NEVADA - Athletes on both Nevada track teams took it up a notch at the Class 3A state qualifying meet in Alleman May 11 as the two Cub squads combined to qualify for state in 12 events.
The Nevada boys made state in seven events. The Cubs took second in three relays and advanced to Des Moines in four individual events.
Rodrigo Perez, Brendan Sellberg and Joven Nelson made state in the sprint medley, 4 X 200 and 4 X 100 relays for Nevada. Preston Cattanach ran in both the sprint medley and 4 X 100 and Jakob Strottman ran a leg in the 4 X 200.
“It just feels amazing,” Cattanach said. “We worked hard all year. It’s such a competitive district and having that good competition just pushes us harder.”
Nevada has had a strong sprint relay program for years. The Cubs showed great depth at the qualifying meet as Sellberg was the only one of the five individuals to run at state last season.
“This is my first year running track,” Perez said. “It just feels good to go to state for the first time in my high school career.”
In the sprint medley Nevada clocked in at one minute, 35.21 seconds to easily beat Boone’s third-place time of 1:37.12. Dallas Center-Grimes won in 1:34.81.
The Cub 4 X 200 team clocked in at 1:31.19 to come in behind DCG’s 1:30.39. Gilbert took third in 1:32.70.
Nevada ran the boys’ 4 X 100 in :43.93 to just edge Gilbert’s :43.97 for the final automatic state-qualifying spot. DCG again won in :42.94.
All three relays rated among the fastest qualifying teams in 3A. The 4 X 200 team enters stated rated third in 3A, the sprint medley team is fifth and the 4 X 100 team sixth.
Sellberg also made state individually in the 100. Sellberg placed fifth in a stacked field, but his time of :11.34 was good enough to qualify 17th overall.
Malachi Hornbuckle made state in two individual distance running events for Nevada.
Hornbuckle placed third in both the 3,200 and 1,600 with respective times of 10:05.78 and 4:37.31. He enters stated rated 10th in the 3,200 and 13th in the 1,600.
Junior Om’Unique Wilkerson made state for the first time in the high jump. Wilkerson automatically qualified after clearing the bar with a personal-record jump of six feet, three inches to finish second.
“I just wasn’t thinking about it — just let my instincts take over,” Wilkerson said. “I am pretty happy.”
Gilbert’s Eric Swart won the boys’ high jump at Alleman with a jump of 6-4. Wilkerson is rated ninth among 3A state qualifiers.
The Nevada boys placed fifth out of eight teams at Alleman with 65 points. DCG won with 161 and Gilbert came in second with 140.
On the girls’ side, Nevada returned to state in the 4 X 100. The Cub girls clocked in at :51.46 to beat out Boone’s :51.87 for second behind DCG’s :50.42.
“We accomplished our goal,” sophomore Emily Plate said.
Like the boys, the Cub girls only returned one runner from last year’s state 4 X 100 team — senior Jordan McKinney. Youngsters Caitlyn Sharp — a sophomore who was at state in the 4 X 200 last year as a freshman — Plate and freshman Samara Sharp filled in the other three spots and they each came up big at Alleman.
“They’re awesome,” McKinney said. “I’m so proud of them.”
Junior Lexy Koudelka made state in both the shot put and discus. Koudelka finished second at the qualifying meet in both events with respective throws of 36-2 and 114-1.
Webster City’s Cassidy Nerland won both events with throws of 38-10.5 and 116-9. Koudelka is rated 18th in the discus and 22nd in the shot among 3A qualifiers.
“Lexy is very excited to compete on Thursday and Friday,” Nevada head girls’ track coach Ted Johnson said. “She has been working hard this year to get down to state. I believe she will have her best throws this week.”
Kacie Rewerts also made it individually in the high jump. Rewerts cleared 5-0 to place fourth at Alleman and rank 20th among 3A qualifiers.
Freshman Avery Mather had the breakout performance of the day for Nevada. Mather qualified automatically in the 400 hurdles by placing second with a time of 1:11.35.
“Earlier this week I realized I had a chance at it — I just had to cut a second off (my time),” an emotional Mather said following her race. “The last 48 hours — that’s all I’ve been thinking about and I just got it.”
Hurdle races present a big mental challenge for young runners. But Mather overcame that with fierce determination.
“Take it one hurdle at a time and attack them,” Mather said. “I just wanted it so bad.”
