The MVC Mississippi divisional girls track and field meet was mercifully postponed Thursday and moved to Monday with
70-degree temperatures instead of rain, wind and 30-something temps. But the results on the track were altered as a result.
The West High girls won the meet convincingly, their 11th consecutive conference championship, and that result might
well have been the same. Kennedy was second and City High third.
“It’s awesome. I’ve been looking forward to this. It’s just great to end my senior year like
this,” West’s Molly Leveille said. “But it’s not over. We prepared our best for it. We trust in coach.
He knows what he’s doing. He made the right decisions, putting people where they’d do their best tonight.”
The postponement pushed the meet to within three days of the state-qualifying meet, and several coaches changed their
lineups because of the importance of Thursday’s competition. That made for some unusual contestants in some races.
“We changed our lineup pretty much completely from what we planned last Thursday, but it all worked out well,”
City High co-coach Tom Mittman said. “We were able to check out some things that we can use at districts.”
For example, West had the meet won by the time the 1,500 rolled around and pulled both of its runners (seeded first
and third) from the race. City did not run Drake Relays 400-hurdle champ Sarah Plock in that event but instead inserted senior
Erin Danielson, who finished second and would have caught the winner if she had about five more meters to run.
“We made some changes to do some things a little bit different, but this is the Mississippi Valley Conference
championship,” West coach Mike Parker said. “We always want to win conference. But once we knew we were in a great
position, we were able to have all our 400-on-up people just do one event. Things just went perfect for us.”
One thing that didn’t change was the excellence of West senior sprinter McKennan Cronbaugh, who was named the
division’s track athlete of the year for the second year in a row after winning four events. Cronbaugh won the long
jump, the 100, 200 and anchored the 4x100. She and Kiana Wilson were 1-2 in the 100, and Wilson was fourth in the 200 and
on the winning 4x100.
“I had a really good start I thought, and I just kept my stride,” Cronbaugh said of the 100. “So it
was a really good race. The weather was perfect.”
“I tried to react to her,” Wilson said. “I try to stay up with her. It keeps me going.”
Cronbaugh had the lead in the 200 out of the curve.
“Coach tells us to get out fast on the curve because like my sophomore year I would always do it tentative because
I thought I would like die at the end if I ran too fast,” she said. “If you go out fast on the curve and then
just keep your speed then nobody will be able to catch you.”
Cronbaugh and Wilson acknowledged it was strange to have the conference meet so close to the state-qualifier, but for
sprinters, it really doesn’t change things that much.
“We’ll adjust our practices, and we’ll be plenty rested and good,” Cronbaugh said.
Leveille won the 800 in a season-best time of 2:22.37. She got a challenge from Kennedy’s Alyssa Averhoff, but
Leveille seemed to push on in the final 300 and brush off her pursuers.
“I was pretty in the zone, so I was just going all out,” Leveille said. “I tried to be consistent
this year with both laps. I usually try to get out a little faster just to make sure I have a good position and then do my
best on the last lap.”
West’s Ashlynn Yokom led start to finish to win the 3,000 meters over Averhoff. She was pulled from the 1,500,
as was Pombie Silverman, who anchored the winning distance medley. West’s Tia Saunders won the 400.
Overall, West placed in the top three in 14 of 19 events. West had two in the top three in two of those events.
City was led by its field events group. Abby Saehler won the high jump, and Aliyah Gustafson swept the throws with her
two best tosses of the season. She and Amara Lehman were 1-2 in the shot put with Gustafson throwing 41 feet, 6 inches. She
threw 129-1 in the discus.
“Our field event people competed very well up and down the line,” Mittman said. “We’re looking
for big things out of our field-event people at district and state, and I see no reason not to. They’re coming around
at the right time, gaining confidence.”
“The warm weather definitely helped,” Gustafson said. “The season has been awful, cold and rainy.
I’ve been working harder in the weight room, too.”
She said her performances at the Drake Relays was a “wakeup call.”
“After Drake, it’s conference, district, state; it’s all serious,” she said. “You have
to be at your best, and I didn’t perform as well as I wanted to at Drake, so I think that just really pushed me to work
harder. I do feel more confident. I think things are finally coming together.”
Plock and Claire Crew were second and third in the 200 and Danielson and Maddie Deprenger were second and third in the
“We held (Plock and Crew) back considerably tonight because they are going to be very busy girls come Thursday,”
Mittman said. “We had the best 4x8 of the year. We saw kids that are showing promise to become varsity-level runners
in events that maybe they weren’t thinking about in the past.”
City placed in the top three in 10 of the 19 events.
MVC Mississippi Division
Team results: 1. West High 159, 2. C.R. Kennedy 128.5, 3. City High 122, 4. C.R. Jefferson 84, 5. Dubuque Senior 60,
6. Dubuque Hempstead 24.5, 7. Waterloo East 10.
4x100—1. West (Alicia Hardin, Kiana Wilson, Kristina Bauer, McKennan Cronbaugh) 50.22, 2. City (Deleany Johnson,
Sarah Plock, Claire Crew, Kiera Washpun) 50.44, 3. Jefferson 50.88, 4. Kennedy 51.75, 5. Senior 51.80, 6. East Waterloo 52.60.
4x400—1. City (Fatimah Omar, Soumba Traore, Fanta Traore, Sashay Carroll) 4:13.56, 2. Senior 4:21.30, 3. Kennedy
4:26.92, 4. West (Akimi Oya, Molly Leveille, Ashley Knudson, Tia Saunders) 4:34.42, 5. Jefferson 4:37.72, 6. Hempstead 4:54.68.
*Note: Names are as supplied by host school.
MVC All-Academic (City and West only): Kesha Hyche, Aliyah Gustafson, City; Ashley Knudson, Pombie Silverman, West.
Athlete of the Year: McKennan Cronbaugh, West.
April 18, 2013
West Girls Win Mini State Meet at Forwald Relays!!
West girls heat up the track in Win
Cronbaugh, Yokom anchor Women of Troy at relays
The West High girls track team got big performances from sprinter McKennan Cronbaugh and distance ace Ashlynn Yokom
and overcame a disqualification and miserable weather to win the Forwald/Coleman Relays on Thursday night at City High.
West battled all night with defending state champ Waukee and host City High. After 15 events the three teams were
tied. But West won the 1,500, the 4x100 and 4x400 to close the meet and finish on top with 132 points. City was second with
120 and Waukee had 112.
West coach Mike Parker was particularly proud of his team’s performance given the cold, windy and rainy weather.
The temperature was about 37 with a wind chill at 25.
“I’m proud of the girls for being warriors,” he said. “Obviously, McKennan had a phenomenal
“This is really a mini-state meet when you get down to it,” City High co-coach
Tom Mittman said. “There’s no lightweights out there. We thought we competed well. There are things we can do
better yet. But we had some kids really step up today and competed better than they have all year.”
Yokom won the 3,000 by sprinting ahead of the pack early and increasing her lead to 50 meters halfway through the
“I wanted to get out fast and get myself away from the pack,” she said. “I knew my team would follow
The chase duo of City’s Ellen Carman and Pleasant Valley’s Maddie Reynolds cut
into the lead but not all that much.
“I had no idea where they were behind me,” Yokom said. “I just had to pretend they were right on
my toes and keep pushing. It felt great. The weather isn’t going to stop us.”
Yokom doubled up three freezing hours later by winning the 1,500.
West distance medley anchor Pombie Silverman ran a strong 800 leg and held off City High and Waukee for the victory.
“I just knew I had to get the Waukee girl so we could win,” Silverman said. “Coach always says a
fast first 400 so I did that, and then we rely on conditioning to move ahead and keep our pace. I tried to do that because
I didn’t want her to catch me. That would have sucked.”
McKennan Cronbaugh won three events and was an eyelash short of a fourth. The West senior won the long jump, the 200
meters and anchored the winning 4x100.
“Coach wanted me to get a big lead on the 100 and nobody would be able to catch me,” Cronbaugh said of
the 200. “So I was just focusing on going out really hard.”
She was edged at the end in the 100 by Roosevelt’s Briyana Carter.
“My start wasn’t the greatest,” Cronbaugh said. “It wasn’t what I wanted, but second
is still eight points, and that’s more points for the team.”
City sophomore Sarah Plock was a double winner. She won the 400 meters in 59.45, the best
time by a City runner this season.
“We just try to keep a sprinting pace, I guess,” Plock said. “I was happy;
I was very satisfied in this cold weather.”
Later she won her specialty, the 400 hurdles, an event she will run again at the Drake relays.
“It will be exciting, my second year in. I got my feet wet (last year),” she
In the 400 hurdles, Plock seemed to take the lead after the first set of hurdles and wasn’t
challenged after that.
“I just try to go out with a good, nice pace. I try not to pay too much attention
to other people,” she said.
Ellen Carman finished second in both the 3,000 and 1,500. Aliyah Gustafson was second and
Amara Lehman third in the shot put. Abby Saehler was second in the high jump.
Sara Blowers had never run the hurdles and stepped in to run the shuttle relay.
“Given the conditions, given the competition, knowing how far we’ve come, I’m
very excited about the future,” Mittman said. “I think we’re going to surprise some people. There’s
more to be done.”
Girls team results: 1. West High 132, 2. City High 120, 3. Waukee 112, 4. Des Moines Roosevelt 70, 5. C.R. Kennedy
58, 6. Pleasant Valley 47, 7. WDM Valley 36, 8. Muscatine 13.
Winners, City and West placewinners
Shot put—6. Jamie Wichart (W) 35-1.
Discus—2. Abby Brayton (W) 117-3
Long Jump—1. McKennan Cronbaugh (W) 17-11.5
3000—1. Ashlynn Yokom (W) 10:24.62,
4x800—2. West (Molly Leveille, Akimi Oya, Annie Schaeckenbach, Ashley Knudson).
4x400—1. West (Akimi Oya, Molly Leveille, Ashley Knudson, Tia Saunders) 4:10.78
Jesse Day Relays
The Women of Troy battled the bitter cold Friday night at the Jesse Day Relays. McKennan Cronbaugh won the 100 meters,
taking the night off from Long Jumping and anchored the 4x100 to Victory.
The Women of Troy compete Tuesday in Ottuwma at the Don Newell Classic and then head to City High on Thursday for the
Ft. Madison Relays
April 9, 2013
The Women of Troy took to the track to show what they are made of Tuesday in Ft. Madison.
Having lost to Jefferson on Saturday, the team didnt want that to happen again and came out to make sure it didnt. Abby Brayton
had a great night in the Discus, throwing 125-0 to move her up to one of the top throwers in the state and surely a Drake
Coming off the home meet on Thursday the Women of Troy narrowly missed winning
the J-Hawk Relays, keeping the girls to competing in mostly just two or three events. McKennan Cronbaugh won the Long
Jump in 18-3.75 and the 100 in 12.69. Ashlynn Yokom won the 3000. Abby Brayton continues to improve in the Discus, placying
2nd in 113-8. The Women of Troy head to Ft. Madison on Tuesday for the Timm Lamb Relays and then to Davenport on Friday for
the Jesse Day Relays.
Team scores — 1. C.R. Jefferson 98; 2. West High 83; 3. Cedar Falls 80; 4. Solon 69; 5. Linn-Mar 58; 6. C.R.
Kennedy 55; 7. C.R. Prairie 43; 8. Ram Girls 41; 9. Waverly-Shell Rock 29; 10. Marshalltown 10; 10. C.R. Washington 10; 12.
C.R. Xavier 7; 13. Waterloo West 6.
The weather was much better, but the fields at Thursday’s Hollingsworth and Women of Troy relays were
not quite what they would have been on Tuesday. The meets were postponed two days because of low temperatures and Thursday’s
weather was contested with temperatures in the 50s, as both the West boys and girls won their home meet.
Senior McKennan Cronbaugh took over the girls meet, winning four events. She won the 100 in 12.69 to start
things on the track.
“I felt good coming out of the blocks. Coach said just keep your speed at 50 and they won’t be
able to catch you,” she said. “So I just had to keep building up to 50 and then just keep it.”
She also captured the long jump with a leap of 18-1, establishing a meet record, eclipsing Jessica Gehrke’s
17-73/4 from 2009.
“I was very happy about that,” Cronbaugh said. “I think I jumped great. They told me (what
the record was) before the long jump started. I’ve been very happy with the long jump, especially during the indoor
season jumping 18-8. I haven’t jumped that far since my sophomore season.”
Cronbaugh credited increased strength from weight training with helping her improve in the field event.
Cronbaugh also anchored the winning 4x200, where her colleagues gave her the lead and she carried it home
easily, and anchored the winning 4x100. Cronbaugh is healthy, and if this is any indication, she’s bound for another
West won the girls shuttle hurdle relay in 1:07.71, the distance medley relay, with a strong anchor leg making
up a good 200, and the 4x400.
West’s Lauren Bobst won the grueling 400 hurdles in 1:08.71, two seconds ahead of Kennedy’s Kelsie
WOMEN OF TROY RELAYS
Team results - 1. West High 143.50, 2. Linn-Mar 130, 3. C.R. Kennedy 115.50, 4. C.R. Prairie 111, 5.
Solon 69, 6. C.R. Xavier 14.
In the last indoor meet of the 2013 season, McKennan Cronbaugh won three events to lead the West High girls track and field
team at the Wartburg Indoor meet Tuesday in Waverly.
Cronbaugh won the long jump with a state leading leap of 18-8.50, won the 200 meters in 26.22 seconds, and the anchored
the winning 4x200 relay in 1:49.46.
