Class 1-A: Disqualification earns Council Bluffs St. Albert boys a 800-meter relay win
DES MOINES — For a second straight day, a Council Bluffs St. Albert boys event at the state track meet ended in confusion.
In the discus ring and on the track Friday, no one questioned the athletic ability of Woodbine sophomore Layne Pryor.
Both celebrated state championships on day two of the Class 1-A coed meet at Drake Stadium.
In the 800-meter relay, Fort Dodge St. Edmond believed it had posted the time to beat in heat one when it ran 1:31.36. But then the St. Edmond coach was called by the P.A. announcer to report to Section O, which usually means a disqualification.
The key word is “usually.’’ So when St. Albert blazed across the line with junior Aiden Antisdel, senior Jack Geier, senior Luke Blaha and sophomore Sam Rallis to win heat three in 1:31.47, they were thrilled. But they didn’t know if they had won a state title.
Minutes later, the news came: St. Edmond had indeed been DQ’d, giving the Falcons a state championship.
Blaha, who had been a distance runner last season, handed the baton to Rallis for the anchor leg in the lead.
“I saw other people getting the baton right after I handed off, so I knew we were in a good position,’’ Blaha said.
Rallis steamed around the final turn to give the Falcons the victory in their heat by more than a second.
“Just adrenaline pumping,’’ Rallis said. “There’s no better feeling than to get that crowd cheering you home, trying to get that state championship.’’
Like many of the current Falcons, Geier waited his turn behind a talented senior class last season. This is his first year competing on the Blue Oval.
“I put a lot of effort into this season, and I’m happy where we ended up,’’ he said.
St. Albert also finished seventh in the distance medley, with Antisdel, Connor Cerny, Ethan Bernard and Ryan Hughes running 3:39.21. Bernard also qualified second in the 110 high hurdles (14.80).
Through 10 of 19 events, the Falcons have plenty of work to do in order to repeat as the team champion. They were tied with Dunkerton and Central Decatur for fifth with 15 points, behind George-Little Rock (24), Calamus-Wheatland (23), Lynnville-Sully (22) and Earlham (16).
The discus came down to some familiar faces. Sophomore Tre Melby of Logan-Magnolia took the lead on his second throw at 154 feet, 10 inches. Moments later, Pryor regained command on his second attempt with a toss of 155-3. Those were their best efforts.
Pryor said he and Melby, who live about six miles apart, bring out the best in each other.
“We’ve competed against each other as long as I can remember,’’ he said.
Melby finished second, while another familiar foe, IKM-Manning senior Grant Stracke, was fourth at 149-4. Fremont-Mills senior Connor Alley was fifth at 148-5 and Southwest Valley sophomore Tallen Myers was seventh at 141-10.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Pryor is first cousins with Ethan Kenkel, who won the Class 3-A state discus crown in 2013 competing for Storm Lake at 176-4.
Kenkel comes to Woodbine and works out with Pryor occasionally, as their grandfather lives in Woodbine. That has helped, he said.
Pryor already is one of the state’s most versatile athletes. After winning the discus Friday, he competed in the 800 relay (finishing 11th), the 400 hurdles (finishing 10th in 56.99) and the 1,600 relay (qualifying sixth for Saturday’s final).
“The discus and the 400 hurdles are my two favorites,’’ Pryor said.
Pryor said he loves football, but is also intrigued by the decathlon. He isn’t close to selecting a college sport. His state championship was foremost on his mind Friday after his victory.
“I’m really happy the way that ended,’’ he said.
Other top-four finishers from western Iowa in 1-A included Keegan Simons of Ar-We-Va (second in the high jump), Holly Hoepner of AHSTW (third in the 400 hurdles), West Monona’s boys 800 relay team (third) and Sophie Phillips of Fremont-Mills (fourth).
Class 1-A: Bedford senior Emma Lucas earns ‘rewarding’ second-straight 3,000-meter win
DES MOINES — With 800 meters to go, Bedford senior Emma Lucas trailed by more than two seconds.
