116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Drew Bartels’ talent was a major reason Cedar Rapids Kennedy won a Mississippi Valley Conference divisional championship in boys’ track and field last week.
His unselfishness was another.
“(The coaching staff was) putting the lineup together, and we had us (projected) as six points short,” Cougars Coach Curt Pakkebier said.
“We had the idea to pull Brody (Lovell) from the shuttle (hurdle relay), and we could probably still win it.”
Then another idea came to light.
“What if we pulled Drew from the shuttle? We might still win it, and maybe he could go win the 100.”
Bartels’ reaction: Whatever we need to do.
Kennedy still won the shuttle, Bartels won four individual events, and the Cougars outscored Dubuque Senior 153-148 for the Valley Division title.
“That’s Drew,” Pakkebier said. “He’s a team player.”
The team player can be a little more centered on self Thursday. The Cougars will participate in a Class 4A state-qualifying meet at Kingston Stadium, and Bartels will be among the main attractions.
He is ranked No. 1 in the state in the long jump (23 feet, 9 3/4 inches), the 110-meter high hurdles (14.23 seconds) and the 400-meter lows (52.83). Kennedy has the state’s best shuttle (57.95 seconds).
Those four events will be Bartels’ itinerary Thursday. He was the Drake Relays champion in the highs, and joined Reid Pakkebier, Max White and Lovell on the winning shuttle team.
“I want to win at least one state title,” said the University of Northern Iowa recruit.
“I think the shuttle has the best shot, coming off our win at Drake. I expect to win the highs. The long jump, I have a really good shot. The 400 lows is the event I have the least experience in.”
The state field will be determined Thursday for all four classes, boys and girls.
In Class 4A, Class 3A and Class 2A, the top two finishers in each event from each meet are automatic qualifiers, and it’s the winner in each event from each Class 1A competition.
At-large qualifiers, released Friday, will fill out a roster of 24 in each state event for May 20-22 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Bartels is the latest in a long line of jumping/sprinting/hurdling stars at Kennedy. And, according to Coach Pakkebier, the best.
“He has the school record in the highs. He’s the best 400 hurdler I’ve had,” Pakkebier said. “Obviously, he has talent. And he’s a hard worker. He’s one of those kids I’ve had to back him off from doing too much.”
Bartels was a member of Kennedy’s Drake-champion shuttle squad as a sophomore in 2019. Then, of course, there was no 2020 season.
"Missing the season last year, that really hurt,“ he said. “I had the goal that I was going to push myself to the limit. (Tim) Lewis’ (strength and conditioning) program really helped. I gained a lot of muscle.”
Bartels and his shuttle teammates got a head start on the season, hauling hurdles to nearby indoor venues during the winter.
Now, it’s time to put those tools, and that refinement, to use.
“You need a clear mind before the race,” Bartels said. “I just relax and don’t think about it. If you mow a hurdle down, you’ve got to recover and finish.”
Thursday’s area state-qualifying meets
(Top 2 from each site advance, plus 12 at-large)
At Kingston Stadium (C.R. Kennedy host) — Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Cedar Rapids Washington, Linn-Mar, Marshalltown, Waterloo East, Waterloo West.
At Iowa City West — Cedar Rapids Prairie, Dubuque Hempstead, Dubuque Senior, Iowa City High, Iowa City Liberty, Iowa City West, Muscatine, Ottumwa.
(Top 2 from each site advance, plus 8 at-large)
At Independence — Center Point-Urbana, Charles City, Decorah, Independence, Vinton-Shellsburg, Waverly-Shell Rock, West Delaware, Western Dubuque.
At Mount Pleasant — Clear Creek Amana, Davenport Assumption, Fairfield, Fort Madison, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, Washington, West Burlington-Notre Dame.
At Pella — Benton Community, Bondurant-Farrar, Grinnell, Knoxville, Newton, Oskaloosa, Pella, South Tama.
At Solon — Cedar Rapids Xavier, DeWitt Central, Dubuque Wahlert, Maquoketa, Marion, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Solon.
(Top 2 from each site advance, plus 8 at-large)
At Eddyville — Albia, Cardinal, Centerville, Central Decatur, Central Lee, Chariton, Davis County, Eddyville EBF, Mid-Prairie, Pekin, Van Buren County, Williamsburg.
At Jesup — Cascade, Crestwood, Denver, Dyersville Beckman, Jesup, New Hampton, North Fayette Valley, Oelwein, Postville, Sumner-Fredericksburg, Union Community, Waukon.
At Tipton — Anamosa, Bellevue, Camanche, Durant, Iowa City Regina, Louisa-Muscatine, Mediapolis, Northeast, Tipton, West Branch, West Liberty, Wilton.
(Winner from each site advances, plus 14 at-large)
At Belle Plaine — Alburnett, Belle Plaine, BGM, Central City, English Valleys, Garwin GMG, HLV, Iowa Valley, Meskwaki, Montezuma, North Linn, North Mahaska, Springville, Tri-County.
At Edgewood — Bellevue Marquette, Clayton Ridge, Clinton Prince of Peace, East Buchanan, Easton Valley, Edgewood-Colesburg, Elkader Central, Lansing Kee, Maquoketa Valley, MFL MarMac, Midland, South Winneshiek, Starmont, Turkey Valley.
At Grundy Center — Ackley AGWSR, Clarksville, Conrad BCLUW, Don Bosco, Dunkerton, Gladbrook-Reinbeck, Grundy Center, Janesville, North Butler, North Tama, Tripoli, Valley Lutheran, Wapsie Valley, West Central.
At Wayland — Calamus-Wheatland, Columbus Community, Danville, Highland, Hillcrest Academy, Keota, Lisbon, Lone Tree, New London, North Cedar, Sigourney, WACO, Wapello, Winfield-Mount Union.