Freshman Grace Young won the 55 hurdles for the Women of Troy, Ashlynn Yokom won the 3000, and Ashley Knudson won the 800
This is the first time the Women of Troy have competed at the Wartburg facility since it was redone and came away with
6 wins, 4 2nd place finishes and placing in every event held at the meet. The West girls team also placed two girls in the
finals of the 55 meters and 55 hurdles.
HITTING HER STRIDE-ASHLYNN YOKOM PC ATHLETE OF THE YEAR 2012
November 8, 2012
Potential finally turned into results this season for West High cross country runner Ashlynn Yokom.
The junior went from 37th place at the state meet a year ago to second this year and broke the school record in the
“I’m still surprised, but I always knew that I could perform,” Yokom said. “I knew I had it
Yokom put together a fantastic junior year that included first-place finishes at the MVC Divisional meet and the Class
4A regional meet. That was before finishing the 4-kilometer state meet in 14 minutes flat. It made Ashlynn Yokom an easy choice
for Press-Citizen female Athlete of the Year.
It was a long road for Yokom, however. She was hobbled with foot problems as an underclassman. A fractured heel in eighth
grade kept giving her fits, and the bottoms of her feet were never right. It was so bad that her freshman year of track was
cut short halfway through.
Still, West coach Mike Parker saw something special in Yokom.
“She is Jeni Frudden-esque,” Parker said, comparing Yokom to West’s two-time state champion from a
decade ago. “I save the workout results from our great runners, and Ashlynn was hitting all those marks. This year as
a junior, she out-performed Jeni in all our track workouts.”
The foot pain subsided, and Yokom started seeing improvement in track season last spring with a third-place finish in
the 1,500 meters and a sixth-place finish in the 3,000 at the state meet. But she really blossomed in cross country.
“The training made a big difference,” she said. “I figured that I can push myself harder every day
in practice, and if I keep it up, it would help.”
Yokom finished behind Linn-Mar freshman phenom Stephanie Jenks when they competed against each other, and Jenks won
the state meet in a blistering 13:42. But Yokom already is focusing on catching her younger rival.
“It’s definitely a big goal to catch her,” Yokom said. “I always push myself to get to her and
try to get myself up close to her.”
Yokom’s season is hardly over, though. She ran her first 5-kilometer race in the Senior All-Star Meet on Saturday
in Ames. Competiting in the open division, she was the fastest female finisher in 17:26. She’ll race again this Saturday
at the Nike Heartland Regional in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“I’m just really excited,” she said. “I’m pumped to see how everything turns out, and
to run against some of the same girls that I’ve run with all season.”
Yokom may just be beginning to realize her potential.
“The journey that Ashlynn has taken to be as successful as she is, it’s not the same journey that our (other)
state champions have had,” Parker said. “It’s one were others may have given up.”
Reach Jon Klinkowitz at email@example.com or 339-7367.
ASHLYNN SETS NEW SCHOOL RECORD!!!
SATURDAY OCTOBER 27, 2012
FORT DODGE — For several weeks, West’s Ashlynn Yokom has been practicing a quick
start and a fast pace. If she has had to use the Gator lead vehicle as an incentive to chase, so be it.
But on Saturday, she didn’t have to make up a leader to chase, she had one in amazing Linn-Mar freshman
Stephanie Jenks. The top-ranked Jenks led from start to finish to win the Class 4A girls state cross country title in 13 minutes,
42 seconds. Yokom was second in a school-record 13:57.18 minutes.
“The last few weeks I’ve really trained to get out faster to prepare for this race,” Yokom
said. “I knew there would be a lot of people who wanted to get out quick. Around the mile and a half, I knew I had to
keep fighting. I knew I couldn’t back down. This was my last chance to show everyone what I’ve got.”
West coach Mike Parker said Yokom never gave up on winning.
“We had a race strategy and ran it to perfection,” he said. “She made a great charge the
last 800 meters. You tip your hat to the girl from Linn-Mar. She was better today.”
Yokom said she expected a fast pace but kept Jenks in view the whole race, not an easy thing to do.
“I just had to keep fighting for that, even if I couldn’t get to her, I had to fight for it,”
Yokom said. “I wanted to get her. I always do want to get her; I didn’t want to settle for less.”
Yokom and Dowling’s Karissa Schweizer, a former state champ, went back and forth during the race in
the second spot.
“The last 800 I knew I had to go,” Yokom said. “Because I wanted that second place or even
Jenks said she was unaware of anyone chasing her, although she heard fans yelling for Yokom. She said she’s
been a front-runner since she took up the sport. She was also a swimmer on the Lions’ team this season but had to make
a choice with state cross country conflicting with regional swimming Saturday.
Yokom has had an outstanding junior season, which she attributed to being healthy, for one, and for having
the experience needed to run races.
“I know what I’m doing now with two years of experience,” she said.
West’s team finished sixth. Molly Leveille was next in 22nd, followed by Pombie Silverman 35th, Emmie
Skopec 53rd and Maria Burtch 65th.
ROBINS — West’s Ashlynn Yokom ran away from the girls field again to win on the Tuma course
as she did a week earlier in the Mississippi Divisional championship. Yokom led the Women of Troy to a runner-up finish just
four points behind Cedar Rapids Kennedy. City High was third as both Iowa City schools earned a trip to the state meet in
the cold, rainy conditions.
Yokom bolted ahead just as she did a week earlier and held the lead the whole way. She won by 39 seconds.
“It’s a great feeling to be out there even though the weather isn’t the best,” Yokom said. “But
I love running in the rain. It is really cold and everything goes numb, but it helps you push forward.”
Yokom was so far out there that her only company was the Gator lead vehicle.
“It’s hard to (pace yourself) because you don’t know what to do and the Gator is in front of you kind
of setting the pace itself,” she said. “I treat him like he’s competition, too.”
Yokom said she thinks she’s peaking at the right time with state just eight days away. Other West finishers were
Molly Leveille in sixth, Pombie Silverman 10th, Emmie Skopec 12th, Maria Burtch 13th, Emily Starman 22nd and McKenzie Mellecker
“We’re closing the gap,” West coach Mike Parker said, noting that Kennedy won by 15 points a week ago.
“(Yokom) looked fabulous to me. She is excited for the last 10 days.”
Class 4A state qualifying cross country meet
Girls team results: 1. C.R. Kennedy 38, 2. West High 42, 3. City High 54, 4. C.R. Prairie 145, 5. C.R. Jefferson
151, 6. Western Dubuque 166, 7. C.R. Washington 169, 8. Muscatine 191, 9. Waterloo East 295.
— West High’s Ashlynn Yokom chased a ghost all the way around the course to a conference championship, Yokom took off like a shot from the start and blew away the field, winning
by 41 seconds over second-place Alyssa Averhoff of Cedar Rapids Kennedy. Yokom finished in 14 minutes, 16.39 seconds on the
flat Tuma Sports Complex course despite a strong north wind and temperatures in the low 50s. She was third a week ago at the
Super meet to runners from Linn-Mar and Cedar Falls.
“I wanted to go out really fast, get away from everyone, set my pace the way I wanted
it to be,” Yokom said. “I’ve had trouble getting out quick, so I really wanted to get out a lot quicker
than I have before. I was comfortable the whole race.”
Kennedy won the girls team title with 35 points. West was second with 50 points. West’s
Molly Leveille placed third to help key the Women of Troy.
“I always want to keep (Yokom) in sight because she gives such a good pace, and it
just helps me to look up during the race and not just focus on the people around me,” Leveille said. “I haven’t
been as quick in my first mile and that puts you behind the rest of your competitors, and you can’t just try to catch
them the rest of the race. You want to be up there fighting with them the whole time, and then you can get them at the end.”
West girls coach Mike Parker said that Yokom was chasing the phantom rabbit of Stephanie
Jenks, the Linn-Mar freshman who won the Super meet and competed in the Valley divisional race Thursday.
“We know that the girl that has beat us each time hammers the first mile,” Parker
“No one has been able to hammer that first mile with her, so we’ve been trying
to set ourselves up in practice to do that. Ashlynn’s vision was to see someone in front. She really accomplished what
is invited to come hear Jeni and Chris, two of the greatest distance runners in West High history speak about what it took
to achieve their goals and find success at the highest level.Both are multiple
State Champions, Drake Relays Champions and West High school record holders with amazing stories to tell.After their very successful high school careers they both accepted cross country and track & field
scholarships to run for two of the most successful collegiate programs in the country, Jeni running for the University of
Michigan and Chris for the University of Kansas.Hear them talk about their journey
to the top and how you can get there as well.
Immediately following their presentations
everyone is welcome to enjoy
(at approximately 4:30)
Food – Drinks – Deserts
In the West High Cafeteria
October 5th, 2012
West High Girls Place 4th at MVC Supermeet!!
The varsity team had two girls in the top ten to come within 4 points of 2nd place
at the MVC Supermeet. Ashlynn Yokom was 3rd, Molly Leveille was 10th and Pombie Silverman, back from a foot problem, ran a
great race to get 21st to help the Women of Troy. Only 2 points seperated 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the strong conference race.
Jody Eckman led the JV team placing 14th and Annie Schaeckenbach was 15th while Michelle Wise led the Fresh/Soph team placing
The Women of Troy will head to the Divisional Championships next Thursday at the Tuma
Soccer Complex and compete for the conference title against City High and Cedar Rapids Kennedy who placed 2nd and 3rd at the
West High junior Ashlynn Yokom climbed that last killer uphill half-mile to the finish line and floated across as if she
were about to take flight.
“Wonderful; I feel great,” Yokom said as she was hugged by just about everyone in green. She wasn’t even
All in all it was a very good day for the West boys and girls Tuesday at their own West High Invitational at Iowa’s
Ashton Cross Country Course. The boys team won the meet, led by Bailey Wetherell’s fourth-place finish, while the girls
team was second to Cedar Rapids Kennedy with Yokom winning her first cross country title.
Yokom led from beginning to end and finished in 14 minutes, 16.11 seconds, 15 seconds ahead of runner-up Shannon Gorman
of Cedar Rapids Washington.
“The first corner I took the lead,” she said. “It’s the first race I’ve ever won. This is
my home meet. This is my chance. There’s a lot of friends and family here to see me, but that shouldn’t change
the way I run.
“You get to the point where, ‘Oh, I’m tired,’ but you just have to fight through it. You’ve
got to want it.”
She had a feeling she had a substantial lead, but she never looked back. She really wasn’t measuring herself against
any of the other runners even though five of the top 13 ranked runners in 4A were in the field. Of course, Yokom herself is
ranked No. 2 behind only Linn-Mar freshman phenom Stephanie Jenks.
“You’ve got to treat every person like they are the best,” Yokom said.
West girls coach Mike Parker said Yokom has blossomed because she’s finally been healthy and able to train since
last winter. He particularly was pleased with the way Yokom took control from the beginning and was able to finish off the
field as the front runner.
“That’s her coachability. Sometimes I think I sell her short,” Parker said. “She does exactly what
we tell her to do.”
West’s other finishers were Molly Leveille in 10th, Emmie Skopec 12th, Maria Burtch 16th and Pombie Silverman 18th.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s top five were third, fourth, sixth, eighth and 15th.
“I love the way (Kennedy) runs,” Parker said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re
trying to get to where they are. Today they had a group and we had a group and there was about 25 meters in between. Our girls’
goal is to close that gap over the next half of the season.”
Women of Troy Place 2nd in Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence, Kansas!!
The varsity team competed in the Rim Rock classic on Saturday September 22 against 28 teams
from 9 different states, placing 2nd to a team from Colorado. Ashlynn Yokom ran 15:01 over the 4K course, breaking the school
record for the course by 42 seconds and placing 5th. Senior Molly Leveille placed 17th and broke our senior school record
for the meet. Emmie Skopec, Pombie Silverman, Maria Burtch, Emily Starman, and Sofia Mendoza rounded out the top 7 for the
Women of Troy.
West High hosts the West High Invite, Tuesday September 25 at 4:00 at the U of I cross country
September 16, 2012
West Girls Place 3rd in Tough Field at Heartland Classic
The fifth-ranked West High girls cross country team finished third in a field that included 11 ranked team in Class 3A
and many top schools from surrounding states at the Heartland Classic on Saturday in Ames.
Ashlynn Yokom set a school record on the Iowa State course and a personal record overall by finishing third in 14 minutes,
25 seconds over 4 kilometers for the Women of Troy. The top 5 Varsity girls set PR's on the Ames course. Molly Leveille, Maria
Burtch, Emmie Skopec and Emily Starman rounded out the top 5 for the Women of Troy. The West JV team was led by sophomore
McKenzie Mellecker who also ran a PR.
West scored 143 points to finish behing only second-ranked Dowling (70) and fourth-ranked Linn-Mar (70).
The Women of Troy varsity team heads to Kansas this weekend for the Rim Rock Classic and then has their home meet on September
25th at the U of I CC course.
Team scores – 1. West Des Moines Dowling 70; 2. Linn-Mar 106; 3. West High 143; 4. Bettendorf 151; 5. Waukee
170; 6. West Des Moines Valley 187; 7. Ames 198; 8. Cedar Falls 203; 9. Johnston 207; 10. Bastview, Minn., 253; 11. Des Moines
Roosevelt 307; 12. Marian, Neb., 313; 13. Ankeny 329; 14. Olathe North, Kan., 366; 15. Fremont, Neb., 396; 16. Dalles Center-Grimes
400; 17. Millard North, Neb., 477; 18. Pella 496; 19. Sioux Falls Roosevelt 503; 20. Shawnee Mission South, Kan., 523; 21.
