Despite fresh snow falling on the ground outside, spring sports are beginning to kick into full force this week for Iowa high schools. The area boys’ track teams continued their seasons at the ISU High School Boys Classic in Ames on Tuesday.
Newton took part in its second meet of the season following an impressive performance against conference opponents Friday in Grinnell. The Cardinals hoped to build on that performance, especially considering it was the first time for many of the athletes even practicing in their respective events, let alone competing.
Kicking off the festivities for the Cardinals with an impressive performance in the 60-meter hurdles was sophomore Deonne Harris. Harris bolted out to the lead in his heat and held on to the finish. His time of 8.50 seconds was good enough to place him fourth out of the more than 100 athletes competing. Harris’ time was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than his 8.69-second performance, which earned him a win in the same event at Grinnell on Friday.
To go along with Harris, former all-state competitor Derrick Hurt picked up his shot for the second time this season after hurling an impressive 50 feet, 1 inch. On Tuesday, Hurt threw a 50-6.75, which was good enough to place him fourth in the nearly state-wide meet in Ames. He was building on his winning effort in Grinnell as well. That meet on Friday was, according to coach Tom Bartello, the first time Hurt had picked up a shot this season. It’ s easy to tell Hurt should improve even more when the weather heats up and he is afforded the opportunity to practice regularly.
To go along with Hurt’s outstanding effort, Dakota Hills was 10th in the open 400 at 52.68 seconds and the long jump with a jump of 20-1.5. Senior Andrew Clements was 16th in the open 400 with a time of 53.10 seconds. Freshman Cooper McDermott (4:56.07) and sophomore Jacob Thomas (4:58.36) both ran under 5:00 for the 1600. Sophomore Christian Laube set a PR in the 3200 with time of 10:38. The 4x100 team of Harris, Jarom Williams, Clements, and Hills took 14th with a time of 48.84. The 4x400 team of Dainen Brass, Hills, Clements, and Williams took fifth with a time of 3:34.88.
“The meet went very well with nearly all of our returners competing better than our meet last Friday at Grinnell and ahead of where they were last year at this time. We had seven events place in the top 20,” Bartello said. “Most of the athletes are competing better than where they were at this time last which is a great sign this early in the season. We are trying to be as patient as we can with this weather and are excited to see what they can do once we get outside and on the track on a consistent basis. I have been very pleased with our performances so far with our indoor season, their hard work the past few weeks has been paying off.”
The boys of Colfax-Mingo took part in their second events this season at the Ames meet. Based on last season the Tigerhawks knew they had a couple of very fast competitors in the 400-meter dash. Senior Jaden Van Dyke (52.58) confirmed his speed with a seventh place finish overall, improving on his 14th place finish in the same event last year.
Not to be outdone, senior Connor Hainer, a very competitive 400 runner from last season appears to have cranked it up a notch. Hainer finished fifth overall with a time of 51.97 seconds in a meet that included close to 200 runners from around the state. Van Dyke and Hainer were in the same heat, which may have provided a competitive boost to both of the athletes. Hainer also competed in the long jump where he finished fourth with an impressive jump of 21-1.25.
“I was really pleased with seniors Connor Hainer and Jaden Van Dyke, going fifth and seventh respectively in the 400 dash with 23 heats of over 180 seeded runners in all school classes,” coach Matt Barkalow said. “I believe Connor was a top five place winner in the long jump as well, so that’s another great effort.”
The Tigerhawks also had an impressive finish in the 1600-meter medley relay, but were disqualified for impeding another runner. Despite that, Barkalow took the event as an overall positive, especially because this is a good indicator of where the team is so early in the season.
“We were disappointed to have our medley relay get DQ’ed from what would have been a top ten or so finish, but we’re awfully early in the year,” Barkalow said. “I know the boys will all work hard to iron this out moving forward.”
The CMB Raiders showed up to Ames with confidence that they could place fairly high in a number of events. Their most notable finish early was a 12th overall finish by sophomore Joey Nissen in the 60-meter hurdles. His time of 8.72 seconds earned him a surprisingly high finish, especially for an underclassman amongst a slew of juniors and seniors.
The two other Raiders competing in the 60 hurdles were junior Jordan Coughenour and sophomore Seth Balke. Coughenour posted a time of 9.62 seconds, placing him in the upper third of all hurdlers, 55th overall in the meet. Balke’s time of 10.30 seconds put him 88th overall. Coughenour also competed in the high jump and finished 54th out of 85 jumpers with a jump of 5-4. He also finished 97th out of 194 runners in the 60 dash with a time of 7.68.
CMB junior Zach Samson took first overall in the shot put event with a superb throw that landed 54-3 from the circle. That throw was more than a foot clear of Shaquille Wells of Urbandale, who finished second in the event. CMB sophomore Patrick Girard also had an impressive throw from the circle that traveled 47-0.75. He finished 10th in the shot put.
“While we only took a few athletes and competed in just six events, I was pleased with the efforts. We just need more reps and conditioning to keep improving. I was especially pleased with out shot putters, Zach and Patrick, who each had a good series of throws and finished 1st and 10th respectively,” coach Neil Seales said. “I thought our hurdlers also ran well, given the very limited opportunities they have had to work over five flights. In particular, Joey Nissen’s 12th-place finish in only his second hurdle race was a really nice performance”