June 20, 2021

The year before THE year

The 2021 Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships could be seen as a warm-up for what’s to come for the Newton track and field teams.

The Cardinal boys made noise in several distance events at Drake Stadium, led by junior Jackson Mace-Maynard. And the girls team has plenty of returners who could breakout into point scorers next season.

Every single Newton male athlete who scored points at the state track meet is back next season. And that doesn’t include junior Nate Maki, who should be one of the top sprinters in Class 3A next season.

Junior Keith Moko, who did not compete in the state meet, also could be one of the top high jumpers in 3A next spring.

The 2021 season could be viewed as the year before THE year for Newton.

“That’s how I feel about the program and how I feel about my individual races,” Mace-Maynard said. “I think this is the year I broke out and have solidified myself as a contender. Next year, I want to be the favorite in every one of these events.”

Mace-Maynard was fourth in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at state. He also anchored the 4x800 relay to fourth and anchored the distance medley relay to fifth.

Both of those relays and the 4x400 relay which also qualified for the state meet brings back all four runners from each team. The 4x400 relay placed 16th.

Mace-Maynard led the way for the boys but the team is much more than just one guy.

“We had a strong team this year and we will keep getting better in the offseason,” junior Treycen Garton said. “We are going to be working hard this offseason because we know we can be a state champion team.”

Garton was part of three relays at state. He opened the 4x800, ran the 400 leg of the distance medley relay and anchored the 4x400 team.

Derek Beiner also will be a key runner to next year’s squad. He was part of the 4x800 relay team that medaled at both the Drake Relays and state meet. He also ran on the 4x400 relay team at this year’s state meet.

“We are building. This state meet is pretty much our practice to set goals for next year,” Beiner said. “We’re excited. We’ll be back.”

Newton’s boys were oh so close to placing in the top 10 of 3A this spring. But with so many faces back and other programs losing key seniors, there’s a good chance the Cardinals could be one of the favorites next spring.

Mace-Maynard is 7 seconds off the school record in the 3,200. The 4x800 relay is just 4 seconds off the record and the distance medley relay is even closer at 1.5 seconds away.

The boys’ team isn’t the only one who has something to look forward to.

Sophomore Addy Terpstra and junior Alyssa Shannon lead the girls track team. They both finished in the top 12 of their individual events at state.

Terpstra was part of a relay team that featured two freshmen and two sophomores, too. The shuttle hurdle relay team of Alyssa Beerends, JaQuay Priest, Chloe Rorabaugh and Terpstra finished 12th overall.

Shannon anchored the 4x800 relay team which included two runners who also could be back in sophomore Kate Muckler and junior Grace Benson. That relay placed 16th.

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the 2022 Newton track and field teams.

“We had a bunch of top five finishes and all the other teams have seniors that they’ll lose,” Newton freshman Cody Klein said. “This year was awesome, but next year is our year.”

Klein ran on the 4x800, 4x400 and distance medley relays. Junior Brennan Amos was on the 4x400 team, too, and helped Newton qualify for state in the 4x800 relay. Amos will have surgery soon but then turns his attention to his senior year.

“This year we pushed ourselves as hard as we could and just got better and better,” Amos said.

Shannon not only placed in the top 12 of the 800 and 1,500 but she also broke time barriers in both events, finishing the 800 in under 2:20 and completing the 1,500 in less than 5 minutes.

Hurdles in general are a strong event right now in Newton. Both shuttle hurdle relay teams qualified for state. The boys team had three underclassmen in Reese Hammons, Brody Bauer and Cole Swank.

Newton could be chasing some familiar programs next season. Pella won the state title this spring and ADM was next. Dallas Center-Grimes also brings back a top distance runner next season and the Mustangs were third in the team race this spring.

The Cardinal boys were 15th in the team standings after scoring 19 points. It’s safe to say, both programs will be on the board next year at state.

It’s still very early in the process. But the only question left to answer is how high can Newton get.

Contact Troy Hyde at thyde@shawmedia.com