Shawnee Mission North, Kan., 525; 22. Indianola 582; 23. Cedar Rapids Prairie 654; 24. Des Moines Hoover 781.
West High – 3. Yokom 14:25; 10. Molly Leveille 15:50; 36. Maria Burch 15:43; 52. Emmie Skopec 15:56; 56. Emily
Starman 16:14; 71. Pombie Silverman 16:16; 133. Sofia Mendoza 17:10.
September 7, 2012
Ashlynn Yokom Gets 2nd in CRI Invite in 14:42!!!
Yokom set a big personal record by 10 seconds, finishing the 4-kilometer race in 14:42. You’ve got to get out,”
Yokom said. “There are so many people and you’re in a tight space, and you’ve got to make that tree (at
the first turn). You’ve got to be in a good spot before you make it around the tree or you’ll walk it.”
The fifth-ranked Women of Troy scored 68 points to finish behind No. 4 Cedar Rapids Kennedy (54 points) and second-ranked
Molly Leveille was eighth for West, Pombie Silverman was 14th, Maria Burtch was 20th, and Emmie Skopec was 24th.
Team scores – 1. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 54; 2. Linn-Mar 59; 3. West High 68; 4. Bettendorf 97; 5. City High
121; 6. Ames 176; 7. Dubuque Wahlert 239; 8. Cedar Rapids Xavier 241; 9. Cedar Rapids Prairie 248; 10. Cedar Rapids Washington
260; 11. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 260; 12. Marion 338; 13. North Scott 359; 14. Muscatine 394; 15. Davenport West 406.
West High – 2. Yokom 14:42; 8. Molly Leveille 15:20; 14. Pombie Silverman 15:33; 20. Maria Burtch 15:50; 24.
Emmie Skopec 16:03; 26. Emily Starman 16:05; 46. Sofia Mendoza 16:46.
August 26, 2012
Women of Troy Compete Well at CRP Meet!!
The Women of Troy had a great first meet with the Varsity girls getting 2nd by 1 point,
the Fresh/Soph getting 3rd and the JV division getting 1st!!
Ashlynn Yokom led the way in the Varsity division placing 4th in a time of 15:06. The
varsity girls all finished in the top 20 in the meet.
In the F/S division McKenzie Mellecker was 1st and Katie Peplow and Lauren Charles placed
8th & 9th respectively for the team. On the JV side Annie Schaeckenbach and Alhan Bilal went 3-4 to lead off the team
to a 1st place win. Emilia Szmyrgala, Jody Eckman and Kylie Wallin evened out the top 5 for the Women of Troy. The team will
compete in the Cedar Rapids Invite on September 6th against some of the best teams in the state in this huge meet at Noelridge
• Outlook: The Women of Troy have a solid top three in Molly Leveille (12th at state), Pombie Silverman (16th)
and Ashlynn Yokom (35th). Leveille and Silverman are three-time state meet veterans, and Yokom has run there twice. Annie
Schaeckenbach also ran at state last year. Junior Sofia Mendoza is among the newcomers who will round out the lineup.
Senior McKennan Cronbaugh finished off her track and field season at the AAU Junior Olympics placing 6th in the Triple
Jump in the nation an event that she had only started this past summer and finished off in 10th in the Long Jump. We are so
proud of McKennan and her accomplishments!!!
Senior McKennan Cronbaugh is competing in AAU Nationals in Houston, Texas next week in both
the Triple Jump and Long Jump. McKennan qualified for nationals back in June at the Regional qualifier in Indianola Iowa after
winning the triple jump and placing 2nd in the Long Jump. McKennan is going into Nationals with the 5th best jump in the Triple
and 9th best jump in the Long.
West junior McKennan Cronbaugh was fourth in the long jump with a leap of 17-3. She has not been competing in the event
for a few weeks to save wear and tear on her hamstring. Roosevelt’s Jalynn Roberts-Lewis won with a jump of 17-9.5.
Neither Cronbaugh nor Shahana Williams, who also has had injury issues this spring, ran in the 4x200 relay as scheduled.
Alicia Harden and Rebecca Tanner took their places.
“It’s great running against really good competition,” second leg Courtney Dauber said.
West ran in the “fast” section but was consigned to lane eight on the outside of the track. The race is run
with a stagger but it’s still psychologically a long way around in that lane.
“It felt like forever,” Dauber said. “The first runner, she was coming really good, and I was like, ‘Keep
coming, keep coming.’ Then handing off to the third runner I thought I was going to go forever. We had a good handoff.”
“You just have to think when you’re running that you have to keep going and going,” Tanner said. “Just
picture people in front of you and chasing after them in lane eight.”
The quartet of Kiana Wilson, Courtney Dauber, Rebecca Tanner, McKennan Cronbaugh placed 4th in a season best time of 49.31.
This week the we have the Cedar Rapids Prairie meet on Tuesday and Conference Championships on Friday at Prairie as well.
West got nice performances
from distance stalwarts like Ashlynn Yokom and Molly Leveille. Ashlynn got 2nd in the 3000 and 1500 and Leveille
got 3rd in the 3000 and 5th in 1500 and also anchored the Distance Medley to a win. Leveille caught City’s Soumba Traore with about 100 meters left. Traore gritted her teeth, but Leveille
ran straight and tall for the win.
even know who was ahead of me,” Leveille said. “Someone was, and I was going to get them. I remember I passed
her, and she came fighting back, and I had to stay with her and give it my all at the end. You just go. You can never lose
track of anyone. You’ve just got to believe you can get up there and fight with them.”
Hamstring injuries have
limited competition for West sprinters Shahana Williams and McKennan Cronbaugh. Neither competed in the long jump or the open
100 or 200. The two did combine with Kiana Wilson and Courtney Dauber to win
the 4x200 despite some handoff problems, holding off a strong anchor from City’s Washpun. West also won the 4x100.
“I’m so out
of shape,” Cronbaugh said. “Don’t put that in. It’s been a really long time, but I’ll get back
Rebecca Tanner won the
100 hurdles for the Women of Troy, ran in the sprint medley, shuttle and anchored the winning 4x100.
Junior Ashley Knudson
had a busy night as well running on the 4x800, open 400, and anchoring the sprint med and 4x400.
Girls team scores: 1. City High 151, 2. West High
110, 3. Waukee 104, 4. Valley 97, 5. Pleasant Valley 41, 6. Des Moines Roosevelt 26, 7. Muscatine 21, 8. North Scott 8.
Rebecca Tanner anchored the Women of Troy’s winning shuttle hurdle relay, and edged Cedar Rapids Washington’s
Brooke Foreman in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.43 seconds. A great win for Tanner who has become a top hurlder in the state.
“I felt really strong at the end,” Tanner said. “I’ve been lifting a lot more, trying
to improve my speed.”
Courtney Dauber won West’s other gold medal, taking the 100 in 12.71 seconds. Dauber was also 3rd in the
200 and led off West's 2nd place 4x400 for her first 400 of her running career at West.
At Kingston Stadium
Teams —1. Cedar Falls 103.5, 2. Iowa City West
103, 3. C.R. Washington 65, 4. Linn-Mar 51, 5. C.R. Prairie 47.5, 6. C.R. Jefferson 46, 7. Marshalltown 40, 8. C.R. Kennedy
33, 9. Waterloo West 16.
Shot put —3. Abby Brayton (ICW), 32-10 1/2;
Discus —9; 2. Abby Brayton (ICW), 104-10;
3,000 —3. Molly Leveille (ICW), 10:57.61;
Shuttle hurdle relay —1. Iowa City
West (Robinson, Bobst, Bowman, Tanner), 1:09.86
100 —1. Courtney Dauber (ICW), 12.71
Distance medley relay — 2. Iowa City West, 4:23.58; 3.
Cedar Falls, 4:35.76;
100 hurdles —1. Rebecca Tanner
800 —2. Pombie Silverman (ICW), 2:28.37;
200 —3. Courtney Dauber (ICW), 27.39;4
400 hurdles 3. Lauren Bobst (ICW), 1:12.01;S
1,500 — 2. Ashlynn Yokom (ICW), 5:00.78;
400 relay —3. Iowa City West, 53.23;
1,600 relay —2. Iowa City
West, 4:11.32; 3. Linn-Mar, 4:12.38.
Sofia Parker’s first track meet might have been a yawn for her, but it was mighty successful for her father’s
team. West High girls track coach Mike Parker cradled his 5-week old daughter and beamed as his team celebrated another victory
in the Women of Troy Relays on Tuesday at West’s Trojan Field.
“It was a great night,” Parker said. “We talked a lot yesterday about our seniors. This is a big, productive
senior class. We’re just very happy.”
West won by 66 points over Linn-Mar and Cedar Rapids Kennedy in the eight-team meet.
The Women of Troy won seven events even without the help of star sprinter/long jumper McKennan Cronbaugh, who has been
slowed by a hamstring injury and was held out of competition.
Junior Courtney Dauber stepped into the breach and won the 100- and 200-meter sprints and was part of the winning 4x100
team to lead the way for West. Dauber held off Xavier’s Hannah Rochford by .10 seconds in the 100. In a similarly challenging
200, Dauber fired by Capria Davis of Kennedy and teammate Kiana Wilson to win in 26.69. The top three in the 200 finished
within .27 seconds of each other.
“I didn’t get out very well,” Dauber said of the 200.
But she saw her teammate and turned it on out of the curve. She said she visualized herself at the Drake Relays to help
her get out and get up to speed immediately in the 100.
“I’m really happy with it; it was really good competition,” she said.
West senior Rebecca Tanner won the 100 hurdles handily in a school-record time of 15.32. She was the top seed and beat
her previous season-best by .09 seconds.
The distance runners kept up their part of the bargain. Junior Ashley Knudson won the 800 meters, and teammate Molly Leveille
was third. Knudson cut four seconds off her season-best time in finishing in 2:21.65. Both ran on the winning 4x400 relay.
Sophomore Ashlynn Yokom won the 1500 meters in a personal best time of 4:56.48. The runner-up was 12½ seconds behind her.
West finished the meet winning both the 4x100 (Wilson, Tanner, Dauber, Shahana Williams) and 4x400 (Lauren Bobst, Leveille,
Akimi Oya, Knudson).
“That 4x1, to watch Shahana come down the home stretch there with a huge lead…it was special,” Parker
West got runner-up finishes from the shuttle hurdle and 4x200 relay teams. Williams had a lot of room to make up in her
4x200 anchor and did catch the Xavier runner by .02 seconds to take second but was unable to catch Kennedy anchor Megan Terukina.
Sophomore Lizzy Klemme was second in the 400 meters and fourth in the 400 hurdles. Junior Lauren Bobst was second in the
Sophomore Abby Brayton took second in the discus and third in the shot for West but otherwise the field events didn’t
produce much in the way of points for the Women of Troy. But this time they didn’t need them.
Team scores: 1. West High 159, 2. Linn-Mar and C.R. Kennedy 93, 4. Mount Pleasant 71, 5. Burlington 50, 6. C.R.
Prairie and C.R. Xavier 45, 8. Muscatine 32.
Individual results (winners and all West placewinners)
The West High girls track team’s 4x800-meter relay took second place at the State Indoor meet Tuesday
at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
Pombie Silverman, Ashlynn Yokom, Ashley Knudson and Molly Leveille finished in 9 minutes, 42.71 seconds.
Leveille also took third place in the 800 for the Women of Troy, running a great race and finishing in a time
West starts its outdoor season on Friday, March 31st at the Muscatine Invite in Muscatine Iowa.
- 3. Molly Leveille 2:22.96.
- 10. Courtney Dauber 8.24.
hurdles - 10. Rebecca Tanner 9.68.
- 10. Ashlynn Yokom 5:05.66.
- 2. West High (Pombie Silverman, Yokom, Ashley Knudson, Leveille) 9:42.71.
October 20, 2011
West Girls Place 2nd!!
The West High Girls Cross Country team placed 2nd at the Regional Championships in Marshalltown,
Iowa with Molly Leveille winning the 4k course in 15:10 over teammate Pombie Silverman who was 2nd. Ashlynn Yokom was 5th,
Olive Carrollhach was 14th, Annie Schaeckenbach was 23rd, Ashley Knudson was 27th and Brett Guerra was 30th. The team
heads to Fort Dodge this weekend for the State Chammpionships. The girls 4A race is at 11:00am at Kennedy Park.
The 10th-ranked West High girls cross country team upset No. 3 Cedar Falls to win the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley
Division meet Thursday at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
The Women of Troy took five of the top-8 places and scored 25 points to Cedar Falls’ 30.
“I’ve been here 17 years, and this was the unlikely conference title we’ve won,” West coach Mike
Parker said. “They beat us by 65 just seven days ago.”
Molly Leveille led West with second place in 15 minutes, 18 seconds on the 4-kilometer course. Pombie Silverman was third,
Ashley Knudson was fifth, Ashlynn Yokom was seventh, and Olive Carrollhach was eighth.
“All of our girls ran their absolute best race of the year,” Parker said.
It was the 13th conference title for the Women of Troy.
The West High girls have been busy these last few days, having competed in the Rim Rock
Classic in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday and then returning for the West High Invite last night.
Saturday the Women of Troys, Pombie Silverman, Ashlynn Yokom and Molly Leveille all placed
in the top 22 out of 186 runners on one of the hardest courses in America for cross country.
The West High girls placed 2nd in the Varsity and JV division at the West High Invite.
Molly Leveille placed 3rd in 14:57 to lead the team in the varsity race and Annie Schaeckenbach lead the JV team in 16th place
with a time of 16:28.
