 3:43.45.

At 4:20, two Lenox hurdlers will compete in the 110m high hurdles prelims. Funk is ranked first in the event after placing second a year ago. He’s the only hurdler coming in under 15 seconds with a time of :14.94. His season-best time is :14.87. Bashor qualified at large, his :15.77 ranking 15th.

The second wave of field events begins at 4:30 with Mount Ayr’s Aubree Shields and Orient-Macksburg’s Emma Boswell in the high jump. A year ago Shields took silver after jumping 5-04. She comes in ranked fourth this season with her qualifying jump of 5-03, her season-best. Boswell’s qualifying jump of 5-01 is a new PR and ranks her 15th.

Cooley and Warner will compete in their second throwing event at the same time in the boys discus. Cooley’s 147-04 ranks him sixth while Warner sits at 19th with his 136-1.

After taking second a year ago, the Nodaway Valley girls return in the 4x200 relay, this time looking for gold. The team of Annika Nelson, Grace Britten, Maddie Weston and Emma Lundy runs at 4:40. Their qualifying time of 1:48.48 is the fastest coming in and their season-best time.

A Pride of Iowa showdown hits the track at 6 as Reynolds and Funk face off for the final time in the 400m hurdles. Last year, Reynolds won the event with a new state record of :52.7 while Funk took third in :53.92. Reynolds became the first Iowa athlete to win the 400 and 400 hurdles twice last year. Now he has a shot at a hat trick.

Their qualifying times of :54.42 and :54.54 rank Reynolds and Funk first and second, respectively. Their season-best times are both faster than their state times from last year. Reynolds’ best is :52.09 and Funk’s is :52.76. This showdown is sure to result in another state record.

The 4x100 and 4x400 relays end the evening.

Lenox and Nodaway Valley each have a girls 4x100 relay running at 7. The Wolverines team of Nelson, Britten, Weston and Lundy ranks second with their incoming time of :51.26 — their season best. They placed second a year ago. The Tigers relay of Bentley Petersen, Gabby Robles, Zoey Reed and Cox comes in 23rd with a :53.5.

At 7:20, the Raiderettes will compete in the 4x400. The relay of Newton, Knight, Murphy and Shields ran a 4:17.42 to rank 12th coming in.

In the boys 4x400, Lenox and Mount Ayr each have a competing team to close out the evening at 7:40. The Tigers team of Martin-England, Caden Kauffman, Anthony Villanueva and Owen Grundman ranks 22nd while the Raiders team of Fleharty, Tegan Hill, Trujillo and Ruggles ranks 23rd.

Saturday

With field events completed, the final day of competition begins at 9 with the girls sprint medley relay.

The Wolverines team of Allie Cornelison, Weston, Nelson and Lundy ranks seventh with a 1:54.34. Lenox sends Petersen, Robles, Reed and Cox who are ranked 15th with a 1:55.66.

The Mount Ayr team of Ruggles, Dugan, Fleharty and Reynolds runs the sprint medley at 9:40. Their qualifying time of 1:33.99 comes in ranked first, Reynolds’ third event coming in with the top time.

At 11:10, East Union senior Jacob Driskill will close out his high school career with the 800m run. His qualifying time of 2:04.65 earned him an at-large berth, ranking 20th.

From there on, finals will be conducted in the 100, 100 and 110 hurdles, 200, 4x100 and 4x400. Athletes will depend on who makes it through the preliminaries.

Cheyenne Roche

CHEYENNE ROCHE

Originally from Wisconsin, Cheyenne has a journalism and political science degree from UW-Eau Claire and a passion for reading and learning. She lives in Creston with her husband and their two little dogs.