After Drake glory, Western Dubuque looking for more

Track and field: Conference meets are Thursday throughout the area

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Western Dubuque’s time in the Wamac Conference is growing short. And so are the opportunities to fill a void.

“We’ve had a few seconds, thirds and fourths, but we’ve never won a Wamac title (in boys’ track and field),” said Bobcats Coach Tom Jasper.

The Bobcats are favored to end their drought Thursday, when they host the 16-team, co-ed Wamac meet at Epworth.

Field events begin at 4:30 p.m., running events at 4:45.

Thursday is conference- and divisional-championship day throughout the area.

The River Valley meet is at Bellevue, the Tri-Rivers at Delhi, the Northeast Iowa at Waverly and the Upper Iowa at Edgewood.

Competition at the Mississippi Valley Conference meet is split four ways — Mississippi Division at Iowa City West (boys) and Waterloo (girls), Valley Division at Iowa City High (boys) and Kingston Stadium (girls).

Western Dubuque will join the MVC in the fall of 2018. The Bobcats made a big splash at the Drake Relays last week, winning the boys’ 400- and 800-meter relays.

It was part of a bumper crop of championship flags for Wamac competitors, who won five of boys’ 16 events in Des Moines.

Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon was the Most Outstanding Performer for high-school boys after sweeping the throws. And Center Point-Urbana’s JoJo Frost was the 400-meter hurdles champion.

They’ll all be on display Thursday, but the focus in on the team race.

“I feel pretty confident if the kids go out and compete,” Jasper said. “They’re some of the most disciplined, hard-working kids I know.””

Mount Vernon and Marion are expected to be the Bobcats’ chief challengers. The Indians have a pair of aces in Blair Brooks and Myles Bach.

Solon appears to be the favorite in the Wamac girls’ race, with Benton Community, Western Dubuque and Mount Vernon in the mix.

In the MVC, Iowa City West is a substantial favorite in both of the Mississippi Division races, and Cedar Falls gets the nod in the Valley girls’ competition.

That leaves the Valley boys’ meet, featured by defending Class 4A state champion Cedar Rapids Prairie, along with Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Cedar Falls.

The River Valley girls’ field is stacked. Cascade is the defending 2A champion, but will receive stiff competition from North Cedar and Monticello. Mid-Prairie and Cascade are the top boys’ teams.

Two-time defending 1A champion Lisbon is a lock in the boys’ portion of the Tri-Rivers meet. Maquoketa Valley, North Linn and Springville are the top girls’ contenders.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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