The Women of Troy will compete in the MVC Super meet on October 5th at Noelridge Park
in Cedar Rapids against all 14 teams in the conference.
Pombie Silverman ran a PR of 14:40 and placed 7th to lead the Women of Troy at the Heartland
Invitational. Ashlynn Yokom also ran a lifetime best of 15:05 to place 20th with Molly Leveille in 24th. The front 3 girls
ran exceptionally well for the Women of Troy.
The JV team was lead by Annie Schaeckenbach and Emily Starman who finished within a second of
each other placing 18th and 20th.
The Varsity team will travel to Lawrence Kansas on Friday to compete in the Rim Rock Classic
on Saturday against 5 other states.
September 8, 2011
West Girls Get 3rd at CRI Invite
The Women of Troy got 3rd at the Cedar Rapids Invite in a loaded field
of 8 ranked teams and 19 ranked individuals. Ashlynn Yokom placed 5th, Molly Leveille was 6th, Pombie Silverman was
12th, Olive Carrollhach was 27th and Brett Guerra was 40th for the team. The JV team was lead by Akimi Oya, getting 8th. Emilia
Szymrgala placed 5th in the Fresh/Soph race to lead her team to 3rd place.
The Women of Troy compete in the Heartland Classic on Saturday the 18th in Ames where they will compete
against Dowling Catholic, the number 1 team in Iowa.
___________________________________________________________ Girls Cross Country Finish 4th at CRP Meet
The Women of Troy finished 4th by 1 point on Saturday but with missing their number 1 runner in Molly Leveille. Pombie
Silverman and Ashlynn Yokom placed 5th and 8th respectively for the Women of Troy. The fresh/soph team captured their team
title by 10 points, putting 3 girls in the top 10, Jody Eckman, Emily Starman and Emilia Szmyrgala. The JV team was led by
a 2nd place finish by Allie Gilbaugh, helping her team to 3rd place. The Women of Troy run next at the Cedar Rapids Invite
on September 8th at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids.
West High girls track and field coach Mike Parker was selected by the Iowa Track and Field
Coaches Association as the Class 4A At-Large Coach of the Year for 2011. This will be the 22nd time Parker has been honored
by the IATC as either the State Coach of the Year or the At-Large Coach of the Year. He has been honored with this award 10
times in track & field and 12 times in cross country.
West finished off the state meet Saturday in 3rd place having scored just a few points shy of the win. West finished ninth
in the sprint medley and didn't score. West also was unable to gain ground in the 800 meters even though Molly Leveille ran
her season-best time in the (2:18.80). The field was so strong that she finished 10th.
West took advantage of the short sprints, however, with Shahana Williams finishing fourth and McKennan Cronbaugh seventh
in the 100. Cronbaugh was third and Williams fourth in the 200.
Normally it's Cronbaugh ahead of Williams in the shorter sprint, but the start told the difference.
Cronbaugh shook her head vigorously and rolled her eyes when asked if she thought she got a good start in the 100.
"No way. Just late reaction time," she said. "Not as good as I've done previously in the other meets."
"Normally I'm the one who starts slow out of the blocks, but this is my best block day," Williams said. "We just switched
After the 200, West was within 10 points of City and just one behind Roosevelt.
"Every point counts, and we have to fight for it," Williams said.
Without a team in the 4x400 the team race was done after the 4x100, definely not how they wanted to end up and I am sure
will not again.
DES MOINES -- The West High girls track team may be down, but it's hardly out.
While City High was leading the Class 4A team race with 59 points after the second day of competition at Drake Stadium,
McKennan Cronbaugh showed the Women of Troy aren't about to concede.
Cronbaugh, a sophomore, won the long jump with a personal-record leap of 18 feet, 10½ inches to take first place and score
10 big points for West, which ended the day in second place with 34 points. City freshman Kiera Washpun was second with a
jump of 17-9½.
"I feel excellent today," Cronbaugh said. "I thought I could win. The coaches told me to work on my form, and I worked
on my form and won."
Although Cronbaugh had a personal record of 18-1 entering competition, she didn't compete in the event at the Drake Relays
"Coach just said it would be better to put in all relays, and I said 'OK,'" she said.
Cronbaugh also anchored West to the second-fastest qualifying time in the 4x100 (48.45 seconds).
The Women of Troy drew first blood in the head-to-head matchup with City when Cara Jansen finished second in the shot put
with a throw of 39 feet, 11½ inches to start the afternoon.
"I was hoping for 40, was just a little shy of that," she said. "But 39 isn't horrible. I've done worse."
Jansen threw 40-5 at the state indoor meet and never exceeded that during the outdoor season, although she got close.
"Right after the indoor meet I watched some video of myself and changed my technique," she said. "I was building myself
back up to where I was originally at. That was tough but better to hone my technique than do it the wrong way."
"I kind of knew I had the lead, but when I got about right here (the final stretch), I saw West High around the side of
me, and I thought 'Oh my God, "Every point counts," Williams said. "We don't settle for what we can do, we settle for more
than that. We know all the work we did this season is going to play off."
West's team of Kristina Bauer, Courtney Dauber, Ally Disterhoft and Molly Leveille was sixth in 4:12.03 In the Distance
"We try not to pay attention too much to the paper," she said. "We had only, really, the 4x800 that got us points (Friday).
The prelims yesterday went really for us and the sprinters are going to put up some big points, too. We're not paying too
much attention to that yet."
As expected, West High girls dominated the Class 4A Regional track meet Thursday at City High. The Little Hawks won the
team title just as they did at the Forwald/Coleman Relays, but the teams accomplished what they set out to do in terms of
qualifying athletes for next week's state meet.
"We're very pleased," West coach Mike Parker said. "It's no different than last year. It's the one and only meet where
we don't take into consideration trying to win a title. All the things we wanted to get through, we got through. We'll wait
until tomorrow and maybe get a couple more things through.
"I never want a West High team to ever feel completely OK not winning a title, but if there ever is a time. ... We lost
regionals last year and went on to win a state championship by the largest margin in Class 4A state meet history. So we know
what today means."
West won seven events and had top four finishes in 10 events. Top four isn't a guarantee of earning a spot at state
but in a tough regional like this one it's pretty close.
West led from start to finish in winning the 4x800 with Ally Disterhoft, Pombie Silverman, Olive Carrolhach and Ashley
McKennan Cronbaugh won the long jump, the 100, 200 and anchored the winning 4x100.
"I thought I had a really good start and then I just tried to keep my speed," she said of the 100. "I thought it was a
good race altogether."
Cronbaugh and Shahana Williams finished 1-2 in the 200, separated by .01 seconds. The two were first and third in the 100.
Williams also anchored the 4x200 to a third-place finish, without Cronbaugh running among the four, and was the third leg
in the victorious 4x100.
When the two sprinters finished the open 200 they jogged to the fence and Parker was more than happy to give them two cold
bottles of water.
"You ate up the turn," Parker said to Williams, "and you ate up the straightaway," he said to Cronbaugh.
"We're doing pretty good," Williams said. "We know we have the top two fastest times. ..."
"... And we just want to make them better; that's our goal," Cronbaugh said.
Cronbaugh got the baton for the 4x100 in third place and turned on the jets to breeze by the other anchors.
Parker's decision to use Cronbaugh and Williams in the two short sprints instead of more relays was a calculated risk.
"We've got to take some risks to win a state championship," he said. "There's no doubt we could have put those two girls
with other sprinters and won all four relays, but we split them up. Shahana will carry a little bit of the load in that 4x2
as she did last year."
West High's Molly Leveille, after running a great anchor for the distance medley that almost caught City High's Rethwisch,
won the 800 meters easily.
West's Cara Jansen captured the shot put title with a throw of 40 feet, 4.25 inches. Her best this season was an indoor
mark of 40-5 back in March.
Team scores -- 1. City High 188, 2. West High 163, 3. C.R. Washington 116, 4. C.R. Kennedy 69.5, 5. C.R. Prairie 54, 6.
C.R. Jefferson 53.5, 7. Muscatine 50, 8. Xavier 45.
Individual results (top 4 and all City and West placewinners):
High jump -- 7T. Ashley Weinschenk and Caroline Van Voorhis (W) 4-10.
Long jump -- 1. McKennan Cronbaugh (W) 17-7.5,
Shot put -- 1. Cara Jansen (W) 40-4.25, 4. Shelia Johnson (W) 35-0.25.
The boys and the girls have reached a common ground in state qualification for track and field.
But the reactions are anything but common.
“Every coach I’ve talked to has had pretty much the same feeling — that this is a huge improvement for
the boys, but the other end for the girls,” said Mike Parker, girls’ coach at Iowa City West.
State-qualification meets (districts for boys, regionals for girls) are 4 p.m. Thursday throughout the state. Here’s
how qualifiers are determined for the state meet May 19-21 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines:
The top four placewinners in each event from each meet in 4A, top three in 3A and 2A and top two in 1A are placed
on a preliminary qualifying list of 24.
Then, the 12th-place performance will become the standard for other qualifiers. Any district/regional placewinner whose
performance is better or equal to that 12th-place performance will come onto the list, and others will be eliminated.
District/regional champions are automatic qualifiers and cannot be bumped.
“I hope I do,” said Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys’ coach Dennis Roloff.
“I think this is an improvement for the boys in that the best people will qualify. In the past, there were some very
poor (district) performances that made it to state and some excellent performances in other districts got left at home.”
Last year, the boys qualified strictly by district place. The girls had automatic qualifiers (two from each regional in
4A, 3A and 2A, one from each regional in 1A), with the rest of the field filled out by best remaining performances throughout
Now, technically, the 13th best performance could be staying home.
Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union assistant director John Overton has taken many calls from girls’ coaches on
“A lot of them think this is a terrible move for the girls, but an improvement for the boys,” Overton said.
“We’ve been trying to achieve a level qualifying method between the boys and the girls since (we started having
the co-ed state meet in) 2006.
“I don’t know if this will work or if it won’t work. I’m anxious to find out. The (track)
advisory committee meets every year, so I’m sure this will be on the agenda again.”
Benton Community girls’ coach Marty Thomae is on that committee. He’s not wild about the change, but won’t
pass judgment yet.
“A lot of people liked the old system better, but we have to give this a chance, and wait and see how it works,”
Iowa City West and Iowa City High have been girls’ track giants for more than a decade. Both are part of an eight-team
4A meet at City High.
“Let’s just say there’s a good chance that the fifth-place 3,000-meter girl could run 10:50 at our meet,
and if she’s not the 12th best kid in the state, she’s going to sit at state and watch a girl from somewhere
else that can barely break 12 minutes,” Parker said.
“I know the objective is to qualify people from all over the state, and I understand that to an extent. But
there are going to be a lot of quality kids from our region, fifth-place kids that have worked hard and trained
hard and aren’t going to make it.”
Thomae and Parker agree that their regional strategies will change this year.
“Now, to qualify, you have to be so precise,” Thomae said. “You have to run your very best. There’s
not a lot of wiggle room.”
Parker said, “You can’t run soft in anything. You’ve got to put basically your state lineup together
Bud Legg, information director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, said the list of state qualifiers should be
released Friday night.
West Wins Divisional Title for 9th Time
The Women of Troy extended their streak of divisional titles to nine years with a one-point win over Cedar
Falls on Friday at the Valley Divisional in Cedar Falls.
The two teams won every event but four on Friday, and West High needed every single point to beat Cedar Falls
189 to 188. Cedar Rapids Prairie was third with 69 points.
"We said before we left this might be our most difficult title," West coach Mike Parker said. "But it might
also be the sweetest."
West won with a lot of strong performances, led by Valley division MVP McKennan Cronbaugh, who won the 100
and long jump, and ran the anchor leg on the winning 4x100 team.
Cronbaugh was second in the 200 to teammate Shahana Williams, who was second in the 100 and also ran a leg
on the 4x100.
After West won the 4x100, Williams immediately jumped into the 4x400. West had to finish just one place behind
the Tigers to win the meet.
Parker also cited the night turned in by Molly Leveille, who finished third in the 3,000, then turned around
and anchored the winning distance medley. She also ran on the 4x400 team and open 800.
"I never in all my years have seen those four events run by the same person," Parker said. "She did it with
a warrior's spirit."
Cara Jensen won the shot put to help the team total, and every point mattered.
"I had scored it several times over the last week," Parker said. "I told the girls I probably never spent
more time with a conference lineup."
MVC Valley Divisional
Team scores -- 1. West High 189; 2. Cedar Falls 188; 3. C.R. Prairie 69; 4. C.R. Jefferson 52; 5. Xavier 43;
6. Dubuque Hempstead 40; 7. Waterloo East 8.
Winner, West placewinners
High jump -- 1. Jessica Harris (CRP) 5-0; 5. Caroline Van Voorhis (W) 4-10.
Long jump -- 1. McKennan Cronbaugh (W) 15-11¼.
Shot put -- 1. Cara Jensen (W) 39-7; 4. Abby Brayton (W) 35-7¾.
Sprint medley -- 1. C.R. Jefferson 1:51.23; 3. West (Christina Bauer, Courtney Dauber, Rebecca Tanner, Annie
Distance medley -- 1. West (Alicia Hardin, Courtney Dauber, Lizzy Klemme, Molly Leveille) 4:17.51.
Shuttle hurdle -- 1. Cedar Falls 1:06.61; 2. West (Jesse Robinson, Lauren Bobst, Christina Bauer, Rebecca
DES MOINES — The margin of victory wasn’t razor-thin.
It was thinner.
Shahana Williams held off a challenge by Des Moines North’s Agnes Sayeh — then beat the clock — to give
Iowa City West the Drake Relays championship in the girls’ sprint medley relay Friday at Drake Stadium.
