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5 Gazette area storylines for Thursday’s Iowa high school state-qualifying track and field meets

Western Dubuque’s Quentin Nauman won the Drake Relays boys’ 800-meter run. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)
Western Dubuque’s Quentin Nauman won the Drake Relays boys’ 800-meter run. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette)

There are multiple methods to winning a state track and field championship.

You can stack relays. You can rely on a handful of elite individuals.

What you can’t do is blow it at the state-qualifying meet the week prior.

A false start, a dropped baton, three scratched preliminary jumps or throws. Stuff happens. The shuttle hurdle relay, for example, is a minefield of 44 potential pitfalls.

So at Thursday’s state-qualifying meets, it will be a mixture of aggression and caution. Try to get into the best heats and lanes. But by all means, advance.

Field events start at 4 p.m., with action starting on the track at 4:30.

Qualification to the state meet — May 16-18 at Drake Stadium, Des Moines — is as follows:

In Class 4A, the top two times/distances in each event automatically qualify from each site, plus 12 at-large qualifiers statewide.

In 3A and 2A, the top two times/distances in each event are automatic qualifiers, plus eight at-large qualifiers statewide.

In 1A, event champions are automatic qualifiers, in addition to 14 at-large qualifiers statewide.

Here are five important storylines to watch Thursday concerning area teams:

Relays (again) for Iowa City West? Or solo stars?

Iowa City West’s boys won four relays on their way to a Class 4A fifth-place state finish in 2023, and the Trojans return three stars from that team in Aidan Jacobsen, Izaiah Loveless and Moustafa Tiea.

Jacobsen was the boys’ Most Outstanding Performer of the Drake Relays after winning the 400-meter hurdles. The Trojans are ranked in the top three in four 4A relays.

West will co-headline the boys’ field at Iowa City High on Thursday, along with Cedar Rapids Prairie.

The Hawks have three 4A state leaders in T.Y. Pour (long jump), Quinton Alexander (110 hurdles) and Jackson Johannes (400) and also lead in the sprint medley relay.

Splitting up the area 3A girls’ titans

There appear to be about a dozen teams that will haggle for the three Class 3A girls’ state trophies, and five of them will be split into two area qualifiers.

Solon, the two-time defending state champion, will host a meet that also features River Valley Conference runner-up Maquoketa.

Mount Vernon knocked off Solon at the Wamac Conference meet, and will compete at the Manchester regional, along with Dubuque Wahlert and Western Dubuque.

And speaking of 3A contenders …

A week before the state meet, the 3A boys’ competition looks like a two-horse battle between Western Dubuque and Adel ADM.

The Bobcats own top-five 3A status in 10 events heading to their district at Manchester.

Sophomore distance star Quentin Nauman in the 3A leader in the 800- and 1,600-meter races; he won the 800 title at Drake.

Ashton Hogrefe is No. 1 in the 110-meter hurdles, and will anchor the Bobcats’ top-ranked shuttle hurdle relay.

Tipton girls: From zero to … who knows?

A year ago, Tipton’s girls didn’t score a point at the state meet, and Noelle Steines led Calamus-Wheatland to a 1A championship.

Steines transferred to Tipton late last fall, and — voila! — the Tigers are 2A state-title contenders.

Tipton won the River Valley Conference title last Friday, with Steines earning gold in the 400, 800, 1,500 and 3,000. If she goes the all-individual route again Thursday at the Tipton state-qualifier, she’ll be a prime contender in all four at state.

The Tigers also can piece together some relays, without Steines, that can score at state. And Addie Nerem is ranked No. 2 in 2A in the 400 hurdles.

Lisbon boys: Back to full throttle

True, Lisbon was upset at the Tri-Rivers Conference meet by Maquoketa Valley on Monday, but that does nothing to impact the Lions’ status as favorites to repeat in Class 1A.

Lisbon will make the 71-mile trip to Brooklyn, and will take three boys’ relays — 4×100, 4×200 and distance medley — that are ranked No. 1 in the small-school division.

Baylor Speidel is rated second in the 200, third in the 100.


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