IOWA CITY — Head Cedar Rapids Kennedy track coach Curt Pakkebier was sitting in the stands as the final event of the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division meet, the 1,600-meter relay, crossed the finish line Thursday at Iowa City High.
He had been standing as his team had bellowed the relays time, 3:22.67, which was the best mark of the season for the Cougars in the event and second place by seven-tenths of a second to Iowa City High. Soon after, the team crowded around them, excited, as it was announced they had won the meet.
Chanting and loud, the group meandered its way down the track, before finally getting back into the infield. The excitement, well, it was palpable.
“We’re starting to peak at the right time,” Pakkebier said. “I’m ecstatic, we really outperformed what we’ve done all year.”
It was a combined effort, to be sure. Of Kennedy’s 150 team points, 66 came from the field — including a sweep of the shot put and discus by Jackson Coker. Cedar Rapids Prairie finished in second with 104, while Cedar Falls rounded out the top three with 90 points.
Coker’s mark of 63-9 1/2 is the fifth-best in the state, his best for the season and a school record. He was feeling good about the weather, good about the ring and good about the throw. Then, he said, someone told him Mount Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs threw 67-0 and Western Dubuque’s William Blaser tossed 66-2 in the shot put at the Wamac meet in Epworth.
“I was happy with my throw right up until I heard that,” Coker said. “Any of our throws would walk through state by 10 feet on a regular year — it’s something else.”
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Teammate Sam Pape finished second in the shot, while Coker won the discus as well. In total, Kennedy had eight athletes finish in the top three of four different field events. The Cougars also got huge performances in the high jump, which Malik Haynes won with a jump of 6-2.
He also finished third in the long jump and while he didn’t manage to PR in either, still was a big reason the Cougars will drive back to Cedar Rapids as winners of the meet.
“Coach just tells me every day to attack the bar,” Haynes said. “Today I just managed to really pull one out.”
Kennedy also got wins out of its 800-meter relay, the sprint medley squad, and the 400-meter relay team. Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Joah Banks also set an MVC record in the 110 hurdles, winning in a blazing fast 14.23.
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