West’s Kristina Bauer, Rebecca Tanner, McKennan Cronbaugh and Williams had an official time of 1:48.88 in the third
heat, same as Des Moines Roosevelt, which won the second heat.
So go deeper on the clock — West 1:48.878, Roosevelt 1:48.880. The Women of Troy prevailed by 2-thousandths of a
“We always talk about how every second counts,” Williams said. “I knew I had to give it all I had.”
All she had was enough.
Williams was running just her second 400 of the season, and Sayeh caught her on the home stretch. Sayeh tried to pass Williams
on the inside, then appeared to stumble at the end.
“She bumped me as she caught up,” Williams said. “I just had to fight through it.”
Or, as Tanner said: “She just wasn’t going to let (Sayeh) catch her.”
North was third overall in 1:49.89.
Roosevelt got even in Drake’s inaugural girls’ 800-meter relay, in an effort (1:42.20) that ranks No. 3 all-time.
Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1:43.50) edged West (1:43.80) for second place.
“We were focused more on time than place,” said Jefferson anchor Rachel Broghammer. “The goal wasn’t
to beat West, it was to run a fast time.”
But outlasting Cronbaugh down the stretch certainly was an accomplishment.
“I could see a yellow uniform out of the corner of my eye, and I thought, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no. She’s not
passing me,” Broghammer said.
Women of Troy edge out Roosevelt to win the sprint medley relay
DES MOINES -- It was one of those high school girls comments that is made half with conviction and half in jest, but it
was perfect for the occasion.
"I hate them."
Des Moines Roosevelt had won the second of three sections of the girls sprint medley relay at the Drake Relays in 1:48.88,
and when the third section finished, the Roughriders thought they had won. The Riders were looking at the numbers with their
hearts and not their heads because West High's time was shown as .01 seconds faster.
Roosevelt's short-lived celebration was supplanted by West's with anchor Shahana Williams hugging third leg McKennan Cronbaugh
as they were handed their flags and joined by Kristina Bauer and Rebecca Tanner.
As it turned out, West's victory was even narrower. The official calculation was West's 1:48.878 to Roosevelt's 1:48.880.
The first three runners gave Williams a lead, but then she had to leg out the full 400 even though she's usually just a
short sprinter. The final 100 was the product of great stamina and will. Des Moines North anchor Agnes Sayeh, who was second
in the open 100, was right behind Williams, and the two appeared to get tangled up as they came down the stretch.
"She kind of like bumped me as I was moving up," Williams said. "She was right beside me because she tried to get on the
inside, and I wasn't going to let her. I had to fight for it, and I got it. I could feel her stumble a lot because every time
she'd drive forward she'd hit my arm off.
"I just knew I had to stay strong. I wasn't that tired. It was fun."
West came in as the favorite in the inaugural 4x200 relay but was edged by Roosevelt and Cedar Rapids Jefferson. Roosevelt,
anchored by 100-meter champion Erin Hawkins, won in 1:42.20. Jefferson finished second in 1:43.50 and West (Williams, Courtney
Dauber, Tanner, Cronbaugh) was third in 1:43.80.
West's 1:42.54 run last year at state was the third-fastest time in state history coming in. But Roosevelt's impressive
performance moved the Roughriders into that spot and bumped West back to fourth.
The Women of Troy had run the fastest time (1:44) in the state this season, but all three top finishers were faster than
that time. The four appeared to be in a state of shock afterward, and none of the four offered any comment other than to say
their handoffs were good. Clearly, the sprint relays in Class 4A at the state meet will be very interesting.
The West High girls are qualified in 12 events for the Drake Relays this weekend. Having the
number 1 seed in the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 the weekend will be filled with much excitement. Molly Leveille qualified in 3 individual
events, the 800, 1500 & 3000 while McKennan Cronbaugh qualified in the 100, LJ and 4x100 and 4x200. Shahana Williams qualified
in the 100 and also on the 4x100 & 4x200. West also qualified the 4x800, Sprint Medley, Shuttle Hurlde and Cara Jansen
in the Shot Put. Freshman Kristina Bauer also qualified individually in the 100 Meters.
If you think defending state champion West graduated all its top sprinters and throwers, think again. West won its own
Women of Troy Relays on Tuesday with record-smashing performances in the sprint relays and a victory in the shot put among
its nine victories.
Sophomore McKennan Cronbaugh helped lead the way, winning the long jump, the open 100 and running on the winning 4x100
and 4x200 relays. Both the 4x100 and 4x200 set meet records.
"It was a great night for our sprinters," West coach Mike Parker said. "They take pride in what we've done over the last
couple years. They are determined to show they are every bit as good and actually determined to do better things."
Cronbaugh was inserted into the 4x200 at the last minute and ran the second leg very soon after having won the 100.
"I was put in it right after my 100, so I had to focus on that," she said. "I thought that we did really, really well.
Broke the meet record, we were all really excited about that.
"You just have to calm down after your last race, and then you just have to focus in and know what you have to do."
The 4x200 team of Kristina Bauer, Cronbaugh, Courtney Dauber and Shahana Williams finished in 1:44.24, a full two seconds
better than the previous meet record. The same four won the 4x200 at the state indoor meet.
"Yeah, I could tell (when I handed it off we were in good shape)," Cronbaugh said of her second leg.
"Even if it was close, I knew Shahana would kill it at the end, so it didn't really matter."
Bauer, Williams, Courtney Dauber and Cronbaugh won the 4x100 in 49.62 seconds, besting the record by .43 seconds.
Senior Cara Jansen, relegated to a reserve role as she waited last year behind Division I talents Micaela Haight and Courtney
Fritz, won the shot put with a throw of 40 feet, 2 inches.
"Those girls helped me so much," Jansen said. "I honestly wouldn't be where I'm at if it wasn't for them. I may have been
sort of hidden, but I was learning from the best. They were both really good friends of mine and they would take time even
if I was really annoying (and asking) 'What am I doing wrong?'"
Jansen's personal record is 40-10. She's hit 40-5 this season, which should put her in great position to qualify for the
"I guess probably my dream number is 43 (feet) by the end of the year, but at this point 41 would be great. Consistent
40s, I would go for that too."
Ally Disterhoft's scintillating final leg of the distance medley moved West from fifth to first. Disterhoft moved up to
third in her first 400 and took the lead with about 150 meters left.
Disterhoft appeared to labor in the final 100, and Parker said later that Disterhoft pulled a hamstring last Friday, but
she met a challenge from Linn-Mar anchor Audra Schminke, who pulled even for a brief time before Disterhoft reasserted herself.
It was a truly gutsy performance.
"You could tell it was getting tighter and tighter," Parker said. "Her stride was getting shorter and shorter. But she
fought her way through."
West won the 4x800 relay with three sophomores and one freshman. The Women of Troy were fourth at the state meet a year
ago with an all-underclass lineup, but it wasn't this lineup of Olive Carrolhach, Annie Schaeckenbach, Ashlynn Yokum and Pombie
University of Iowa track recruit Khanisha Williams of Burlington won the high jump in meet-record fashion, the 100 hurdles
and anchored the winning shuttle hurdle relay. Williams shattered the high-jump mark of 5-4, set by Leah Elbert in 1995, with
a leap of 5-8.
WOMEN OF TROY RELAYS
Team scores -- 1. West High 160½; 2. Burlington 114; 3. Linn-Mar 69; 4. Muscatine 64; 5. C.R. Prairie 53; 6. Mount Pleasant
52½; 7. C.R. Xavier 43; 8. C.R. Kennedy 33.
The Women of Troy won 7 events and beat the field by 66points to win their 1st outdoor
meet of the year. McKennan Cronbaugh continued to run away with victories, winning the 100, 200 and Long Jump. The Distance
Medley team of Cali Kinney, Akimi Oya, Lizzy Klemme and Molly Leveille took the victory in 4:33 and Olive Carrollhach won
the 800 to name a few. The JV team also had a great night winning 6 events. Emilia Szmyrgala started off the night winning
the 3000 meters while Cara Jansen was winning the Discus.
The Women of Troy have their home meet on Tuesday, April 5th. The meet starts at 4:30.
WEST GIRLS WIN 2 EVENTS AT THE STATE INDOOR MEET!!
The Women of Troy won the 4x200- and 4x800-meter relays. McKennan Cronbaugh,
Kristina Bauer, Courtney Dauber and Shahana Williams won the 4x200 in 1 minute, 48.04 seconds, and Ally Disterhoft, Jess Shull,
Ashley Knudson and Molly Leveille won the 4x800 in 9:41.84.
Cronbaugh also took third in the 60, 200 and long jump for West, Cara Jansen was third in the shot
put, and Molly Leveille was seventh in the 800.
McKennan Cronbaugh won 2 events at the Central College Indoor on Saturday taking
the Long Jump in 16-8 ¼ and the 55M in 7.08 beating the competition by almost half a second. Proving our 800 meter runners
are ready to roll this season, we took the first four spots on Saturday with Jess Shull winning in 2:27. Ally Disterhoft,
Olive Carrollhach and Brett Guerra finished 2-4th. Shahana Williams won the 200 meters in a blazing fast time winning
by over a second. The Women of Troy head to the Indoor State Championships on Tuesday the 22nd in Cedar Falls to
compete for state titles in 13 events.
The Women of Troy won nine events Tuesday at the MVC Indoor Meet
at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
West High won divisional titles in four relays -- the 4x800, 4x200, 4x100 and shuttle hurdle.
Shahana Williams, Rebecca Tanner and McKennan Cronbaugh were on the 4x100 and 4x200. Williams also won the 60, and Cronbaugh
won the long jump.Cara Jansen won the shot put, Emilia Szmyrgala won the 3,000, and Molly Leveille won the 800.
West continues its indoor season Saturday at the Central College Indoor in Pella.
No team scores were kept.
High jump -- 2. Ashley Weinschenk (West) 4-8; 2. Caroline Van Voorhis (West) 4-8.
Long jump -- 1. McKennan Cronbaugh (West) 16-6; 2. Courtney Dauber (West) 15-3.
The sprint medley team of Shahana Williams, Kristina Bauer, McKennan Cronbaugh and Ashley
Knudson won in a time of 1:54.63 on Monday. Shahana Williams and McKennan Cronbaugh also went 2-3 in the 60 meters. Cara Jansen
threw a season pr of 40-5 for the Women of Troy.
Junior Brett Guerra and Sophomore Molly Leveille competed in the Nike Heartland cross
country meet in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Sunday November 14th. Molly finished 43rd in 19:19 and Brett finished 73rd in
19:59 over the 5K course.
Seniors Taylor Fehlberg and Alissa Rothman placed 9th and 10th respectively
in the Senior All-Star meet in Ankeny today. Taylor finished in 19:57 and Alissa in 19:59 to help the Southeast team to 2nd
place in the meet.
Sophmore Molly Leveille and Junior Brett Guerra competed in the open 5K
with Molly getting 2nd 19:17 and Brett 3rd in 19:19.
Molly and Brett will be competing in the Nike Heartland meet in Sioux
Falls, SD next Sunday the 14th.
The West High Girls Cross Country team placed 7th at the state meet this past Saturday.
Molly Leveille led the Women of Troy with a 13th place finish in 14:44. Pombie Silverman was 39th in 15:11, Ashlynn Yokom
was 40th in 15:12, Brett Guerra was 45th in 15:15, Taylor Fehlberg was 62nd in 15:36, Bridget Novak finished 71st in 15:46
and Alissa Rothman 72 in 15:52.
The West High Girls Cross country team will compete in the state championships on Saturday,
October 30th at 11:00 am. Qualifiers for the state meet are Bridget Novak, Alissa Rothman, Taylor Fehlberg, Brett Guerra,
Molly Leveille, Pombie Silverman, Ashlynn Yokom and Emilia Szmyrgala. The awards ceremony is at 12:20 for the 4A girls.
Parking is $10 for all cars.
West girls going to state
CEDAR RAPIDS -- All it took was a few seconds to ruin a great day for the West High cross country teams.
The girls were upset in their bid for a regional title and the boys missed qualifying for the state
meet in their Class 4A district Thursday at Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids. In both cases, West suffered at the hands of Linn-Mar.
The Women of Troy entered the meet ranked fourth in Class 4A and were favored to win the regional.
But the ninth-ranked Lions had other plans, passing several West runners in the final 100 meters of the 4-kilometer race.
"They wanted to win," West coach Mike Parker said of the Lions.
West beat Linn-Mar by 56 points at the Mississippi Valley Conference Super Meet just two weeks ago
on the same course. But the Lions stacked up well in a smaller meet. Carolyn Newhouse won the race in 14 minutes, 41.15 seconds
for Linn-Mar. West's Molly Leveille was third in 15:03.90.
Brett Guerra was fifth, Pombie Silverman was seventh, Ashlynn Yokom was ninth, and Taylor Fehlberg
was 19th. Unfortunately, Linn-Mar grabbed the fourth, sixth, 14th and 15th places, respectively.
Despite the setback, West still will travel to the state meet Oct. 30 in Fort Dodge and still plans
"We just have to have the desire, and that we really believe in ourselves," Leveille said. "We can
do it, we all have to work together and fight as a whole team."
Team scores -- 1. Linn-Mar 36; 2. West High 38; 3. Cedar Rapids Washington 68; 4. Cedar Rapids Xavier
116; 5. Cedar Rapids Prairie 131; 6. Muscatine 167; 7. Waterloo West 184; 8. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 217.
