DES MOINES — A closer look at the top individuals and team races in the boys’ portion of this week’s state track and field meet at Drake Stadium.
Top individuals — Iowa City West’s Austin West won the Drake Relays title in the 400-meter hurdles, and is favored in that event this weekend. He pursues the all-time Iowa best of 50.96 seconds. West also is seeded second in the 400-meter dash behind Bettendorf’s Darien Porter (who ran sub-48 at the district meet), and should contend in the long jump. West Des Moines Dowling’s Matthew Carmody is the favorite in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Scouting the team race — On the strength of four top-seeded events, Dowling is the favorite to win its first championship in boys’ track and field. In addition to Carmody, the Maroons have event leaders in Jayson Murray (100) and Zach Stacy (shot put). Iowa City West is poised to challenge; the Trojans should pick up a multitude of points Thursday and Friday. West Des Moines Valley is the defending champion, and is seeded to score 32 points in the two jumps.
Projected points — West Des Moines Dowling 74, Iowa City West 60, Ames 53, West Des Moines Valley 52, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 45
Linder’s championship pick — West Des Moines Dowling
Top individuals — Marion’s Blair Brooks swept the jumping events last year, and captured the Drake Relays long jump last month. Myles Bach won two 3,200-meter titles and a pair of 1,600-meter crowns at Marion, and will conclude his career this weekend representing Center Point-Urbana. Atlantic’s Chase Mullenix has the top district time in the 800, and presumably will anchor the Trojans’ distance medley relay, which also is seeded No. 1.
Scouting the team race — Five teams are capable of prevailing in a race that won’t be decided until late Saturday afternoon, including defending-champion Marion. Brooks isn’t the Indians’ lone wolf. They also own strong sprint relays and a steady distance runner in Jeremy Fopma. Dubuque Wahlert is favored in only one event (400 relay), but the Golden Eagles figure to nickel-and-dime their way into contention. Wahlert and Marion are capable of scoring in the neighborhood of 50 points, as are Atlantic, Dallas Center-Grimes and Sergeant Bluff-Luton.
Projected points — Dubuque Wahlert 53, Atlantic 49, Marion 49, Dallas Center-Grimes 46, Segreant Bluff-Luton 44
Linder’s championship pick — Marion
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Top individuals — West Liberty’s Tanner Iske was the Drake Relays champion in the 100-meter dash, and will spearhead the Comets’ sprint relays. Iske will be challenged by Gage Clay of Avoca AHSTW and Monroe PCM’s duo of Noah Anderson and Preston Van Wyk. Pekin has a corner on the middle-distance races, led by Isaiah Wittrock (seeded No. 1 in the 400 and 800) and Chandler Eckley. Dyersville Beckman’s Mark Brown is the defending champion in the 400 hurdles.
Scouting the team race — Pekin proved it could run with the big schools last month at the Drake Relays, and that bodes well for the Panthers this week. Wittrock and Eckley could go 1-2 in the 800, and the Panthers are favored in the 400, plus the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays and distance medley. If West Liberty drastically surpasses its seeds, the Comets probably are the chief challenger, along with River Valley Conference rival Mid-Prairie.
Projected points — Pekin 64, Mid-Prairie 42, West Liberty 35, Dyersville Beckman 33, Mediapolis 30, Monroe PCM 30, South Central Calhoun 30
Linder’s championship pick — Pekin
Top individuals — The top star of the Drake Relays came from the small-school class — Outstanding Male Performer Gable Sieperda of Central Lyon will run the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Hudson’s Dawson Ellingson is the favorite to sweep the throwing events, and North Linn’s Ryan Miller is the top seed in the long jump and the 400-meter hurdles. Jordon Bender of Montezuma and Rodney Schwartzhoff of South Winneshiek are among the top sprinters.
Scouting the team race — Lisbon has captured the last three 1A boys’ titles (and scored a whopping 89 points last year), but the Lions face a big challenge in extending their streak. Dunkerton has the best championship resume on paper, seeded No. 1 in one event and No. 2 in three. Hudson appears to have some safe points coming from Ellingson, and if the Pirates are in contention late, they have a potential winner in the 1,600-meter relay. Council Bluffs St. Albert is seeded in the top three in five events.
Projected points — Dunkerton 53, Hudson 47, Council Bluffs St. Albert 40, Lynnville-Sully 33, Lisbon 32
Linder’s championship pick — Hudson
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