DES MOINES - The 2019 state coed track meet provided a great sendoff for Nevada seniors Joven Nelson and Jakob Strottman.
Nelson and Strottman helped Nevada medal in three relays and Nelson brought home the first individual state championship of his career. Their efforts enabled the Cub boys to set two school records and end up 10th as a team in Class 3A over the three-day competition last Thursday through Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
On Friday, Nelson provided the big highlight of the meet for Nevada by winning the 3A boys’ 400-meter low hurdles. Despite running in rainy conditions, Nelson completed the race in a career-best time of 52.02 seconds, which not only set the school record, but ranks as the ninth-fastest time in the history of the state.
“I was feeling pretty good and the weather started getting a little nicer,” Nelson said. “I just knew that if I ran hard and attacked, I could bring it home.”
At the start of the race, Nelson was running even with Webster City’s Garrett Whitmore. But after a couple hurdles, he started distancing himself from the rest of the field.
“My goal is to always try and catch the dude in front of me,” Nelson said. “By the second hurdle, I was neck-and-neck with him. I knew if I just kept that pace I could keep my lead up.”
By the end of the race, Nelson had blown out the rest of the field in the fast heat. He defeated Boone’s Bret Price by 1.19 seconds for first and outpaced Whitmore by 2.15 seconds.
“I just wanted to leave it all on the track,” Nelson said. “It feels good to be bringing it home in the 4 lows.”
Earlier on Friday, Nelson and Strottman helped Nevada get third in the 4 X 200. Sam Abraham and Caeden DaSilva ran the other two legs.
Nevada completed the race in a season-best time of 1:30.64 to just beat out the 1:30.86 effort from Sergeant Bluff-Luton for the bronze medal. Dubuque Wahlert won in 1:29.09 and Marion took second in 1:29.84.
Even though they didn’t repeat as state champions in the event, the Cubs will take a top-three finish.
“Just being at state and the environment is really cool,” Abraham said. “It’s just great to be able to run.”
On Saturday, Nevada came in fourth in the sprint medley and sixth in the 4 X 100.
The Cub sprint medley team of Nelson, Strottman, DaSilva and Dylan Jensen ran a school-record time of 1:33.59. The three teams that finished ahead of them, Sergeant Bluff-Luton (1:31.77), Dubuque Wahlert (1:31.97) and Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley (1:33.07) all broke the previous 3A record in the event.
“It’s pretty tough to get top three,” DaSilva said.”Getting fourth is good.”
An amazing final 400 by Nelson put helped the Cubs beat Marion (1:34.21) and put them in position to challenge Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley’s third-place time before falling just short.
“I knew that other people would be bringing it hard, so I just knew I had to come out hard and get out to that cutoff line as soon as I could,” Nelson said of his anchor leg. “It always feels good to come from behind and kick at the end. That’s the last sprint med I’ll ever be able to run in high school, so I just had to leave it all on the track.”
The same four runners that ran the sprint medley competed in the 4 X 100 for Nevada.
The Cubs had an off race in the prelims on Friday, but still qualified seventh with a time of :44.06. In the finals on Saturday, Nevada cut its time down to :43.94 and moved up to sixth place.
Winning four medals at state was the perfect capper to Nelson’s outstanding career.
“It just feels amazing,” Nelson said. “It’s a lot of hard work and dedication I have put in.”
Nelson totaled seven medals over three years running at state and was part of two state championship events.
Strottman and Nelson were both part of last year’s 4 X 200 championship team. During football season, Strottman tore his ACL, but after just five months he was on the track and winning three medals at state.
“It was awesome just to come back after my ACL tear,” Strottman said. “I just really wanted to come back out for track. This last race (the 4 X 100) I wanted to give it my all — it’s my last race, so I’ve got to put it all on the line for my teammates.”
Strottman also ran in the 100 prelims on Thursday, placing 19th in :11.58.
Nelson and Strottman are the latest in a long line of excellent sprinters to graduate from Nevada under the tutelage of head coach John Pelzer.
“I’m so glad I got to run with Joven and Jacob,” Jensen said. “They did everything for the team and did their best. That’s all I can ask for.”
Jensen and DaSilva will be continuing the tradition into the future. DaSilva ran in the 200 prelims on Thursday, finishing 19th in :23.42.
Abraham also left his mark at Nevada.
Abraham competed in Friday’s boys’ long jump and took 14th with a jump of 19 feet, 9.5 inches. He came in eighth in last year’s long jump.
Nevada’s Carter Franzen ran on the blue oval for the first time Thursday. He came in 16th in the 3A boys’ 400 with a time of :52.83, tying his best effort of the season.
As a team, the Nevada boys scored 24 points. Sergeant Bluff-Luton won the 3A boys’ team title with 86 points.
“I’m extremely proud of all eight boys,” Nevada head boys’ track coach John Pelzer said. “Andrew Saunders and Theo Skelton (alternate relay runners) played a big part in our success. They provided a state-like feel to our practices leading up to and during the state meet. What a great group to coach!”
The Nevada girls competed in four events at state.
The Cub girls’ distance medley team placed 15th in 3A, Addi Vorm took 18th in the shot put and Kacie Rewerts came in 21st during the 1,500. The Cub 4 X 100 team of Samara Sharp, Caitlyn Sharp, Emily Plate and Hannah Thomsen also competed, but caught an unfortunate break and were DQ’d.
“The girls worked hard throughout the season and even though the state times weren’t a personal best, they gave 100 percent effort and did a great job,” Nevada head girls’ track coach Ted Johnson said. “I’m looking forward to next year already and improving from there.”
Sydney Mosinski joined up with Caitlyn Sharp, Thomsen and Rewerts to run a 4:25.79 in the distance medley. Bishop Heelan won the 3A title in the event with a 4:04.86 showing.
Vorm’s top throw on the shot was 34-3.25. Mount Pleasant’s Lexie Magnani took first in the competition with a throw of 42-5.25.
Rewerts entered state still recovering from anemia. She fought through it to run a time of 5:11.09.
Glenwood edged Dubuque Wahlert for the 3A girls’ team championship, 65 to 64.5 points.
Class 3A Individual results - Nevada
Long jump - 14. Sam Abraham, 19-9.25.
Sprint medley relay - 4. Nevada (Caeden DaSilva, Dylan Jensen, Jakob Strottman, Joven Nelson), 1:33.59.
100-meter dash - 19. Strottman, :11.58.
400-meter dash - 16. Carter Franzen, :52.83.
4 X 200-meter relay - 3. Nevada (DaSilva, Abraham, Strottman, Nelson), 1:30.64.
200-meter dash - 19. DaSilva, :23.42.
400-meter low hurdles - 1. Nelson, :52.02.
4 X 100-meter relay - 6. Nevada (DaSilva, Jensen, Strottman, Nelson), :43.94.
Shot put - 18. Addi Vorm, 34-3.25.
Distance medley - 15. Nevada (Sydney Mosinski, Caitlyn Sharp, Hannah Thomsen, Kacie Rewerts), 4:25.79.
1,500-meter run - 21. Rewerts, 5:11.09.
4 X 100-meter relay - Nevada (Samara Sharp, C. Sharp, Emily Plate, Thomsen), DQ.