Susan Harman • Iowa City
Press-Citizen • October 8, 2010
West High finished second.The Women
of Troy were led by sophomore Molly Leveille's seventh-place finish. Brett Guerra was 11th, Taylor Fehlberg 14th, Ashlynn
Yokum 15th and Pombie Silverman 18th. Fehlberg is the only senior of the bunch.
"It's pretty tough to fight by yourself,"
Leveille said of her final mile. She cut 11 seconds off her time from the C.R. Invitational while trying to challenge the
leaders. Yokum cut an incredible 52 seconds and Silverman six.
"We've had really good practices," Leveille said. "Solid
teamwork and everyone's trying really hard to pick up the pace and close the gap."
-- 1. City High 32, 2. West High 65, 3. Cedar Falls 74, 4. Linn-Mar 121, 5. C.R. Washington 123, 6. Dubuque Wahlert 142,
7. C.R. Kennedy 163, 8. Dubuque Senior 182, 9. Dubuque Hempstead 250, 10. C.R. Xavier 251, 11. C.R. Prairie 291, 12. Waterloo
West 361, 13. C.R. Jefferson 408.
Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • September 29, 2010
West swept the boys
and girls team titles at the University of Iowa cross country course. The fourth-ranked West girls beat unranked Kennedy by
34 points. Fifth-ranked Bettendorf was third despite having the top two individual finishers, Mahnee Watts and Megan Nickles.
The West girls were
led by Molly Leveille in fourth and Pombie Silverman in seventh. The Women of Troy placed five in the top 19 even without
Brett Guerra running.
West had a slightly
different philosophy in place after the Cedar Rapids Invitational when City High and Pleasant Valley started strong and stayed
strong to finish ahead of West. When the two Bettendorf leaders took off, the Trojans weren’t about to let them disappear
into the sunset.
“You have to acknowledge that they’re getting out there,” Molly
Leveille said. “So we have to always keep them at a good distance. We want to make sure we can catch anyone we want
in the first mile. Then you want to keep on increasing your place in the last half of the race.”
to get a good position in the first mile and keep that,” Pombie Silverman said. “You have to look ahead to the
person in front of you and just try to get to them as fast as you can.”
Team scores –
1. West High 55, 2. Kennedy 89, 3. Bettendorf 95, 4. Pekin 96, 5. Mount Vernon-Lisbon 132, 6. Marshalltown 133, 7. Regina
141, 8. Muscatine 197, 9. Lone Tree 208, 10. Mount Pleasant 266.
West High – 4. Molly
Leveille 15:10.04, 7. Pombie Silverman 15:28.05, 11. Ashlynn Yokum 15:42.33, 14. Bridget Novak 15:49.43, 19. Taylor Fehlberg
15:57.17, 25. Leah Murray 16:13.36, 42. Kate Anstreicher 17:00.89.
September 25, 2010
West Girls Get 2nd at Rim Rock!
The Women of Troy placed 2nd at the Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence, Kansas. Sophomore
Molly Leveille placed 7th in 15:35 to lead the team with Pombie Silverman placing 21st, Taylor Fehlberg placing 38th, Bridget
Novak 40th, Ashlynn Yokom 48th and Leah Murray getting 103rd in a 27 team meet that had teams from 5 states.
by Top 5 finishes from Pombie Silverman and Molly Leveille, the Women of Troy finished second at the 22-team Roosevelt Heartland
Classic on Saturday at the Central College Cross Country Course in Pella.
Catholic won the girls race with 45 points, and West High was second with 63. Silverman finished fourth. Madison Waymire of
Dallas Center-Grimes won the race in 14:42.
JV team won with Lili Agrell leading the team to a first place finish in the race. Annie Schaeckenbach was 5th, Kate Anstreicher
and Jody Eckman were 10th & 11th respectively and Emily Starman finished 14th to round out the top 5, powering the team
to a 16 point victory.
team scores -- 1. Dowling Catholic 45; 2. West High 63; 3. Ankeny 112; 4. West Des Moines Valley 159; 5. Johnston 185; 6.
Shawnee Miss. NW (Kan.) 199; 7. Linn-Mar 249; 8. Des Moines Roosevelt 255; 9. Indianola 278; 10. Blue Valley North (Kan.)
281; 11. Pella 324; 12. Shawnee Miss. South (Kan.) 338; 13. Ottumwa 348; 14. Dallas Center-Grimes 353; 15. Eastview (Minn.)
369; 16. Bellevue West (Neb.) 390; 17. Fremont (Neb.) 397; 18. Millard North (Neb.) 407; 19. Omaha Marian (Neb.) 462; 20.
Des Moines Hoover 639; 21. Lincoln North Star (Neb.) 659; 22. Des Moines East 693.
5 -- 1. Madison Waymire (DCG) 14:42; 2. Nicole Criner (WDMV) 14:49; 3. Karissa Schweizer (Dowling) 15:06; 4. Pombie Silverman
(West) 15:16; 5. Molly Leveille (West) 15:17.
-- 4. Silverman 15:16; 5. Leveille 15:17; 16. Brett Guerra 15:38; 17. Taylor Fehlberg 15:39; 21. Ashlynn Yokum 15:45.
West's Molly Leveille places 3rd in 15:19 to lead the Women of Troy at the Luther Invite
in Decorah today and all 5 girls were in the top 17 to take home the team title. Annie Schaeckenbach gets 4th in the JV race
to lead her team to 2nd place. Both teams had great performances less than 48 hours from the Cedar Rapids Invitational meet
West High placed third, just six points behind Pleasant
Valley. The Women of Troy were led by Taylor Fehlberg's 10th -place finish. Molly Leveille was 12th, Brett Guerra 13th and
Pombie Silverman 15th. "We didn't run well today, and our competitors ran great," West coach Mike Parker said. "I thought our
up-front four girls, especially our top three, were pretty tight. No. 4 was right in there. That gives us some hope, but in
cross country, four doesn't make any difference. It all rides on the fifth runner."
VARSITY GIRLS Team scores -- 1. City High
48, 2. Pleasant Valley 71, 3. West High 77, 4. Bettendorf 91, 5. Wahlert 166, 6. Washington 166, 7. Linn-Mar 181, 8. Kennedy
188, 9. Xavier 238, 10. Ames 282, 11. Prairie 317, 12. North Scott 355, 13. Davenport West 372, 14. Muscatine 375, 15. Marion
439, 16. Jefferson 489, 17. Davenport Central 556. Individual leaders -- 1 Rebecca Rethwisch (C) 14: 44.75,
2. Maddie Reynolds (PV) 14:49.23, 3. Erin Danielson (C) 14:59.98, 4. Mahnee Watts (Bett) 15: 00.75, 5. Meg Richardson
West High -- 10. Taylor Fehlberg 15:21.42, 12. Molly Leveille 15:24.27, 13. Brett Guerra 15:25.35, 15.
Pombie Silverman 15:46.16, 32. Bridget Novak 16:13.97, 45. Ashlynn Yokum 16:32.62, 50. Annie
Mike Parker (16th season). Last year's finish: Third in Class 4A.
Returning letter winners (6): Brett Guerra, jr.; Molly
Leveille, so.; Bridget Novak, sr.; Alissa Rothman, sr.; Pombie Silverman, so.; Taylor Fehlberg, sr. Outlook: The Women of Troy have all five top runners
back from last year's state meet and are hungry to reclaim their past glory. Freshman Molly Leveille led the team at state
with eighth place a year ago. Senior Taylor Fehlberg and Bridget Novak were 18th and 22nd, respectively, junior Brett Guerra
was 26th despite fighting the flu, and senior Alissa Rothman was 33rd. Pombie Silverman ran at the regional meet as a freshman
for Guerra, but she won last week's time trial and has been at the front of the pack in practice. She qualified for the
1,500- and 3,000 meters at the state track meet in the spring and has improved significantly from last year, coach Mike Parker
somebody I suspect will run up front," he said. "She really got after it during the winter." Sophomore Ashley Knudson is another likely addition
to the varsity, having run at state track on the fourth-place 4x800 relay. "I suspect no one will be our top runner at every meet,"
Defending champion West Des Moines Dowling lost first- and second-place state runners Katie Flood and
Ashlie Decker to graduation, leaving the Class 4A race wide open. And West earned the top spot in the preseason rankings.
The IATC rankings came out on August 19th and the West Girls team is ranked #1 in the
preseason poll. The Dyestat/Espn Rise Fab 50 rankings put the Iowa City West girls team is ranked 43rd in the nation. The
team will compete in the Cedar Rapids Prairie Invitational on August 28th at 8:30 am.
She treasures the beaches around Miami, her new home.
And before she departed for a two-sport career at Florida International University, a journey that begins when the FIU
volleyball season opens this month, she routinely found gold in the sand of long jump pits in Iowa, winning two state championships
and two Drake Relays titles.
It was a run of glory that wasn’t supposed to happen for Gehrke, the 2010 Gazette Female Athlete of the Year. It
happened when her high jumping leveled off late in her freshman season at Iowa City West.
“She just wasn’t progressing in the high jump. She was stuck at 4-10 and 5 feet,” said Mike Parker, girls’
track and field coach. “The day before the conference championships, I told her to meet me at the sand. We got down
there, and I told her to jump as far as she could. She jumped, and nobody could believe it.
“I went to my assistant coach and told her that Jess would not be high jumping the next day.”
The next day was the Mississippi Valley Conference divisional meet. Gehrke won the long jump in her first competition with
a school-record leap of 17 feet, 2 inches.
In her second competition at the regional meet, she won at 17-6. In her third competition at the state meet, she was the
runner-up at 17-10. She didn’t win that day, but she took her first step toward stardom.
By the time she was done, she’d won six outdoor state titles — in the long jump and the 100 as a junior, then
repeated in those two events and also won the 200 and the 400 relay as a senior — as West won three Class 4A state titles
during the Gehrke Era.
Iowa City West's Jessica Gehrke (3) and Lexi Potter (7) react to their win over Kennedy in the 4A
semifinal match at the state tournament on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids. (Liz Martin/The
In volleyball, she as a two-time Elite all-stater at outside hitter. West reached the 4A state semifinals when Gehrke was
a junior, then lost to Ankeny in the championship match last fall.
“It’s been an absolute delight to watch Jess grow and mature,” said West volleyball coach Kathy Bresnahan.
“She’s one of the best athletes ever to come out of Iowa City, male or female.
“Just imagine if she was 6 feet tall.”
Gehrke stands 5-foot-9. Her vertical jump was measured at 30 1/2 inches when she was a junior.
Some of that athleticism came from quality genes. Her mother, Michelle Gehrke, was a volleyball player and javelin thrower
at Idaho State University, and her father, Derrius Loveless, played football at the University of Iowa.
But most of it came from time in the weight room and gym.
“I love lifting, and I love time in the gym,” Gehrke said. “Someday after college, I want to own my own
gym and work with younger athletes — help them work on their technique.”
Gehrke works hard to improve her body, harder to enhance her mind. Much harder.
Academics do not come easily for Gehrke, who battles attention deficit disorder. Spend time with Gehrke, and you’d
never know her struggles. She is well-spoken, giving “one of the best speeches I’ve ever witnessed” at the
track postseason banquet in May, Parker said.
“It takes me a lot to memorize something. I’m not good at math,” Gehrke said. “I spend every night
working on subjects — more time than the average student has to, let’s just say.
“Some nights, when I had track meets, I’d be up until 2 or 3 in the morning. There was just a lot of stuff
I had to do.”
Still, Gehrke maintained a grade-point average around 3.0 and elevated her ACT score high enough to qualify for FIU.
“It was a struggle, but she got through it,” said Gehrke’s mother. “She has tried so hard. She
has to work twice as hard as most kids to remember the information she reads.”
It will be a challenge juggling academics and two sports at the Division I level. Gehrke embraces it.
“I don’t think it’s going to be too bad,” she said. “It’s exciting to be part of two
teams in totally different sports.”
Iowa City West's Jessica Gehrke lands in the long jump pit during the first day of the 100th anniversary
Drake Relays at Drake Stadium on Thursday, April 23, 2009, in Des Moines. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
And they are different. In volleyball, you’re expected to lustfully celebrate each point. In high school, Gehrke
would be hoarse after a lengthy Saturday afternoon tournament. On the track, however, Parker nearly had to drag emotion out
“At the state meet, I begged her to celebrate, to be a little arrogant,” he said. “After she won the
100, I wanted her to turn to the West High crowd and at least wave. She didn’t. After the 200, I said, ‘Please
do something so I’ll be able to tell that you won.’
“I have a picture of her with her fist clenched at her stomach, with a smile on her face. I’ll keep that forever,
because that’s the full-fledged celebration of Jessica Gehrke.”
Now the smile is in Miami. With the sand.
Gehrke talks to her mother — “the closest person to me” — twice a day. She knows the athletic and
academic demands that lie ahead. But this is the life she chose. This is her dream.
“I want to win championships here,” she said. “But my No. 1 goal is to graduate, to get a quality education.”
Two Division I sports. Long road trips. Late nights. Tutors.
“It’s a pretty rare person that can pull it off,” Bresnahan said. “It’s going to be difficult,
but if anybody can do it, Jess can.”
Biography of Jessica Gehrke
School: Iowa City West
High school highlights: Won six individual/relay outdoor state championships
in track and field, leading the Women of Troy to Class 4A team titles in 2007, 2008 and 2010 … Won six indoor state
titles … She won three Drake Relays titles and holds West records in four events — the 100, 200, long jump and
400 relay … She anchored 400-meter relay that owns all-time Iowa best … Elite all-stater in volleyball in 2008
and 2009, leading West to a 4A runner-up finish last fall … Averaged 4.2 kills per game and posted a .417 kill efficiency
as a senior.