Nevada placed sixth in the girls’ team standings at Alleman with 68 points. Gilbert won with 141.5 points and DCG was a close second with 137.5.
The state coed track meet takes place today through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The competition for 3A begins at 2 p.m. today and Friday and all classes start at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Gilbert 141.5 points, 2. DCG 137.5, 3. North Polk 99, 4. Boone 98, 5. Iowa Falls-Alden 81, 6. Nevada 68, 7. Webster City 58, 8. Ballard 44.
Boys: 1. DCG 161 points, 2. Gilbert 140, 3. Boone 106, 4. Iowa Falls-Alden 92, 5. Nevada 65, 6. Ballard 63, 7. Webster City 56.5, 8. North Polk 53.5.
Individual results - Nevada
Shot put - 2. Lexy Koudelka, 36-2; 13. Bailey Crain, 26-7.
Discus - 2. Koudelka 114-1; 5. Crain, 90-1.
Long jump - 12. Madeleine Humpal-Pash, 12-10.75.
High jump - 4. Kacie Rewerts, 5-0.
Sprint medley relay - 6. Nevada (Jordan McKinney, Samara Sharp, Emily Plate, Caitlyn Sharp), 2:00.12.
3,000-meter run - 11. Megan Gilchrist, 13:20.79; 12. Mady Farmer, 13:32.30.
4 X 800-meter relay - 4. Nevada (Kaylee Kruse, Ryanne Barker, Eliana Hornbuckle, Meredith Harter), 11:29.90.
100-meter dash - 13. Humpal-Pash, :14.54.
Distance medley relay - 5. Nevada (McKinney, Plate, C. Sharp, Rewerts), 4:35.06.
400-meter dash - 6. Madison Davis, 1:08.01; 7. Amelea Jones, 1:08.87.
4 X 200-meter relay - 8. Nevada (Rebecca Harwell, Sydney Handsaker, Farmer, Claira Miller), 2:02.23.
800-meter run - 10. Harter, 2:45.61; 11. Ryanne Barker, 2:50.14.
200-meter dash - 15. Lesly Abarca, :31.26; 16. Caitlyn Tibodeau, :32.33.
400-meter hurdles - 2. Mather, 1:11.35; 9. Jones, 1:17.51.
1,500-meter run - 3. Rewerts, 5:08.61; 12. Kruse, 5:47.11.
4 X 100-meter relay - 2. Nevada (McKinney, S. Sharp, C. Sharp, Plate), :51.46.
4 X 400-meter relay - 6. Nevada (Davis, Miller, Jones, Mather), 4:41.77.
Shot put - 9. Luke Merfeld, 42-7; 13. Bronzon Mason, 36-2.25.
Discus - 8. Merfeld, 117-3; 12. Ethan Wild, 104-10.
Long jump - 9. Robert Edwards, 17-6.25; 12. Lucas Rogers, 15-4.
High jump - 2. Om’Unique Wilkerson, 6-3.
Sprint medley relay - 2. Nevada (Rodrigo Perez, Preston Cattanach, Brendan Sellberg, Joven Nelson), 1:35.21.
3,200-meter run - 3. Malachi Hornbuckle, 10:05.78; 8. Dalton Baker, 11:08.72.
4 X 800-meter relay - 6. Nevada (Jacob Sanders, Connor Kline, Connor Hines, Carter Franzen), 9:28.41.
Shuttle hurdle relay - 7. Nevada (Wilkerson, Ross Mitchell, Jakob Strottman, Merfeld), 1:04.27.
100-meter dash - 5. Sellberg, :11.34; 9. Cattanach, :11.71.
Distance medley relay - 3. Nevada (Wilkerson, Ricky Pizano, Daniel Kellen, Franzen), 3:59.76.
400-meter dash - 9. Rogers, :57.83; 14. Kline, 1:00.73.
4 X 200-meter relay - 2. Nevada (Perez, Strottman, Nelson, Sellberg), 1:31.19.
800-meter run - 11. Sanderson, 2:15.37; 15. Drew Barker, 2:21.85.
200-meter dash - 11. Edwards, :24.36; 14. Zac Sharp, :28.22.
1,600-meter run - 3. Hornbuckle, 4:37.31; 8. Baker, 11:08.72.
4 X 100-meter relay - 2. Nevada (Sellberg, Cattanach, Perez, Nelson), :43.93.
4 X 400-meter relay - 5. Nevada (Wilkerson, Strottman, Perez, Nelson), 9:28.41.