DES MOINES - Devastating injuries weren’t about to get the Nevada boys’ track team down at the state coed track meet last Thursday through Saturday in Des Moines.
The Cubs had to run without two of their top sprinters after Rodrigo Perez and Brendan Sellberg both suffered season-ending soccer injuries the previous week. Perez tore his meniscus against Gilbert the day after the state qualifying track meet and Sellberg suffered a broken leg against Adel-Desoto-Minburn just two days prior to the state meet.
Without two top runners, the Cub sprint medley, 4 X 200 and 4 X 100-meter relays suffered. But Nevada still got one team to place, as well as valuable experience for young runners Robert Edwards, Om’Unique Wilkerson, Ricky Pizano and Jakob Strottman.
“We were so sorry not to have Brendan or Rodrigo able to compete,” Nevada head boys’ track coach John Pelzer said. “Brendan was a four-event qualifier, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment. Rodrigo was a three-event qualifier in his first year out for track and field. We would have earned two more medals and scored several more state meet points with Brendan and Rodrigo; however, I don’t want to slight the efforts of everyone who stepped up in their absence. It was a great three days for Nevada boys’ track and field. The future looks very bright — all nine qualifiers are underclassmen!”
Even the absence of Sellberg and Perez couldn’t prevent Nevada from placing in the 3A boys’ sprint medley relay on Saturday. Edwards and Strottman ran outstanding legs filling in for their missing teammates as they joined up with Preston Cattanach and Joven Nelson to finish fifth in one minute, 36.30 seconds.
“We had to deal with a lot of adversity with Brendan and Rodrigo not being able to run, but Jakob and Robert really stepped up,” Cattanach said. “I’m very happy with how we ran. It was a great year and running at state made it so much better.”
On Friday, Strottman and Nelson joined up with Wilkerson and Pizano to place 14th in the 4 X 200 with a time of 1:33.13. Later that day Edwards, Cattanach, Strottman and Nelson took 13th in the 4 X 100 prelims after clocking in at :44.63.
Wilkerson gave Nevada a great start at state.
Wilkerson placed seventh in the 3A boys’ high jump on Thursday after clearing the bar at six feet, two inches. But the athletic junior wasn’t satisfied, as he had jumped 6-3 at the qualifying meet.
“It was pretty nice, but I’m still frustrated,” Wilkerson said. “I could’ve done better. I had to arch my back more and gain a little speed when I got up there. Next year.”
Malachi Hornbuckle ran personal-record times in both the 3,200 on Thursday and 1,600 on Saturday for Nevada.
Hornbuckle just missed placing in the 3,200 as he came in ninth with a school-record 9:53.58 showing. Hornbuckle took 20th in the 1,600 after crossing the finish line in 4:37.14.
“Malachi was on his game at state,” Pelzer said.
Sellberg was also scheduled to compete in the 100 on Thursday before suffering his injury.
As a team, the Nevada boys scored 4.75 points to place 30th in 3A. Marion won with 69 points and Mount Vernon came in second with a score of 58.
In the 3A girls competition Nevada’s Lexy Koudelka came in 14th in the discus and 22nd in the shot put. Avery Mather also added a 23rd-place time in the 400 hurdles and the Cub girls’ 4 X 100 team took 18th during Friday’s prelims.
Freshman Kacie Rewerts also competed in the high jump, but she was unable to clear the opening height of 4-10.
“All the girls that competed did a great job,” Nevada head girls’ track coach Ted Johnson said. “We were really close in our best times, jumps and throws for the season. All the girls that did their very best, and I couldn’t be more proud of their work they put in this season.”
Koudelka’s best throw in the discus was 113-3. Her top performance in the shot put was 33-10.
Mather moved up one spot from her qualifying place after completing the race in 1:12.84. In the 4 X 100, the sister combo of Samara and Caitlyn Sharp joined up with sophomore Emily Plate and senior Jordan McKinney to produce a time of :51.99.
“It was hard to see Jordan run her last (race) of the season,” Johnson said. “She really put in a lot of extra time this year to improve and give her best in her senior season. She will be missed, and I wish her the best in the future.”
Davenport Assumption won the 3A girls’ team championship with 93 points. Pella came in second with a score of 77.
Individual Class 3A results - Nevada
Shot put - 22. Lexy Koudelka, 33-10.
Discus - 14. Koudleka, 113-3.
400-meter hurdles - 23. Avery Mather, 1:12.84.
4 X 100-meter relay (prelims) - 18. Nevada (Jordan McKinney, Samara Sharp, Caitlyn Sharp, Emily Plate), :51.99.
High jump - 7. Om’Unique Wilkerson, 6-2.
Sprint medley relay - 5. Nevada (Robert Edwards, Preston Cattanach, Jakob Strottman, Joven Nelson), 1:36.30.
3,200-meter run - 9. Malachi Hornbuckle, 9:53.58.
4 X 200-meter relay - 14. Nevada (Wilkerson, Strottman, Nelson, Ricky Pizano), 1:33.13.
1,600-meter run - 20. Hornbuckle, 4:37.14.
4 X 100-meter relay (prelims) - 13. Nevada (Edwards, Cattanach, Strottman, Nelson), :44.63.