Future: Will compete in volleyball and track at Florida International
Jessica Gehrke: Press-Citizen's Female Athlete
By Susan Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • August 8, 2010 Some high school athletes who want
to continue their sports in college go to great lengths to get their names in front of coaches. Some hire advisers to help
them steer through the murky recruiting waters. Others send tapes, letters and knock on doors. One athlete who might seem unlikely
to take such a route is West High’s Jessica Gehrke. Consider her high school resume in two sports: *Three-time all-state
in volleyball (Elite team as a senior; twice first team); *Twice helped lead the volleyball team to
the state tournament, including a runner-up finish as a senior; *Six outdoor track state titles and two indoor
titles; *Four Drake Relays titles; *Key member of three state track team championships,
including anchoring state record-setting 4x100 relay as a senior. In fact, that resume made her the overwhelming
choice as the Press-Citizen’s girls athlete of the year for 2009-10. But it wasn’t enough for her to get an invitation
to continue her career where she always dreamed of playing. “It was her dream (to go to Florida).
The girl is a beach hound,” West volleyball coach Kathy Bresnahan said. “She’s just absolutely in her element
when she’s in that environment.” “She loves the beach,” said Michelle Gehrke, Jessica’s
mother. “She went down a couple times to Fort Lauderdale with the High Performance summer program that she’s been
on. During the Olympics she watched the beach volleyball girls play, and she thought that would be so cool to be in
a tropical climate. Florida has been a dream of hers ever since she was young.” Combine Gehrke’s dream of going
to college in Florida with her relatively short stature for a Division I hitter and her desire to compete in two different
sports and you have a whole different recruiting scenario even for one of the top handful of female athletes in the whole
state. The Gehrkes took nothing for granted, not even Jessica’s prodigious talents. They took
it upon themselves to sell a product that should have moved off the shelf with ease. “We did a recruiting video and
sent it out to, I don’t know, 10 different schools, kind of her dream schools that she thought would be cool to send
those to,” Michelle Gehrke said. “Because a lot of coaches don’t get up to Iowa.” With advice from
Bresnahan and club coaches and a review of other videos done to support the candidacies of former West High players, the Gehrkes
sought out a specialist to put the show together. “We did some drills, took videos of her doing
some hitting and some setting and serving and some digging,” Michelle said. “We also added something that I was
kind of nervous about putting in. She went to Fit2Live, which is a speed and agility and jump-training
gym that specializes in preparing kids to go on to the next level. So I took some video of her working out there, maybe just
a couple minutes, and we stuck it in the middle of these drills and some of her game footage.” Enter Danijela
Tomic, the volleyball coach at Florida International University in Miami. “Jessica sent us a DVD,” Tomic
said. “We did not see her before in a club tournament. We were very impressed with what we saw on the video. It’s
not hard to see the athleticism she has, the physical ability.” Tomic said the video was well done and specifically
cited the workouts that were shown as piquing her interest. But the process was highly unusual. Tomic doesn’t offer
players off videos, but this was a special case. “We just felt that the physical ability she had and knowing
she was a track star, we just felt that she had a really big potential to develop into a good volleyball player,” Tomic
said. FIU started to recruit Gehrke. “When she came on a visit I think she really enjoyed the campus and the coaches, and
it was a good fit for her and for us,” Tomic said. “We offered her a scholarship after the visit, and we saw her
play after that, after she committed. Sometimes you have to take risks in recruiting, but I don’t feel like that was
a risk because of her physical ability.” FIU wasn’t scared away by Gehrke’s height
(5-foot-10). She is a front-line hitter, but she’s not 6-foot tall, a sort of Division I minimum for most coaches. It’s
the single reason her scholarship offers didn’t match up with her high school accomplishments. “I think
they are projecting her as an outside hitter. She’s going to be really undersized,” Bresnahan said. “The
thing about Jess is she’s a gamer. The bigger the game, the more she stepped up. Some kids don’t want that position.
I think she’ll just look at it as a challenge.
“She was such a smart player. She wasn’t
the hardest hitter in the state by any means. She probably wasn’t the hardest hitter on our team. But she was the smartest
Tomic, however, has had experience
with undersized hitters. She coached a four-time all-American, Yarimar Rosa, who was 5-9. Rosa concluded her career in 2009
as the school’s all-time leader in kills and digs. “We watched (Rosa) play, and Jess was
very impressed with her,” Michelle said. “Jess said, ‘Mom, I’m taller than her,” and that really
inspired her that she can do this. She saw her hit past 6-3 girls.” “It’s great to have tall kids,
but if those tall kids can’t move it really doesn’t help,” Tomic said. “It’s how big can you
play? We can have a 5-9, 5-10 kid who can jump and who is very fast and makes up for the height. With our experience with
Yarimar Rosa, being on the shorter side, but who jumped well over 10 feet…. We think with Jessica’s track experience
and her jump and speed and everything that’s not a big issue for us.” The final prong of the Gehrke dilemma
was combining volleyball with track at the Division I level. She will be the first of Tomic’s recruits to try the double
duty, and Tomic isn’t really sure how it will work. But she was willing to let Gehrke give it a go. “What’s
the hardest is that in the spring when she would compete with the track team that’s the time we actually develop our
players. It’s when we work individually with them,” Tomic said.And Tomic is eager to work with Gehrke on some technical aspects. She wants to
change her arm swing and change her passing techniques, issues that are common among freshmen. But that takes time. So does
her school work and so will track, a sport in which Gehrke harbors Olympic aspirations. “We have to figure out how to do that so neither sport suffers,” Tomic said. Michelle thinks her daughter can make it work. “She’s
better with more structure and less free time,” Michelle said, noting her daughter is looking forward to being involved
with two different groups of athletes and coaches.
Jessica has been in Miami since June 16, going through orientation, beginning classes and working
out. At least she no longer has to dabble in movie-making.
The West High girls track team took command early and didn't let up at the Mississippi Valley
Conference Mississippi Division meet Friday at Waterloo Memorial Stadium.
The Women of Troy topped City High by 40
points, winning with 200.
The two teams met at last Saturday's Coleman Relays, but the margin for West there was just
"It makes me feel good," West's Ally Disterhoft said. "It shows that our whole team has been working so
hard, and it's really starting to pay off for us. Everybody just performed the best they could. I'm so proud of everybody
right now. I think this will make us pretty confident going in (to next Friday's regional meet)."
Disterhoft won the
800 meters and anchored the second-place 4x400 relay.
Micaela Haight was a double winner for West, taking the shot
put and discus. With cold and windy conditions, her throws of 40 feet, 4½ inches and 132-1 weren't close to personal bests,
but they were good enough.
"Shot put, I wanted to do a lot better than what I did," she said. "I wasn't happy with
how I did at all. I wanted to get at least 43 (feet). That didn't happen, but it's OK. Discus, I was actually pretty pleased
with how I did. I have been throwing a lot better lately, and that were pretty good for me."
Courtney Fritz was second
in the discus for West and third in the shot put.
Gehrke, last year's state champion in the 100, actually finished
third behind teammate McKenna Cronbaugh. Though she won the long jump and anchored the 4x100 relay to a big win, she wasn't
happy with herself in the sprints.
"My leg's a little tight today and it's kind of affected me," Gehrke said. "I'm
just a little disappointed in myself. But that relay really topped it off at the end. I was happy that we could pull it through.
It's good for the team. And jumping was all right."I just felt like I didn't warm up at all, even though I did."
Williams ran on the winning 4x100, 4x200 and sprint medley relays for West."I just tried to run as fast as I could and get
the best time," Williams said. "I'm not really worried about what place we were. I was just running to get a (personal record)
also won the shuttle hurdle relay.
Team scores -- 1. West High 200; 2. City High 160; 3. Dubuque Wahlert 88; 4. Cedar
Rapids Kennedy 5 8; 5. Waterloo West 40; 6. Dubuque Hempstead 27; 7. Cedar Rapids Xavier 14.
Winners West place-winners:
Long jump -- 1. Jessica Gehrke (W) 17-4; 3. Elizabeth Ebot (W) 16-3; Shot
put -- 1. Micaela Haight (W) 40-4½; 3. Courtney Fritz (W) 37-4½;
Discus -- 1. Haight (W) 132-1; 2. Courtney Fritz
Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • May 2, 2010 The Forwald/Coleman Relays turned into a girls
triangular after a one-day weather-induced postponement forced the meet into a midday Saturday affair. West High won 10 events
to seven for City High, and the Women of Troy won the meet by 5.5 points. West's Jessica Gehrke continued her winning
ways, sweeping the 100, 200, long jump and anchoring the winning 4x100. Courtney Fritz, the defending state champion,
won the discus with a personal-best throw of 142 feet, 10 inches, and teammate Michaela Haight was second with her best
throw of 137-9. Haight, who also won the shot put, improved by 8-feet, 1-inch while Fritz's best previously was 139-1. "The wind was
coming from the right, so that's always a positive," Fritz said. "I hit my positions today, so I think that had a lot to do
with it. "It's definitely a positive. I have big goals for myself and I know that I can accomplish
my goals, but I needed a confidence booster and today helped a lot."
Disterhoft got out early and took the
lead but Stephenson passed the West freshman with about 300 meters to go and seemed to take control before Disterhoft surged
in the final straightaway and pulled ahead to stay. "I knew I had run a good first 400, and then I just
had to run my pace as best I could," Disterhoft said. "If someone passed me, then don't let them get out too far and kick
it at the end. I knew there were some good girls in this event. The last 100 you just give it all you have left because
that's all you have left. You just have to know you can do it." West sophomore Jessica Shull won the 400,
her long strides holding off Pleasant Valley's Brooke Bierhaus. "I try to go my hardest and get a really good
200 time," Shull said. "Then just hang on." West's Natalie Mason and Rebecca Tanner tied for first in the
Forwald/Coleman Relays Team results
(only four places scored) -- 1. West High 83.5, 2. City High 78, 3. Pleasant Valley 26.5. Individual results (winner, City, West placewinners) High jump--4. Ashley Weinschenk (W)
Long jump--1. Jessica Gehrke (W) 17-2.25,
Shot put--1. Micaela Haight (W) 43-3.5, 2. Courtney Fritz (W) 38-3.5,
Discus--1. Courtney Fritz (W) 142-10, 2. Micaela
Haight (W) 137-9, 3
MOINES A lot of things can go wrong in a 4x100 relay. Not as many as in the shuttle hurdle relay, for sure, but still there
are four starts and three handoffs.
West High girls were seven-for-seven, thereby making a dangerous event look seamless as they raced around the Drake Stadium
track in the fastest time in Iowa history and won a Drake Relays championship.
Cronbaugh, Chloe Hoagland, Shahana Williams and Jessica Gehrke finished in 48.10 seconds, breaking their own 22-hour old meet
record of 48.29 and the year-old Iowa mark set by Waukee (48.15).
think it felt that fast," Gehrke said. Then she tried to explain why she and her teammates were a blur around the oval.
depend on each other," Gehrke said. "We got out to a good start and we know we had good handoffs. It was all the way around
the first one in the press room, was then mobbed by her three compatriots, who were in danger of stabbing each other with
their Drake Relays flags as they performed a group hug.
may seem a little early to be that smooth with all the handoffs, but not for the Women of Troy, who practice them constantly.
thought our handoff was amazing," Cronbaugh said of her delivery to Hoagland.
tape blew away," Hoagland said of the tape she used to mark her starting point for the exchange. "We've done it so many times
that you know where it's supposed to be."
was the same as every time we practice it," Cronbaugh said.
to Williams might have been a problem, but it turned out not to be.
thought I started too soon, but then no, she got it to me," Williams said.
looked like she just took off fast," Hoagland said. "Like she went out faster than she usually does, which is good. I caught
her. It made me want to drive harder to catch her. We just trust each other that we'll get it."
to Gehrke was smooth as well. West works to get the handoff to Gehrke as quickly as possible within the passing zone.
have different steps to take," Gehrke said. "I run actually 110 meters in stead of 100."
had the lead at the exchange and kept it with a strong finish as Xavier finished second in 48.72.
was going crazy," Williams said of watching the finish.
running a Relays record in the preliminaries Friday night, the Women of Troy were motivated for this performance.
the beginning, we have this little huddle and talk about what we want to do," Gehrke said. "We talk about our ultimate goal
in every race pretty much."
get each other all pumped up," Williams said.
our best. It's Chloe's and my last time at Drake in high school so we wanted to go out strong," Gehrke said.
MOINES—Jessica Gehrke had a full itinerary Friday morning at the Drake Relays. The West High senior successfully defended
her championship in the long jump while qualifying for the 100 meters and then running in the finals a bit later.
“It’s an honor to be here and be with all the girls and compete against
them,” Gehrke said.
captured the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, one-quarter inch. The jump came on her final jump of the preliminaries and
came in a driving rain.
was blowing in your face today,” Gehrke said of the wind. “I try not to focus on it and just focus on my next
jump. I know I’ve prepared for this, any weather, any day. I just know nothing will stop me from what I’m doing
and accomplishing my goal.”
though it wasn’t up to her best jump this season (18-4.5) nor her personal best mark (18-11.25), she won the event handily.
Runner-up Anna Wernimont of Atlantic jumped 17-4.25.
did the best that I could today with everything that was here and with everything I’m doing,” Gehrke said. “It’s
going to be pretty crazy with this weather today.”
said she tried not to adjust her steps for the wind and rain.
worked on going faster to the board, getting the speed up,” she said. “It’s hard to keep your body warm.
