GILBERT - Sprinting events held strong for the Nevada boys, and the Cub girls pushed four events through to state at the Class 3A state qualifying coed track meet Friday in Gilbert.
The Nevada boys won the sprint medley, 4 X 200 and 4 X 100-meter relays and also made state in five individual events.
“I continue to be impressed with the competitive nature of our athletes,” Nevada head boys’ track coach John Pelzer said. “We are looking forward to three great days at the blue oval!”
The 4 X 100 team capped off a tremendous evening for Nevada by running an outstanding time of 43.75 seconds. Caeden DaSilva, Dylan Jensen, Jakob Strottman and Joven Nelson won the race by nearly a full second over Bondurant-Farrar’s runner-up time of :44.70.
Last year a dropped baton cost Nevada a trip to state in the event. This year, the Cubs were determined to get their handoffs down pat to complete the trifecta of sprint relay victories.
“It feels amazing,” Nelson said. “We just work on our handoffs every day in practice because handoffs are so important — those little milliseconds in there, it all makes a difference.”
The sprint medley got the Nevada boys off to a great start. The same four runners who ran the 4 X 100 turned in a time of 1:34.40 in the sprint medley to easily beat Pella’s runner-up time of 1:37.48.
“The sprint med is always the first race and I’m always so nervous for it,” Nelson said. “I normally throw up afterwards. Once I get that out of the way, I’m ready for the rest of the meet, and obviously winning it feels pretty good.”
Nevada prevailed despite not running its qualifying group in the event for most of the season.
“I think this is my third time running it all season,” Nelson said. “I just trust my teammates. I trust that we can hit those batons and get going.”
The Cubs also made a mockery of the rest of the field in the 4 X 200. Nelson, Strottman and DaSilva teamed with Sam Abraham to run a 1:30.64, beating Bondurant-Farrar by nearly four seconds for the gold and setting them up with an opportunity to defend last year’s state title in the event.
“We hit all our sticks and we flowed smoothly,” Nelson said. “It feels really good.”
An individual victory in the 400 hurdles gave Nelson a perfect 4-for-4 in gold medals on the evening.
“I just worked hard for it and I’ve got my teammates on the sidelines cheering me on,” Nelson said. “I know that no matter what — they’re there to support me.”
Strottman also qualified individually in the 100 with a time of :11.53 that put him in second place. North Polk’s J.D. Elefson won in :11.39.
“It’s a really good feeling,” Strottman said. “It shows that hard work pays off.”
Strottman’s performance is even more impressive considering he suffered an ACL injury during football season.
“I just really wanted to come back for track,” Strottman said. “After that, it’s all icing on the cake really.”
Jensen just missed state in the 100 with a fourth-place time of :11.75.
DaSilva punched his ticket to state in the 200 by running a :23.20. He placed second to Elefson, who finished in :22.73.
Abraham won the boys’ long jump for Nevada with a jump of 20 feet, seven inches. He edged Bondurant-Farrar’s Kaeden Lozano by one inch for the gold, and he will be returning to state after placing eighth in 3A last year.
“It feels great,” Abraham said. “Going to state last year was a blessing in my first year out for track. We’re going to work really hard next week — really get our steps down and work on form. Hopefully we do pretty good at state.”
Carter Franzen qualified in the open 400 for the Cub boys with a runner-up time of :52.83. Elefson won in :51.66.
The Nevada girls had one automatic state qualifier. They made state in three events based on time and distance.
“We were in a pretty tough district, but that also made us run faster and throw farther,” Nevada head girls’ track coach Ted Johnson said. “The girls knew every 100th of a second counted and we fought hard for each one. I’m proud of all the girls that competed this year; it was fun to watch them progress and succeed in their events.”
Kacie Rewerts was the automatic qualifier for the Cub girls in the 1,500.
After qualifying for the Drake Relays in the 3,000, Rewerts struggled down the final stretch of the regular season. Rewerts found out she had anemia during this time, and after treating the issue and getting some rest, she took a big step forward at the qualifying meet.
“After conference I found out I was anemic and didn’t have any iron stored,” Rewerts said. “So we’ve just kind of been nursing it. I’ve been taking supplements, eating good and just resting up for this night, because my goal was obviously to qualify for state.”
Rewerts finished the race in 5:04.22. She finished just behind the winning time of 5:03.98 by Newton’s Rachel Rhoads.
“Probably one of my harder 15’s,” Rewerts said. “My strategy going into it was just to stick with the Newton girl — her seed time was just one second faster than my time. I wasn’t feeling the best the whole night actually, but it turned out to be great so I’m super-excited.”
Addi Vorm qualified on distance in the discus. She threw 106-6 at Gilbert to place third behind Bondurant-Farrar’s Katelyn Lappe (112-5) and Pella’s Elly Cairney (110-2).
The Cub girls are also sending their distance medley and 4 X 100 relay teams to state.
Rewerts was joined by Caitlyn Sharp, Sydney Mosinski and Hannah Thomsen, placing third in the distance medley at Gilbert with a time of 4:24.54. Pella won in 4:14.37 and Newton took second in 4:19.75.
Sharp and Thomsen teamed with Samara Sharp and Emily to win a bronze medal in the 4 X 100 with a :52.06 showing. Pella and Bondurant-Farrar ran outstanding :49.54 and :50.40 times as the first two teams to cross the finish line at the qualifying meet.
In the final team standings, the Nevada boys took third with 119.5 points and the girls placed fourth with 78. Pella dominated the team competition, with the Little Dutch girls scoring 203 points and the boys putting up 175.
The 2019 state coed track meet takes place today through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. The 3A competition begins at 9 a.m. today and Friday, and all classes start at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Final team scores
Girls: 1. Pella 203 points, 2. Gilbert 122, 3. Bondurant-Farrar 117, 4. Nevada 78, 5. Ballard 67, 6. North Polk 65, 7. Newton 52, 8. Saydel 26.
Boys: 1. Pella 175, 2. North Polk 146, 3. Nevada 119.5, 4. Gilbert 98.5 5. Bondurant-Farrar 78, 6. Newton 68, 7. Ballard 28, 8. Saydel 23.