BAXTER — Even though it was the first time outdoors for a few teams, Friday's competition at the Raider Relays hosted by Collins-Maxwell-Baxter proved that it should be an interesting season on the track.
Four area boys teams competed in the eight-team field, with the Raiders taking top honors with 143.5 points, 33.5 ahead of second-place Gilbert. Despite being one of the smaller schools in attendance, Lynnville-Sully finished third with 94 points, while Prairie City-Monroe took fourth and an ailing Colfax-Mingo took eighth by a narrow three-point margin.
After what he did in the indoor season, it should comes as no surprise that junior Zach Samson is emerging as a contender for the state title in the shot put. On Friday, he reaffirmed that thought even more.
Samson capped a strong day for the Raiders with victories in both the shot put and the discus, helping the Raiders earn their victory. Samson improved his personal-best throw in the discus by nearly 20 inches with a distance of 154 feet, seven inches, and launched the shot 54-9 to earn first place ahead of teammate Patrick Girard.
Also having a big day for CMB was sophomore Bryce Kemp, who was all over the meet. Kemp took first in the long jump with a distance of 20 feet even, as well as the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.87 seconds. In sprints, he finished second in the 200 (22.94) and third in a highly-competitive 100 (11.23).
“I was very pleased with many of our performances and all of our efforts throughout the evening,” CMB coach Neil Seales said. “We competed hard against some very good competition, and I thought that the vast majority of our guys really challenged themselves. When they do that, we’re going to continue to get better.”
Distance events were another good source of points for the Raiders, as Aaron Ward and Mark Deutsch placed 1-2 in the 3,200 and 2-3 in the 1,600.
Jordan Coughenour scored the Raiders’ final victory of the day in the 400 (53.64), and the 4x800 relay team of Kyle Cather, Zach Hartgers, Seth Balke and Austin Moorman took second with a time of 9:13.19.
“Overall it was a good first meet for us,” Seales said. “Now, we just need to keep working hard to continue to improve in all areas as well as try to get more of our really young guys ready to compete at the varsity level.”
Returning plenty of state experience from last season, the Hawks appeared to be in state form already on Friday.
The Hawks won five events and placed in 17 to take third place and give coach Mike Parkinson plenty to be happy about in the team’s second outdoor meet.
“This was a great experience for our guys,” Parkinson said. “It was a chance for our more experienced athletes to face some tough competition and our young athletes really had to step up, and they did. We made a few mistakes here and there, but it’s still early.”
Junior Meliek Meyer looked fresh from his state appearance in the 100, winning Friday’s race that may have been the most competitive one of the day. Meyer, the state leader in the event, ran a school-record 10.70 to edge out Colfax-Mingo’s Connor Hainer, who is currently leading Class 2A in the event.
The Hawks’ 2012 state qualifying shuttle hurdle relay team of Cale Van Wyk, Brady Van Wyk, Darin Hofer and Nathan Russel blew out its competition in the event, but that wasn’t the team’s only relay success. L-S also scored victories in the distance medley, 4x100 and the 4x400 to cap an impressive day.
In the field events, Payton Haack and Cale Van Wyk took second and fifth in the long jump with distances of 18-7.25 and 17-11.25, respectively. Russell finished fifth in the discus with a toss of 120-02.
“We’re very pleased with the results and are excited about the early times and marks of the season,” Parkinson said. “We hope all the positive things from last night motivate our team to continue to improve and compete at a high level.”
Even without the benefit of an indoor season, the Mustangs still managed a fourth-place finish on Friday.
Most of the team’s success came in relay events, with three teams taking third. The 4x800 team of Rhett Gainey, Matt Chizek, Logan Gilman and Ethan Kain finished with a time of 9:16.58, the distance medley team of Zach Uhlenhopp, Ron Marshall, Maverick McAtee and Gainey clocked in at 4:07.62 and the 4x400 team of Troy Vittetoe, Uhlenhopp, Alex Dahms and Kain finished in 3:47.29.
Individually, Hunter Reed scored the team’s lone victory in the 400 hurdles with a time of 58.63, and also finished second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.51. Kain tied for fifth in the long jump with a height of 5-8 and Chizek took fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:21.91. Glenn Gillespie just narrowly missed out on a medal in the discus, finishing seventh, as did Dahms in the 400.
Still battling some injuries and illness, the Tigerhawks weren’t exactly 100 percent on Friday, but still turned in a number of solid performances.
Jaden Van Dyke fought through being sick to win the 800, his 2012 state event, with a time of 2:02.64. Hainer, who was also sick, competed in just the 100 and 400, and placed second and fifth, respectively. Hainer is the current Class 2A leader in the long jump, but did not participate in the event.
Other top finishers for the Tigerhawks included Chad McLain taking third in the shot put with a distance of 45 even. Freshman Blake Summy took fourth in the 200, and led off the fourth-place distance medley team with McLain, Byron Johnson and Jake Lietz. Freshman Jake Buehrer also earned some praise, taking seventh in the 3,200 and eighth in the 1,600.
“We were able to get three to four events for all of our JV kids, and many PRs were established by them with some terrific efforts,” C-M coach Matt Barkalow said “We’ll build on this moving forward.”
The Raiders and Tigerhawks will be back in Baxter for a CMB coed invitational today, while the Hawks and Mustangs will compete at Pella Christian Tuesday.