April 24, 2024

Cardinals ready for big stage on blue oval

Newton boys track team seeks trophy finish at state meet

At the end of last year’s state track and field meet, it felt like the Newton boys had a sour taste in their mouth. And some unfinished business for next season.

Well, that season is now and the Newton Cardinal boys track and field team is ready make a push for a state title this week inside Drake Stadium.

“Our big goal would be to be state champions,” Newton senior Treycen Garton said. “That’s lofty, but we should be in position to give it a run. We should definitely all have a goal to be top three. We want to come home with a trophy.”

If a team finishes top three in any class, they do take home a trophy. And this year, the class of Class 3A is in the Little Hawkeye Conference. One of Newton, Pella or Dallas Center-Grimes could very well be crowned champions on Saturday. Clear Creek-Amana also feels like they are in the mix.

Breaking down the Cardinals, one could say quite a few things have to happen for them to win it all. There will be some key spots though.

Nate Maki comes into the meet with high expectations for himself. If he can indeed place in the top three in both the 100- and 200-meter dash, that would be pretty big for the end goals of the Cardinals.

Keith Moko is a wildcard of sorts. He’s new to track and field but showed on Thursday how valuable he is and can be to a team.

If he jumps 21-10 in the long jump again, he will give his team lots of points. And most of us feel like he’ll jump at least 6-3 in the high jump.

While Moko and Maki scoring points in both of their individual events would be huge, no one is more important on the team than Jackson Mace-Maynard. He will score at least 26 points in his individual events. I am not sure he can get Dallas Center-Grimes’ Aidan Ramsey in the 3,200-meter run, but Mace-Maynard might be favored in the 800 and he showed at the Drake Relays that the 1,600 is there for him to take, too.

The Cardinals are strong in relays, too. Expect the 4x400, 4x800 and distance medley relays to all be in the mix for top-five finishes. Mace-Maynard will anchor the distance medley relay. He chose that one over the 4x800 because it stands alone on Friday of the state track meet. That’s the only event he is needed for on that day.

“The 4x800 can be top three without me,” Mace-Maynard said. “And we have a legit shot to win the distance medley with me on the anchor. We are just trying to score as many points as possible.”

They’ll need all the points they can get. Pella has someone in every single event at the state meet.

In my opinion, there is no question Pella is deeper than any other team in Iowa. But I am not 100 percent sure even half of those qualifiers are good enough to score points that will go toward the team score.

Newton might just be better at the top and guys like Mace-Maynard, Garton, Derek Beiner, Maki and Moko are all seniors trying to leave a lasting legacy on the program.

“I think we have a better chance of winning state than we had at conference because Pella’s depth is definitely better,” Beiner said. “But we might fare better in our events at state. It should be fun.”

Maki gave up football this year to focus on track and field. He didn’t regret the decision and now is out to prove he should be regarded as one of the top sprinters in the state.

“I think I can be top three in both the 100 and 200 and I really feel like we have a shot to win the thing in the distance medley relay,” said Maki, who is in four events this weekend. “It will be busy, but it will be a fun weekend.”