DES MOINES — Before the track season began, Collins-Maxwell-Baxter sophomore Bryce Kemp had never competed in the 110-meter hurdles, but he was placed in the event anyway.
Kemp rewarded his coaches’ decision and kept the event’s state title with the Raiders on Saturday, topping the field in Class 2A and repeating what former teammate Josh Zeiser did the year before.
“Obviously, we are thrilled with Zach and Bryce’s achievements in the winning their respective state titles,” CMB coach Neil Seales said. “The really rewarding part is that both of these guys are not only very good athletes, but are very dedicated and committed and work extremely hard. So it is really great to see them have this level of success.”
Kemp edged out Emmetsburg’s Cody Henderson by .04 seconds, finishing with a time of 14.96 to bring home the victory. Kemp’s state title was the second for the Raiders on the weekend, joining junior teammate Zach Samson’s shot put championship. Overall, Kemp also finished ninth in the long jump, 14th in the shuttle hurdle relay with teammates Jordan Coughenour, Joey Nissen and Austin Moorman and 20th in the 200-meter dash.
Taking the area’s top team finish were the Lynnville-Sully boys, who took fourth in Class 1A thanks to plenty of success in both individual and relay success.
A big points contributor was junior Meliek Meyer, who finished a close second in the 100 and third in the 200. His 11.32 in the 100 was just .08 seconds behind East Mills champ Nick Pittmon, who also claimed the 200. Meyer’s time in the race was 22.92, just .02 seconds ahead of fourth place.
“I knew he was right there, especially at the end when he caught up to me, but that’s just what happens. He’s a good runner, so it’s not a huge letdown,” Meyer said of Pittmon in the 100. “Through the weather cancellations, I’ve just kept running. It doesn’t take a lot of much else.”
Also taking second for the Hawks was the 4x100 relay team of Bailee Samson, Jacob Walker, Caden Doll and Meyer. After winning their heat in the prelims and coming in seeded second, the Hawks nearly matched their season-best time with a 44.17 behind Class 1A champion Manson-Northwest Webster’s time of 43.30.
“We’ve got improvements to make,” Walker said. “Our handoffs weren’t very good, and we bobbled it around a little on that second exchange. But we still got it in and ran pretty well.”
That wasn’t even near the end of the Hawks’ success over the weekend. In the shuttle hurdle relay, the team of Brady Van Wyk, Nathan Russell, Darin Hofer and Doll finished third with a time of 59.80. Individually, Tara Vos competed twice on Saturday for the Hawk girls, finishing 11th in the 800 with a time of 2:26.75 and taking 15th in the 1,500 in 5:16.33. On Friday, Shelby Davis finished 16th in the high jump with a leap of 4 feet, 10 inches.
Many of the team members already seemed focused for next season, when they will return a solid majority of this season’s competitors. With the entire 4x100 team returning, the Hawks are expecting to add at least one first-place trophy to the case next year.
“You obviously never shoot for second place, but we’re not disappointed,” Doll said after the 4x100. “We were hoping for an overall trophy, but we hit a lull and some of our teams didn’t finish where we thought they might. We’re returning a lot, so it should be interesting.”
Colfax-Mingo also kept busy in the final two days of the meet, starting with the lone event for the girls team on Friday — the 4x200 relay. The team of senior Jessica Kolo, sophomore Erin Earles and freshmen Jessica Albright and McKinzie Tjaden met its goals of improving its time and position, taking 19th with a time of 1:51.91 after coming in ranked 21st at 1:53.00.
“Jessica Kolo wrapped up her career with one of her fastest splits to start off the relay, and we will miss her talent and leadership next season,” C-M coach Zach Tomas said. “Erin, Jessica and McKinzie also ran solid races. These three girls returning next season will be key part of the success we will have for the years to come.”
The Tigerhawk boys returned home with five medals from the six events they competed in. After senior Connor Hainer won the long jump on Thursday, he also finished eighth in the 200 and led off the 4x400 relay with fellow seniors Byron Johnson, Chad McLain and Jaden Van Dyke, which also finished eighth after breaking an 18-year-old school record in the prelims.
Van Dyke earned his second-straight medal in the 800 on Saturday morning before ending his high school career with another in the 4x400. Despite hitting the inside rail and being boxed in early in the race, Van Dyke was able to recover to earn the medal. He will continue his track career at the University of Northern Iowa next season.
“I’m glad I got to go to the Relays and to here, but I’m really disappointed with what happened today,” Van Dyke said. “I just kept my eye on the goal all year. Early on, the goal was to run at Drake, and once I got there it kept me fired up to keep pushing and keep working towards the state meet, but I’m still really unhappy with how everything turned out today.”
Friday was an eventful day for the Prairie City-Monroe track teams, as seniors Hunter Reed and Ethan Kain squared off in the 110 hurdles, junior Lexi Kain competed in multiple events and the Mustang relay teams wrapped up state competition for the school.
Competing in the same heat, Ethan Kain and Reed finished 18th and 20th, respectively. Reed then wrapped up his high school career with a 19th-place finish in the 400 hurdles with a time of 57.59. His state appearance was something of a symbolic victory, however, as he was able to reach the meet after coming close behind former teammate and state champ Jordan Van Roekel.
“This is one of the hardest races and I was so close to making it the past few years, so I’m just really glad I got to run it at state this year,” Reed said. “(Van Roekel) was the main reason I haven’t made it in the past since one of the fastest runners in the state was in front of me. But since he’s gone, I wanted to get here partly for him and partly to get out of his shadow.”
In the girls 4x100, the team of Emily Hugen, Kelsey Townsend, Mackenzie Clarke and Kain narrowly missed the finals, taking 11th with a time of 51.76. The 4x400 team of Ashley Van Gorp, Townsend, Alex Samson and Courtney Van Houweling placed 24th with a time of 4:28.36, while the CMB squad of Bridget Hurley, Kayla Hennick, Abbie Haupert and Anne Deutsch was 17th in 4:15.80. In the girls 400 hurdles, Kain recovered nicely after clipping an early hurdle to finish 17th with a time of 1:10.93.
In Friday’s field events, PCM junior Abbi Gilson finished 13th in the discus with a throw of 133-1, while CMB junior Abbie Haupert was 20th with a throw of 104 even. In the boys discus, Raider sophomore Clayton Weltha climbed his way up to 16th with a distance of 140-9, while Samson was 20th at 131-10.