EDDYVILLE — Prairie City-Monroe teammates Noah Anderson and Preston Van Wyk both suffered hamstring injuries in the same relay event about three weeks ago.
There was never a thought that either athlete would not be able to run again this season, but PCM boys track and field coach Collin Harrison wasn’t unsure how good his sprinting duo could be.
After Thursday’s Class 2A state qualifier at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont High School, Anderson and Van Wyk proved they are still two of the best in the state.
Anderson and Van Wyk finished 1-2 in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, and the duo helped the Mustangs set a new school record in the 4x200 relay.
In all the Mustangs punched six auto tickets into next week’s state meet.
Harrison feels confident at least one other event will clinch an at-large berth.
“Those two are connected at the hip, and it was good to see those two guys put on a show tonight,” Harrison said of Anderson and Van Wyk. “Noah is flat out fast. There is no other way to say it. Preston ran his best time ever in the 200, and his time was faster than what Noah ran last year when he placed fourth at state.”
The Mustangs finished third in the team standings. They were only behind meet champion Mid-Prairie and runner-up Pekin.
Anderson opened his night with a win in the 100. He grabbed the gold medal with a season-best time of 11.13 seconds. Van Wyk was the runner-up in 11.34.
“We both were able to bounce back from injuries. It was certainly good to have everyone back in the lineup,” Anderson said. This has been the goal all season. Preston is a work horse. He’s been right there beside me all year putting in lots of work. We push each other.
“Without him or Coach Harrison I wouldn’t be doing what I did tonight. They are great guys.”
The duo then combined to help the Mustangs to a win the 4x200 relay. Juniors Payton Strovers and Wes Cummings teamed up with Van Wyk and Anderson to run a school-record time of 1 minute, 31.57 seconds. That is now the third fastest recorded time in 2A.
“It’s been one of our best events all year,” Harrison said. “And it was a nice night with a healthy group of runners. We had someone to chase tonight, and Noah chased him. I am proud of those guys. It’ll put us in a good position to medal at state.”
Anderson and Van Wyk clinched their final state berths a few events later in the 200. Anderson finished first in a school-record time of 21.66 seconds, and Van Wyk was the runner-up in 22.48.
Anderson’s time of 21.66 is the fastest recorded time in the state this season in all classes.
“We worked hard over the weekend to get into shape,” Van Wyk said. “There was some nerves. But I knew that we had the chance to do this.
“It feels pretty good. This was one of the best district for sprinters so we showed that we can do some damage at state, too.”
The first auto qualifier on the night came from Strovers in the long jump. He finished second with a leap of 19 feet, 7 1/4 inches.
Freshman Beau Webb finished fourth in the 1,600, but Harrison believes his time of 4:45.26 will be good enough to clinch an at-large berth.
Junior Isaac Telfer was third in the shot put. His best throw was marked at 44-11. Sophomore Nigel Sperfslage was fourth in the 400 hurdles with a time of 57.98 seconds.
The Mustangs finished in the top five in three relays.
In the distance medley relay, PCM was fourth with a time of 3:48.43. The foursome in that one included junior Brayton Van Dyke, freshman Connor Bennett, senior Blake Lee and Webb.
The shuttle hurdle relay team also was fourth. The foursome of junior Nick Buswell, Sperfslage, junior Nick Dredge and junior Jarron Trausch finished in 1:04.01.
The 4x400 relay team was fifth overall. Cummings, Bennett, senior Noah Hirayama and Lee finished in 3:44.13.
The Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships kick off Thursday and run through next Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.