116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
For one day — Thursday — team success truly outshines individual accolades in area high school track and field.
Conference and, in the case of the Mississippi Valley Conference, divisional championships will be determined in all area leagues other than the South Iowa Cedar League, which ran its meet Tuesday.
It’s about stretching individuals and relays into premium points.
Some titles appear predestined (Solon girls in the Wamac, Mid-Prairie girls in the River Valley, Lisbon boys in the Tri-Rivers). Others range from competitive to too-close-to-call.
Here’s how the races might play out:
MVC Mississippi Division
Girls: 4:30 p.m., Cedar Falls H.S.
Boys: 4:30 p.m., Loras College, Dubuque
This is, without argument, the superior division for both girls and boys. The disparity is more pronounced on the girls side, in which probably the top six teams in the MVC reside in the Mississippi. Cedar Rapids Prairie has a versatile ace in Gabby Cortez, and the Hawks should score well in most events. Linn-Mar leads a parade of challengers that also includes Cedar Falls, Dubuque Wahlert, Iowa City Liberty and Western Dubuque.
Led by Drake Relays most outstanding performer T.J. Tomlyanovich, Cedar Falls is the boys favorite. The Tigers are stacked in the relays and the middle distances. City High and Prairie are capable of pushing the Tigers all the way to the end. Ceondae Adams leads a stable full of Prairie hurdlers.
MVC Valley Division
Girls: 4:30 p.m., Kingston Stadium, Cedar Rapids
Boys: 4:30 p.m., Dalzell Field, Dubuque
The boys competition could be one of the more dramatic races in the area. Three teams — Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Dubuque Senior and Iowa City West — appear to be nearly dead-even. Kennedy’s Drew Bartels is the favorite in the long jump and all three hurdling events.
Dubuque Hempstead has the top distance crew, both boys and girls. The Mustangs’ ability to double up in the individual distance events, and score big in the distance relays, could push them over the top in the girls race, though Iowa City West, Kennedy and Dubuque Senior will push.
4:30 p.m., at Independence
Expect a nail-biter and a landslide here.
Clear Creek Amana and Marion are co-favorites in the boys race, with Solon and Benton Community the primary challengers. Marion’s Garret Wagner is favored to sweep the throws, and the Indians should score well in the individual distance events and sprint relays. Harrison Rosenberg and Gavin Zillyette headline CCA’s top-flight hurdling crew.
Book it: Solon is winning the girls championship. The Spartans are a complete team, without significant holes in any event. Williamsburg has the inside track in the race for second place.
River Valley Conference
4:30 p.m., at Anamosa
Similar story to the Wamac. Let’s start with the landslide first. That would be Mid-Prairie’s powerhouse girls. The two-time defending Class 2A state champions are super-stacked again, from 100 meters to 3,000. Led by hurdling ace Kelly Proesch, North Cedar should battle Northeast and Cascade for runner-up honors.
The boys race is a completely different story, with seven competitive teams. Three stand out as prime contenders: Bellevue (top-seeded in three relays), Monticello (strong depth, led by high jump/hurdling star Caden Ungs) and Anamosa (which could steal the title despite winning only one or two events). Great distance runners here, led by Tipton’s Caleb Shumaker, Bellevue’s Brady Griebel and Camanche’s Dylan Darsidan.
4 p.m., at Alburnett
Who can prevent a Lisbon title sweep?
Probably no rivals on the boys side. Led by Kole Becker (Class 1A’s best in four events) an arsenal of strong sprinters and quality depth, the Lions are a heavy favorite. If they happen to stumble (unlikely), Edgewood-Colesburg, Maquoketa Valley and Calamus-Wheatland are top candidates to challenge.
The girls race should be more dramatic. Lisbon has the top distance runner in Lourdes Mason, as well as some solid sprint relays. The Lions are seeded in the top two in five relays. Host Alburnett is most equipped to challenge behind Hailey Carolan, who has cleared 5-3 3/4 in the high jump. Don’t dismiss Springville, Maquoketa Valley or Starmont.
Thursday’s other area conference meets
Iowa Star Conference: 4:30 p.m., at Meskwaki
North Iowa Cedar League East Division: 4:30 p.m., at Parkersburg
Northeast Iowa Conference: 5 p.m., at Decorah
Southeast Conference: 4:30 p.m., at Keokuk
Southeast Iowa Superconference: 4 p.m., at Wayland
Upper Iowa Conference: 4 p.m., at West Union