Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

DRAKE RELAYS 2019

Drake Relays: Cedar Rapids Kennedy outduels Linn-Mar for shuttle hurdle crown

For Will Stecker, it eases the sting of last year's state-meet disqualification

DES MOINES — This one’s a keeper.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy thought it won a state championship in the boys’ shuttle hurdle relay last year, but after crossing the finish line and celebrating, the Cougars found out they had been disqualified.

“That stung,” said senior Will Stecker, the lone returner from that quartet. “So did finishing second at Drake last year.”

Revamped and reloaded, Kennedy claimed the Drake Relays shuttle title Saturday morning, outdueling Linn-Mar.

Stecker, Drew Bartels, Brody Lovell and Makhi Harris ran in 58.20 seconds. It’s a Drake record, since the height of the hurdles was raised this year from 33 inches to 36.

Linn-Mar’s squad of Carson Reilly, Jaxon Thompson, Abass Kemokai and Trent Davis was second in 58.56.

Always one of the state’s best boys’ hurdling schools, Kennedy had toiled in the background through March and early April. The Cougars were 16th heading into their final chance to improve their time and enhance their chance of Drake qualification.

“There was a good chance we weren’t even going to get here,” Lovell said. “But we had a good race (at Dubuque on April 18) and jumped all the way to fourth.”

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The Cougars moved to No. 1 after a preliminary effort of 59.41 seconds. Then, in the final, they lowered their time by more than another second.

“Everybody was doubting us, but we were here to have fun,” Bartels said.

Lovell said, “And this was pretty fun.”

Stecker, Bartels and Lovell staked Harris to a nice lead, then Harris held off Davis, who won the 110-meter high hurdles here Friday.

Harris was asked if he heard Davis coming.

“No, I was just in the zone,” he said. “I was running my race.”

Stecker said a turning point with this foursome came when “we dropped the competition between us and stopped worrying about our individual splits.”

Bartels and Lovell are sophomores; Harris is a junior.

Waukee captured the boys’ Hy-Vee Cup with 32 points; West Des Moines Valley was second with 22. Western Dubuque tied for third with 14, thanks to a runner-up finish in the 400-meter relay and third place in the 1,600-meter relay.

At 43.21, the Bobcats finished behind Valley (42.48) in the 400-meter relay. They climbed a spot from third to second when Bettendorf was disqualified.

“We think we’re the best team when it’s cold. We think it’s to our advantage,” Damon Jaeger said. “At practice, it doesn’t matter what the temperature is. We push through it no matter the circumstances.”

DRAKE RELAYS: SATURDAY’S BOYS RESULTS

At Des Moines

Hy-Vee Cup leaders — 1. Waukee 32, 2. West Des Moines Valley 22, 3. Western Dubuque 14, 4. West Des Moines Dowling 11, 5. (tie) Johnston and Urbandale 10.

Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (Stecker, Bartels, Lovell, Harris), 58.20 (Drake record); 2. Linn-Mar, 58.56; 3. Ankeny, 59.02; 4. Ankeny Centennial, 59.45.

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400 hurdles — 1. Will Reemtsma (Davenport Central), 53.60; 2. Tyson Vander Linden (Lynnville-Sully), 3. Thai Thompson (West Des Moines Dowling), 54.09; 4. Dylan DeAngelo (Ankeny Centennial), 54.10; 5. Bret Price (Boone), 6. Will Burds (Western Dubuque), 54.53; 7. Trent Davis (Linn-Mar), 54.90; 8. Jace Christensen (Southeast Polk), 55.00.

400 relay — 1. West Des Moines Valley (Mitchell, Jake, Neu, Shaner), 42.48; 2. Western Dubuque, 43.21; 3. Waukee, 43.52; 4. Sioux City East, 43.72; 5. Linn-Mar, 44.12; 6. Ankeny, 44.41.

1,600 — 1. Joe Schaefer (Johnston), 4:21.33; 2. Tim Sindt (Ankeny), 4:23.48; 3. Nate Mueller (Adel ADM), 4:24.47; 4. David Holesinger (Dubuque Hempstead), 4:25.03; 5. Trey Engen (Algona), 4:25.18; 6. Jerry Jorgenson (Treynor), 4:26.40; 7. Aniey Akok (Ames), 4:26.60; 8. Kolby Greiner (Iowa City West), 4:26.75.

1,600 relay — 1. Waukee (Yeaway, Hicks-Jumper, Eaton, Smith), 3:19.12; 2. West Des Moines Valley, 3:21.06; 3. Western Dubuque, 3:23.81; 4. West Des Moines Dowling, 3:24.72; 5. Sergeant Bluff-Luton, 3:25.22; 6. Ames, 3:25.64; 7. Bettendorf, 3:26.35; 8. Dike-New Hartford, 3:27.82.

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

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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