DES MOINES — Medals were earned, personal and school records broken and spots in a series of event finals Saturday dotted the results sheets for the Perry, Woodward-Granger and Woodward Academy tracksters on a sunny Friday at the state track meet.
The Perry boys ran in a pair of relays, beginning with the 1600 medley, in which Nic Wilhelmi, Reece Dunlap, Scott James and Keegan Pfau placed sixth in 3 minutes, 39.07 seconds.
Senior Wilhelmi ran the opening 200 meters, giving the baton to freshman Dunlap for the second 200-meter leg. Seniors James and Pfau then ran the 400 and 800-meter legs, respectively, with the foursome dropping over a second off their previous best effort this season.
“Our handoffs were good, particularly Nic to Reece and then Reece to Scott,” Bluejay head coach Ben Coy said. “Scott had a nice 400 and then Keegan ran a 1:58 split, his best split ever in this relay. It was a great effort by all of them.”
“This was my first time to run here and I really wanted a medal,” Wilhelmi said. “Coach has faith in me to be explosive out of the blocks and I just wanted to make sure I put up a good time and gave Reece a good handoff.”
James, who had earned a medal Thursday after tying for seventh in the high jump, said that he was more nervous than he thought he would be considering he had already placed in an event.
“I admit I was a little nervous, but once the race started I was OK,” he said. “It is great share this with the other guys.”
Pfau echoed those sentiments, saying “It almost means more that you are going to share this with your teammates.”
Pfau received the baton with Perry just barely just a few feet from sixth place in their heat. He ran a blistering first lap to move briefly into second before finishing third. Algona won the race in 3:29.44.
“I wanted to get out fast and pass some people and try to put a little distance on them because I knew I would not be as fast at the end,” Pfau said. “It worked out just about like I had hoped.”
Dunlap said running with three seniors had been a valuable experience.
“They taught me a lot and made sure I did not get too nervous,” he said. “I hope I will have the chance to come down here for the next three years, too.”
Marcus Meri, Adan Medina, James and Pfau ran the 4×400 for the Jays, finishing in 19th place with a 3:32.79 in the final race of the morning session.
A pair of school records fell for the Woodward-Granger track team, with new marks established in both the boys and girls 400 hurdles.
Senior Kaleb Noel had placed fourth last season in the event when W-G competed as a Class 1A school, but finished just .06 seconds out of a medal by posting the ninth-best time as a 2A athlete this year. Not that Noel was particularly upset.
“It is a lot harder in 2A and I would have liked to medal, but a new school record and my best time ever? I will take that,” he smiled, referencing his 55.7 second clocking. “For me it was all about my time and not what place it got and I could not be happier with how I ran.”
Noel won the his heat, the first of three in a timed final. He did so from lane 7, never and easy task.
“I could not see the guys inside of me but I knew they were coming,” he said. “When I got to the final 100 meters or so I realized I was out front and there was no way I was letting someone get me in the stretch.”
Jacob Smith of West Burlington Notre Dame won the race in 52.64.
Senior Abby Musser added to her illustrious collection of state medals by placing third in the girls 400 hurdles in a new school record of 1:05.44. Allenah Marcucci of Northeast/Goose Lake won in 1:03.99, with Hannah Wagner of Central Springs second in 1:05.26 as all eight places came from the third heat.
“Third doesn’t matter,” Musser said. “What I am so happy about is my time. It is much better than my old best and I am loving having the school record, too. I have ran a lot of races here, so I was not nervous — I just wanted to give my best and I did.”
Musser will race in the 100 meter finals as the sixth seed Saturday after qualifying with a 15.57 clocking earlier Friday. She already owns two first place relay medals, four second-place relay medals, a third-place relay medal and now consecutive third-place medals in the 400 hurdles. Along the way she has also placed sixth in the 100 hurdles (2014), ninth in the 100 and 16th in a relay.
The W-G boys also competed in the 1600 medley, placing 16th in 3:41.94. Chandler Cavanaugh and Tanner Vermaas ran the two opening 200-meter legs, with Cole Ashman taking the stick for 400 meters and Johnnie Morgan for 800.
The 2A win went to Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central with a posting of 3:30.04.
The Woodward Academy 4×100 unit of Asani Abdullah, Terence Lewis, Antoine Scoggins and Rashawn Porter earned a spot in Saturday’s finals with a fourth-best clocking of 44.05.
West Burlington Notre Dame secure the top seed after running an all-class state meet record of 42.44.
The Knights also ran in the 4×200, placing 14th in 1:32.96. Porter, Scoggins and Lewis were joined by Jerome Matthew on the relay, with WBND winning in another state meet record, this time in 1:27.51.
Also competing for the Academy was Ankoma Riddick in the discus. His spin of 137 feet, 3 inches secured 21st place, with Mt. Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs winning at 167’3.
Check in Saturday for updates and stories from the final day of action at the state meet.
Photos by Jeff Webster.