116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s not a perfect team, not a complete team.
There are holes and voids in the lineup of 19 events. And thus, Cedar Rapids Washington has not contended for any boys’ track and field invitational team championships this spring.
“The stuff we’re good at, we’re really good at,” Warriors Coach Maurice Blue said.
That “stuff” is sprinting.
In juniors Miles Thompson and Michael Blank, Washington possesses a pair of bona fide burners. In senior Aidan Armon and junior Watts McBride, the Warriors have a couple of relay men who more than hold their own.
In these four guys and four events (the 100- and 200-meter races and the 400- and 800-meter relays), there are hopes for major accomplishments at the state track and field championships.
The meet runs Thursday through Saturday at Drake Stadium, Des Moines.
“We want to win the 4-by-1 and the 4-by-2,” Blank said. “Hopefully, Miles and I can go 1-2 in the 200. And we’d like to win the sprint medley.
“We haven’t beaten anybody yet. We look forward to proving ourselves.”
Thompson is seeded No. 3 among Class 4A 100-meter hopefuls, and Thompson and Blank are 2-3 in the 200.
Washington is No. 1 in the 400-meter relay (McBride, Thompson, Armon and Blank ran 42.13 at districts) and No. 1 in the 800-meter relay (same quartet, different order, 1:28.06).
“We want to focus on one race at a time,” Thompson said. “We need to get our handoffs right, have good starts. If all of that happens, we can finish first in those relays.”
If the Warriors can run to their seed in those four events, it surely will be enough to put them in the top 10 in the 4A boys’ team standings. Maybe top five.
Last year, they scored six points and tied for 27th.
Another year of maturity has made a marked difference.
“They work well together,” Blue said. “They all bring something different to the table. There really aren’t any egos with these guys.”
OK, then, who’s the fastest?
“It depends who you ask,” Blank said. “Miles usually gets me in the 100. The 200 is back and forth.
“Either way, I get to race one of the fastest kids in the state every day.”
A neutral observer, McBride added: “Miles is fastest in the 100, and you have to give the 400 to Michael. It’s pretty tight in the 200.”
Most of the guys acknowledged that they got their speedy genes from their fathers. Not so with Thompson.
His mother, Kristyn Barber, was among the state’s best girls’ sprinters when she was at Washington a couple of decades ago.
“I haven’t seen any tape on her, but I’ve seen the records, and she was fast,” Thompson said. “But I’m faster.
“She realized in fourth grade that I was fast. Sometimes we would go over to Franklin (Middle School) and run around the track.”
By the time Thompson was in middle school himself, he was inundated with injuries.
“I got hurt a lot,” he said. “I hurt my hamstring in seventh grade and only ran once. I broke my hip in eighth grade and only ran twice.”
Thompson, Blank and McBride grew up together, playing football and basketball from their early days. They assumed their fourth would be somebody else, but a couple of the top prospects didn’t go out this season.
“Aidan stepped up,” Blank said. “He has been a dark horse for us. He filled that spot great.”
Armon said, “It’s definitely an experience that I’ll remember forever. We still have records and goals that we want to hit.”
That includes Washington’s 400-meter relay school record of 42.09 seconds.
“I think the plan is to crush that,” McBride said.