116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — The Iowa high school state track and field meet begins at 9 a.m. Thursday at Drake Stadium and runs through Saturday.
Here are the top individuals and teams in the boys’ field, along with The Gazette’s championship picks:
Top individuals: As was the case at the Drake Relays, the boys’ distance events are stacked. There is no clear favorite in the 4A long races, but guys like Ford Washburn of Iowa City High, Will Ryan and Jackson Heidesch of West Des Moines Dowling and Alex McKane of Iowa City West should be at the front of the pack. Abu Sama of Southeast Polk is the all-time Iowa leader in the long jump. Miles Thompson and Michael Blank spearhead Cedar Rapids Washington’s elite sprint relays, and Tyrese Miller of Ankeny is the favorite in the 400 meters.
Scouting the team race: Iowa City High entered the district meet as a clear-cut favorite, but things are looking a lot more crowded now at the top, with numerous potential contenders. City High certainly didn’t do anything to hurt its chances at the state-qualifying meet; the Little Hawks are seeded to score in 10 events and boast a pair of No. 1 seeds (Truman Thompson in the 800 and Washburn in the 1,600). Dowling counters with the 1-2 punch of Ryan and Heidesch in the distance events, plus Mikey McClain in the sprints. Three other teams — Ankeny, Iowa City West and Linn-Mar — are capable of entering the title hunt if they can surpass their seeds in multiple events. Linn-Mar enters with the top seed in the shuttle hurdle relay while West is tops in the distance medley.
Projected points leaders: West Des Moines Dowling 67, Iowa City High 60, Ankeny 51, Iowa City West 49, Linn-Mar 42.
Our trophy picks: 1. Iowa City High, 2. West Des Moines Dowling, 3. Iowa City West.
Top individuals: Dallas Center-Grimes’ Aidan Ramsey was the star of the Drake Relays and is the favorite to sweep the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. He also is penciled to anchor the Mustangs’ top-seeded distance medley relay. Eli Naumann of Western Dubuque will challenge Ramsey in the 800 and 1,600, and also is the second seed in the 400. Ian Collins of Charles City is the favorite in both jumping events, and Brandon VanderSluis of Le Mars is poised for a throws sweep.
Scouting the team race: Defending-champion Pella and challenger Dallas Center-Grimes are expected to break from the pack with strong performances Thursday, and to duel all weekend long. Ramsey might be the difference-maker for DCG, which has other weapons to complement him, particularly 400-meter title threat Daniel Onwuramaka. Pella won’t surrender quietly; the Dutch are top-seeded in three relays (4x800, shuttle hurdle and 4x400), and could score in all five of Thursday’s events. At least five teams — Decorah, Adel ADM, Le Mars, Newton and Western Dubuque — appear to be in the hunt for third place. Decorah is seeded to score in nine events, with No. 2 seeds in Haywood Stowe (200) and Joseph Hjelle (shot put). A big performance by Naumann could move Western Dubuque into trophy contention.
Projected points leaders: Dallas Center-Grimes 82, Pella 73, Decorah 46, Adel ADM 42, Le Mars 40.
Our trophy picks: 1. Dallas Center-Grimes, 2. Pella, 3. Decorah.
Top individuals: Spirit Lake holds a pair of aces in its hand in Jack Latham and Qai Hussey. Latham is the favorite in the 100-meter dash and the 110-meter high hurdles, and Hussey is No. 1 in the 200. Both are in a top-seeded relay. Carson Lienau of Jesup has a chance to sweep the throwing events, and Brennan Sauser of Oelwein had the top times in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, though he’ll be strongly challenged in both by the Des Moines Christian duo of Carson Houg and Aaron Fynaardt.
Scouting the team race: Don’t be surprised if Spirit Lake is trailing a handful of teams heading into the final day. But it would be a stunning turn of events if the Indians don’t race away from the field Saturday. Led by Latham and Hussey, Spirit Lake is seeded to score 71 of its 88 points on the final day, with top seeds in five events (sprint medley relay, shuttle hurdle relay, 100, 110 hurdles and 200). Houg and Fynaardt conserved energy on a hot district day and do not enter with high seeds in the distance events, and when they run to potential this weekend, Des Moines Christian should soar. Jesup has more than just Lienau; the J-Hawks are seeded to score in nine events. All of Treynor’s 40 seed points are in the relays.
Projected points leaders: Spirit Lake 88, Jesup 47, Belmond-Klemme 42, Treynor 40, Dike-New Hartford 29.
Our trophy picks: 1. Spirit Lake, 2. Des Moines Christian, 3. Treynor.
Top individuals: Lisbon’s Kole Becker was a four-event champion in 2021, and will try to duplicate that feat this weekend. The Drake Relays 400-meter hurdles champ, Becker is the favorite in that event, as well as the 110-meter hurdles and the long jump. He also is a contender in the open 400. Saint Ansgar’s Riley Witt will be at or near the top in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and will anchor the Saints’ distance medley relay. Brendan Monahan of Council Bluffs St. Albert is the top seed in the 100 and 200, and New London’s Carter Allen will pursue a sweep in the throws.
Scouting the team race: New London and Lisbon have looked like the small-school front-runners all season, and nothing changed after the district meet. New London is mighty in the field events (the Tigers have the top seed in the shot put, discus and high jump) and are capable of scoring well in the distance events. Lisbon has an ace in Becker, and the Lions’ 400- and 800-meter relays are capable of striking gold. Key events for the Lions could be the 3,200-meter relay (seeded seventh) and the distance medley (ninth). If the Lions run beyond their seeds there, that could send them to the title. Middle-distance prowess could vault Earlham into the race; the Cardinals are seeded No. 1 in the 800, 1,600, 4x400 and 4x800.
Projected points leaders: New London 72, Lisbon 71, Earlham 59, Madrid 43, Lawton-Bronson 40.
Our trophy picks: 1. Lisbon, 2. New London, 3. Earlham.