“I almost was about to give up,’’ the Kansas State recruit said.
She dug deep, and with 400 meters remaining, Lucas led by about a second and a half. She sprinted away to win her second straight Class 1-A 3,000, clocking 10:20.66. Central City junior Emily Staal was second in 10:31.90.
“This was definitely rewarding,’’ Lucas said. “The heat was pretty brutal. I just kicked it in the last two laps and it seemed to work.’’
A pair of 3,200 relays from the Western Iowa Conference earned second-place finishes.
The IKM-Manning boys entered with a season best of 8:30.47 and slashed more than 17 seconds to finish in a school-record 8:13.39. Nathan Blankman, Adam Gruhn, Alex Lingle and Parker Behrens smashed the school record by about 10 seconds.
“We trained pretty hard Monday and Tuesday, and the week before districts,’’ said Lingle, who ran a career-best split in the low 2:04s. “That kind of got us ready for the success we had today.’’
Lo-Ma’s girls team of sisters Taylor and Courtney Sporrer, Violet Lapke and Kylie Morrison won the first heat in 10:04.71. Only winner Kee of Lansing (10:00.66) finished faster in the second heat. Taylor Sporrer also placed fourth in the 3,000 (11:12.25).
Also from western Iowa, Sidney’s Maddy Duncan placed fourth in the long jump (16-10¼), and Nodaway Valley’s Reagan Weinheimer was fourth in the 400 (59.19).
Class 2-A: Treynor girls take the gold in the 800-meter relay
DES MOINES — Better late than never.
The Treynor girls 800-meter relay team ran for the first time last week at the state-qualifying meet. Its second time resulted in a Class 2-A title at the state track and field meet Friday at Drake Stadium.
Seniors Noel James and Megan Carley and sophomore Mia Shipley ran the relay at state a year ago and finished 13th. Freshman Rachel Kinsella led off as the new addition to the relay.
What a difference a year makes.
“Our first time putting it together and stacking it was at regionals, so it is really exciting to come out here and win,” James said. “Our coach told us that all four of us were in the top 10 all-time for individual 200s.”
Carley was able to power ahead of Pella Christian freshman Avey Amelse down the homestretch to secure victory in 1:46.98. Pella Christian was the runner-up in 1:47.13.
“I knew I was gaining on her slowly and if I just finished strong I knew that I could catch her,” Carley said. “The crowd helped me give it all I have got. At (the state-qualifying meet) we had a bad handoff, so I knew we would have a chance to do this.”
“Megan had such a strong final kick and all of our handoffs were good,” James said. “She just kicked it in at the end.”
Tri-Center finished sixth in the distance medley with the quartet of Tatum McKee, Brooklyn Hundt, Amanda Brich and Peyton Pogge finished in 4:16.21. Treynor took eighth as Maddie Shipley, Chloe Gregory, Kinsella and James ran 4:19.28.
Missouri Valley senior Duke Kyle finished sixth in the 400 hurdles in 56.73.
In the field events, Treynor junior Jack Tiarks moved up one spot from last year’s state meet to tie for fourth in the high jump at 6 feet, 1 inch. Underwood sophomore Haylee Seidler finished seventh in the discus, throwing 118-3.
Class 2-A: Treynor’s Jerry Jorgenson takes silver in 3,200-meter race at Iowa state track meet
DES MOINES — It was a strong performance even if it was not the desired result.
Treynor senior Jerry Jorgenson stuck with Garner-Hayfield/Ventura’s Reece Smith until the final 800 meters of the Class 2-A 3,200. Smith ran a 2:09.00 over the final two laps to set a state record in 9:11.33 while Jorgenson finished as the runner-up in 9:35.10 on Thursday in the state track and field meet at Drake Stadium.
Jorgenson, who will run at Nebraska, improved from his third-place effort last year, but he is still in search of an individual state title. He will look to get that elusive title with races in the 1,600 and 800 on Saturday.
