Prep Track and Field

Track and field notes: Western Dubuque embracing life 'under the radar'

Bobcats getting big contributions from numerous sources

(Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
(Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

When Western Dubuque was first toying with the idea of Mississippi Valley Conference membership, Tom Jasper was one of the biggest advocates.

“Our kids here are fearless,” said Jasper, boys’ track and field coach. “I knew they would enjoy the challenge.”

It’s clear that the Bobcats will be competitive in the first year of their new home. More than competitive.

Western Dubuque is ranked in the Class 4A top three in five different events. Four of those are individual events, four different guys.

The Bobcats are particularly strong in the field events. Damon Jaeger leads 4A in the long jump at 22 feet, 5 inches. Grant Kelchen’s effort of 6-6 in the high jump ranks second, and Jason Simon-Ressler (55-8 1/2 in the shot put) is No. 3. All are seniors.

Will Burds, who ranks third in the 400-meter hurdles at 54.78 seconds, is a junior. Burds also is a member of the Bobcats’ third-ranked 1,600-meter relay.

Western Dubuque already has three invitational titles this season.

This is a program that doesn’t come from a big Metro area, but is developing into a big-school powerhouse. The Bobcats finished third at state in 2017 behind a speedy crew of sprinters.

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“We kind of enjoy flying under the radar,” Jasper said. “People don’t expect us to be that strong, and we enjoy that. We like showing people what we have.

“We had two significant injuries last year that set us back, but those kids are healthy now. And we’re getting contributions from all four of our classes.”

Jasper listed lofty goals in the preseason, including an MVC divisional championship and a top-five state finish. That’s not under-the-radar stuff.

“If everybody stays healthy, I really believe we can meet that,” Jasper said. “We’ve got some things that people haven’t seen yet.”

They're No. 1

Iowa City Liberty freshman Ashlyn Keeney has zoomed to the top of the state chart (all classes) in the girls’ 1,500- and 3,000-meter races with efforts of 4:40.07 and 10:06.24, respectively. Keeney also stands second in the 800 at 2:15.71.

Peyton Steva of Iowa City West leads the state in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles (14.63), and Linn-Mar is on top of the girls’ 1,600-meter relay (4:00.19).

Area boys’ leaders are Trent Davis of Linn-Mar (110-meter hurdles, 14.35), Cam Jones of Cedar Rapids Kennedy (discus, 175-8) and Kolby Greiner of Iowa City West (3,200, 9:32.45)

Decisions, Decisions

Saturday will feature two major co-ed meets in the Metro.

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Draxton-Stiers/Wilkinson Relays starts at 10:30 a.m. at Kingston Stadium, with seven girls’ teams and five boys’ squads scheduled to attend.

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Across town is Linn-Mar’s Clark Weaver Invitational, 14 girls’ teams and 12 boys’ teams. That starts at 10 a.m. at Linn-Mar Stadium.

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

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