“When I found an opportunity available, I was going to go push the pace, but he was already pushing it pretty well. He is a great runner and had more than me today,” Jorgenson said. “I am not too happy with my race, but given the heat I will take it.”
The distance competitors were greeted by 80-degree weather on its way to the 90s in the afternoon on a sun-splashed day.
The Underwood boys 3,200 relay team shaved more than four seconds off its season best entering state to finish second in 8:03.05. Sophomore Brayden Wollan dueled with South Hamilton’s Quinton Grove down the backstretch as the lead changed hands, but Grove won the race to the line in 8:01.23.
“He looked dead when I was able to pass him, but I used a lot to catch him,” Wollan said. “I wasn’t able to finish … and the heat made my legs give in a lot earlier than they normally would. All the people here and what it meant to us allowed us to run better.”
MVAOCOU finished sixth in the race. Wollan came back later to finish sixth in the 400, recording a 51.00.
Tri-Center sophomore Peyton Pogge improved on last year’s fourth-place effort in the 1-A 3,000 by placing third in 2-A on Thursday. Pogge settled into third early in the race and came across in 10:46.55.
“I think I started out way too fast,” Pogge said. “When I hit that first 100 I knew I went out too fast, so I just tried to settle in and kick it in in the end.
“Last year I thought I could have done better but it wasn’t my day. Today, I had the number three on my hip so I told myself ‘get your ranking.’”
Treynor junior Tori Castle joined Pogge in medaling in the race as she crossed the line in 11:17.93 to take sixth.
Shenandoah senior Logan Hughes made her first throw her longest in the shot put covering 40 feet, 2¾ inches for fourth, improving on last year’s sixth-place effort. Underwood sophomore Zoe Rus threw 39-8¼ to take sixth.
Carroll Kuemper junior Mallory Badding leaped 16-8½ to finish fifth in the long jump. OABCIG’s Cooper DeJean finished fifth in the boys long jump, going 21-6¼, and Carroll Kuemper’s Kyle Berg was sixth at 21-5¼.
Class 4-A: Three-peat for Council Bluff Abraham Lincoln’s Darby Thomas
DES MOINES – This time, Logan Jones was challenged.
At the opposite end of Johnny Bright Field inside Drake Stadium, Darby Thomas was not.
But the Council Bluffs track and field stars put forth their best effort.
On Friday, that was good enough for a state championship for both of them.
Jones completed the second sweep of the throws for a Lewis Central athlete in six years, winning the shot put with a personal-best heave of 60 feet, 2 inches on his fifth of six throws to overtake West Des Moines Valley senior Jake Remsburg by seven inches for the Class 4-A title.
Despite problems finding the takeoff board, Abraham Lincoln’s Thomas dominated the long jump competition. All six of her marks were better than any of the other 23 girls in the event. She won at 18-11 to register her third state title in the event. Angel Baylark of Burlington was second at 17-9.
“It’s insane,’’ the Nebraska recruit said. “It’s a great feeling. I wish it could have been four, but sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them. But it’s a really great accomplishment.’’
A day after dominating the discus competition by more than seven feet, Jones took the lead on his first throw of the finals at 58-10¾, only to have Remsburg pass him on the next throw at 59-7.
That lasted until Jones unleashed his PR on his fifth attempt. Remsburg fouled on his final two attempts.
“It is nice to have competition like that, because it pushes you to get better and pushes you to throw farther,” Jones said. “This feels really good because it doesn’t happen often. It is just the amount of work that we put into it.”
Jones matches the accomplishment of Jacob Barents, who won both for the Titans in 2014.
Jones came into state with a best of 59 feet before improving on last year’s runner-up finish.
Thomas’ jumps were 18-8, 18-3, 17-11¼, 18-2¾, 18-11 and 18-9½. Most began well behind the end of the board.
“I just wasn’t on today,’’ she said. “I didn’t feel as confident in my jumps today, which kind of stinks, being my last state meet. But it all turned out fine.’’
At the end, she shared group hugs with a few of her competitors.
“Track girls, I think, are the nicest girls,’’ she said. “We all know it kind of sucks, but we love it all together.’’
Thomas qualified second for the 100 hurdles final behind Iowa City West’s Peyton Steva. They were separated by one-thousandth of a second, 14.408 to 14.409. Thomas nipped Steva to win the Drake title last month.
Also from Council Bluffs, Lewis Central junior Lauren Payne followed Thursday’s runner-up finish in the discus with another silver in the shot put.
Payne’s best throw came on her second effort of the finals when she went 41-2¼. Waukee’s Kat Moody won with a throw of 46-4¾.
“During warmups I had a couple of good throws out there, and then I guess the pressure got to me and I didn’t perform my best,” Payne said. “I have a tendency to watch where (the shot) lands, so I feel like I step out when I watch it. That is something I need to work on.”
Sioux City West junior Hope Wagner made her final throw a PR, going over 40 feet for the first time in her career to take third at 41-1¼.
“I just wanted to focus on letting it all go and I grunted, too,” said Wagner with a smile. “I usually don’t (grunt), but I just tried to change things up on the last throw. It worked.”
Class 4-A: Lewis Central’s Logan Jones breaks school discus record at state track meet
DES MOINES — Logan Jones said there is something about his second throw.
Thursday at the state track and field meet, the Council Bluffs Lewis Central junior showed why as he set a personal record, broke the school record and won the Class 4-A state discus title all in one impressive throw that traveled 185 feet, 10 inches.
“My second throw is always my best throw,” Jones said. “In practice I have been throwing 180, 190, and I knew I needed to hit that today and I did. I knew I was capable of it because my confidence level is super high.
“This means everything to me and shows kids younger than me that they can do anything.”
Jon Higgins had held the L.C. discus mark at 182-0 before Jones wiped it away on Thursday, and now he eyes a field-event sweep with the shot put coming on Friday. He enters that event seeded second.
Jones, who finished fifth in the discus a year ago and sixth as a freshman, threw 157 on his first attempt before drawing plenty of cheers with the second heave.
“I just try to stay calm and push for an even bigger throw,” said Jones, whose last throw of the competition also smashed all of those marks at 185-6. “Now I am definitely looking at the 200 (foot) mark.”
Jones entered state with a PR of 179-10, but blew away the rest of the field, with Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Cam Jones finishing as the runner-up at 178-6.
Lewis Central junior Lauren Payne had the lead going into the final three throws of the discus, putting her second throw out at 132-6. She held that advantage through the first round of the finals, but Urbandale senior April Czarnecki overtook her by nine inches with her second toss.
Czarnecki’s best of 133-3 held up despite Payne’s valiant effort with her final throw that landed at 132-2.
“Kind of,” said Payne when asked if she thought her final throw was a winner when it left her hand. “I am satisfied with second – I am not going to be a sore loser about it – because there is always room for improvement. Next year I just have to come out and do the best I can do.”
Payne has one year left to continue the impressive improvement she has displayed. As a freshman, she took 21st at state before vaulting to seventh a year ago. She also finished 10th at the Drake Relays in the event this season.
“I was expecting more this year after getting seventh, and I feel like I have shown there is a lot of potential,” she said. “Being more consistent helps me go farther and I am always trying to get a new goal for every meet.”
Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln senior Darby Thomas qualified for the finals of the 200 meters with the second-fastest time of 24.69 seconds. Sioux City West’s Holly Duax qualified third at 24.75 and Sioux City East’s Lineya Wells was seventh in 25.71.
In the 100, Thomas qualified second (12.04) and Duax third (12.13). Purdue recruit Kerris Roberts of Waterloo East qualified first in both events at 11.88 and 24.14.
East senior Ardell Inlay had the second-fastest qualifying time in the boys 100 (10.75) and 200 (21.71).