I just tried to keep warm in between.”
had to work hard to keep the board clear of moisture so the jumpers could lift off. One of the competitors fell when she planted
on the board.
started her day by qualifying for the finals of the open 100 at 8:30 a.m. She ran 12.56 seconds, third best among the qualifiers.
Then she headed to the long jump at 9:30. The field events took as long as two hours to complete in the adverse weather.
High had the state’s best time this season in the sprint-medley relay coming into the meet, but Gehrke wasn’t
available to help and the Women of Troy finished ninth Friday.
was right in the middle of the long jump and I was supposed to run the (400 leg),” she said. “I also have the
4x100 (preliminaries) too (at 5:30).”
finished second in the open 100 to Dike-New Hartford star Hannah Willms, whose long strides wiped out Gehrke’s lead
about halfway through the race. Willms finished in 12.36, while Gehrke’s time was 12.63. Gehrke was also second a year
knew I was behind Gehrke most of the way,” Willms said. “Then I was like, ‘just push it.’”
anchored the winning sprint medley relay less than two hours before the open 100.
was hard,” she said of coming back that quickly. “I was kind of tired, but once my legs stopped hurting I knew
I had just wo races left today, so just go out there and do it. It’s only a 100.”
Willms and Gehrke will play Division I volleyball in college. Willms will play at Iowa State and Gehrke at Florida International,
but both are among their school’s finest track athletes. Willms won the high jump Thursday with a nation-leading jump
of 6-1, so she won all three events in which she competed.
Haight joins her sister on list of champions
MOINES -- The Drake Relays might have to change the format for its program in the future. The program lists former champions
in each event by their last names and performance.
senior Micaela Haight is going to cause a lot of head scratching after winning the high school girls shot put championship
because there's another Haight from the same school who won three consecutive titles in the event from 2005-07.
Micaela wasn't a precocious middle-schooler, nor was she held back. But yes, she did have a sister (Danica) who won three
flags before her, and sometimes having that kind of competition within your own family can stunt growth instead of encourage
so with the Haights.
is a champion in her own right. She is the defending Class 4A champion in the event and had the best throw in the state coming
into the Relays at 44 feet, 1 inch.
Thursday Haight had to come from behind after Urbandale's Margo Shandri took the lead after the three preliminary throws.
Shandri had a throw of 43-8 to Haight's 43-6.75.
was interested to see how she was going to respond to that today," West throwing coach Brad Wymer said.
knew I had three more throws, so I wasn't that worried," Haight said.
Haight's fifth throw, she took the lead with a high-arching throw toward the left line that went 44-3.50.
was working really hard on getting my toe down and pushing off my toe and driving back into it," Haight said. "I was really
focusing on that and just trying to drive it up high. My other ones were pretty low.
good (for it to go left). It means I'm getting over my left shoulder. That's what I've been trying to work on lately. It went
a little farther than usual."
responded with her best throw (43-11.75), but it wasn't quite enough to catch Haight.
had a nice series of throws today, several of them in the high 42s and 43s, and I knew if she would hit that she would jump
into the lead," Wymer said. "Her last warm-up throw (in the finals) she did it. It was over 45, and that got her excited.
She did better with it in the finals."
had four entrants in the girls shot put competition. Cara Jansen was 10th, Courtney Fritz 16th and Christiana Fairfield 21st.
came into the meet thinking she had to get to at least 43 feet.
I hit that 43, I wanted to get to 44," she said.
real frontier is 47 feet.
need to drive more in front and get faster with the glide," Haight said.
West's coach Wymer the key
MOINES -- On Thursday, two of Brad Wymer's pupils came home with Drake Relays' flags, emblematic of championships won. A pretty
think?" Wymer responded with a touch of sarcasm. "I'm just elated. I'm tickled. I'm so happy for the kids to have things come
together in a big meet. That's what a coach hopes for. They are all so hard working. It's nice to see that hard work pay dividends."
Gannon won the boys' discus, the third West High boy to win the event in the last five years. Micaela Haight won the girls'
shot put, the fourth such title for the Women of Troy since 2005.
definitely Wymer. I think he's the best coach in the state," Gannon said. "All the other coaches come and talk to him all
the time. We had four girls qualify in shot put. It's definitely all him."
That's all I can say," Haight said in answer to a question about West High's dominance in the throwing events. "He's amazing.
Best coach you can get.
helps me to stay calm. He pushes us a lot, but he knows not to like over-push us. He knows when we can't do anymore. We work
really hard all the time in the morning and at night after school. We come in for morning weights, Monday, Wednesday, Friday
at 6 o'clock, and then we have two-hour practices or more after school. Then we watch tape and stuff after school."
will play football at Iowa State, but he probably could do track pretty easily. Haight will go to Iowa in the throws just
like two former West High boys' throwers, Nick Brayton and Thomas Reynolds.
West's Courtney Fritz, another Iowa recruit, will try to add a Drake discus championship to her 4A state title in the event.
The Women of Troy won 4 events, placed 2nd in 11 events and set one school record at the
75th Annual Jesse Day Relays in Davenport. Jessica Gehrke won the Long Jump with a leap of 18-1 1/2 and the 100M in a time
of 12.25, Micaela Haight won the Shot Put with a toss of 44-4 and Molly Leveille won the 1500 for West. Natalie Mason was
3rd in the 100 M H but finsihed in a new school record time of 15.46. The Women of Troy head to Ottumwa for the Don Newell
Classic on Tuesday and then to the Drake Relays on Thursday-Friday and Saturday.
11, 2010 Jessica Gehrke turned heads again
on Saturday, winning the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 3 ½ inches at the J-Hawk Relays.
Gehrke also won the
100 and ran anchor on the winning 4x400 team."It was one of her best days," West coach Mike Parker said. "Her split was her
fastest time ever and the best 4x400 in the state so far and the best time we've
ran in many years."
The 4x400 -- which also included Ally Disterhoft, Shahana Williams and McKennan Cronbaugh -- was
timed at 4:01.17.
West also got event winners from Micaela Haight (shot put), Courtney Fritz (discus) and the 4x800
team of Ally Disterhoft, Whitney Schuette, Brett Guerra and Molly Leveille.
West won with
133½ points over second-place Cedar Falls (86). After winning their home meet Thursday, Parker challenged the team to
get up again Saturday.
"I told them I don't want to hear anyone complaining in a few weeks, when we want Saturday to
be the day we have a great performance after a Thursday, Friday meet.
scores -- 1. West High 133½; 2. Cedar Falls 86; 3. C.R. Washington 64; 4. C.R. Jefferson 50; 5. C.R. Prairie 37½; 6. C.R.
Xavier 36; 7. C.R. Kennedy 28; 8. Linn-Mar 26.
Winner, West placewinners
Shot put -- 1. Micaela Haight (W) 41-4
½; 2. Cara Jansen (W) 37-10 ¼.
Discus -- 1. Courtney Fritz (W) 129-7; 5. Micaela Haight (W) 105-7.
-- 1. Jessica Gehrke (W) 18-3 ½; 5. Elizabeth Ebot (W) 16-3.
Susan Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • April 9, 2010
The two-day, weather-induced
postponement of the Women of Troy Relays cost the meet three teams and about 30 degrees in temperature, but the result would
have been the same either way.
West High dominated the five-team meet, winning 14 of 19 events and finishing 1-2 in
five of those events."We have a lot of goals for ourselves," West coach Mike Parker said. "They are very, very high goals.
Our girls are determined to not lose here or anywhere else."Senior Jessica Gehrke won the 100 meters and the long jump
and anchored the winning sprint medley. Gehrke, running her first 100 of the year, won while freshman McKennan Cronbaugh
finished third."She's so fast; she makes me want to be so much faster and try to keep up with her," Cronbaugh said of
her teammate. "She is the one that pushes me."Cronbaugh, who also ran in the sprint medley, said she can easily track Gehrke,
the reigning state champ in the event, "because she's in bright yellow."
Gehrke seemed to get out better than the rest
of the field."I was pretty pleased with my start," Gehrke said. "I'm been practicing it for a couple weeks now since I haven't
run. I was kind of nervous because it was cold that my leg would act up again. It hasn't acted up since (the state indoor
Gehrke anchored West's winning sprint medley, but it was an interesting race to say the least. Gehrke passed
Xavier anchor Kate Steingreaber on the back straightaway seemingly leaving the Saints' runner in her dust. But once Gehrke
reached the final 100, Steingreaber started to catch up. The race was nearly a photo finish with Gehrke barely holding off
the hard-charging Xavier runner.
Parker thinks Cronbaugh will eventually be a star, and she has the advantage of having
Gehrke and Shahana Williams as sprinting role models."Jess does a great job with those other girls in kind of bringing them
along to understand what it means to feel pressure when you're in the blocks and still perform," Parker said.
Brett Guerra and freshman Molly Leveille split the two distance races for West. Guerra won the 3,000 and was second in the
1,500. Leveille won the 1,500 by coming from behind in the final 70 meters to pass Guerra.
"They're both mad they
didn't win the other one," Parker said, smiling.
West's hurdlers won the shuttle relay in a season-best time, and Natalie
Mason and Rebecca Tanner finished 1-2 in the 100 hurdles. Mason's time was a meet record 15.90 seconds.
"We held (Mason)
out the entire indoor season with a little pain in her foot," Parker said. "This is only her second meet of the year."
Micaela Haight, the defending state champion
in the shot put, won the event with a season-best throw of 44-1. West junior Cara Jansen was second. West had the top four
finishers in the event as the Women of Troy fielded two separate teams.
"All four of those throws should be Drake (qualifying)
throws," Parker said. "Micaela's 44 feet is the best throw in the state as well."
Courtney Fritz, the defending
state champ in the discus, won the event although none of the throwers reached 130 feet on the cold, windy night. Fritz
has thrown 135 feet this season so far but won with a toss of 128-4. Haight was third.
West dominated the relays too,
winning the 4x800, the shuttle, distance medley, sprint medley, 4x200 and 4x100.
Freshmen Ashley Knudson and Ally Disterhoft
were 1-2 in the 800 meters.
"It didn't matter who was here," Parker said. "We competed at the level we wanted to compete
WOMEN OF TROY RELAYS
Team scores -- 1. West High 242, 2. Linn-Mar 94, 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 81, 4. Cedar
Rapids Prairie 79.33, 5. Cedar Rapids Xavier 58.66, 6. West High Green 25, 7. Cedar Rapids Prairie Black 5, 8. Linn-Mar Red
High jump -- 1. Kristen Huebsch (K) 4-10, 2. Ashley Weinschenk (W) and Sara Strauel (LM) 4-10, 4. Alex Bartz
(LM), Rachel Peters (P), Molly Gunn (X) 4-10.
Shot put -- 1. Micaela Haight (W) 44-1, 2. Cara Jansen (W) 40-8, 3. Courtney
Fritz (W) 39-8, 4. Christina Fairfield (W) 38-9, 5. DaBryanna Miller (P) 34-3, 6. Katie Sickelka (K) 33-2.
April 1st, 2010
Women of Troy have strong showing at Muscatine Relays
The Varsity and JV teams both won the meet and finished 1st in 7 events on Thursday for our
first outdoor meet. Freshman McKennan Cronbaugh was a triple gold medalist in the Varsity division winning the 100, 200 and
anchoring the 4x100. The Distance Medley team of Morgan Roskos, Gabby Weber, Jessica Shull and Ally Disterhoft won in 4:24.46.
Other Varsity winners were Shahana Williams in the 400, Micaela Haight in the shot put and the 4x400 team of Disterhoft, Weber,
Shull and Whitney Schuette. The JV winners were
Courtney Fritz in the Shot Put, Nicole Titus in the Discus, Paola Jarmillo-Guayara in the 100,
Annie Schaeckenbach in the 3000 and 1500 and Caroline Van Voorhis in the HJ. The Women of Troy relays is on Thursday the 8th
at 5pm at the West High Track.
Jessica Gehrke succesfully defended her title in the 60 Meters and anchored the 4X100 and
4x200 to victories at the State Indoor meeet on Tuesday. Micaela Haight won the shot put with a toss of 41-9 and Cara Jansen
was 3rd in a lifetime best of 40-10. The 4x100 and 4x200 crowned the same runners in both events as champions with McKennan
Cronbaugh, Chloe Hoagland, Shahana Williams and Jessica Gehrke running those relays. The 4x100 won by 2 seconds and the 4x200
by 4 seconds !! The 4x800 team of Jess Shull, Brett Guerra, Whitney Schuette and Ashley Knudson placed 2nd in a great
time of 9:49. The team starts their outdoor season on Thursday, April 1st at the Muscatine Relays in Muscatine!!
The West High team won 2 field events and 4 running events at the Central College
Indoor on Saturday. Micaela Haight won the shot put with a toss of 40-6 in front of West's Cara Jansen and Courntey Fritz
who went 2-3. Jess Gehrke won the Long Jump in 17-8 remaining unbeaten. Jess also took the 55 meters and Brett Guerra raced
to a win in the 800 over teammates Jess Shull and Ally Disterhoft who were 2nd and 3rd. Freshman Molly Leveille won the 1500
by 10 seconds and freshman McKennan Cronbaugh took the 200 Meters in 27.12 and also finshed a very close 3rd to West's Shahana
Williams in the 55 behind Gehrke.
West heads to the Indoor State Championships on Tuesday at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls where Gehrke will try and defend
her 60 M and Long Jump title. The 4x200 and 4x100 also have the fastest times in the state going into the meet. The meet starts
March 16th, 2010
West High team wins 7 Events at MVC Conference Meet!
Cara Jansen 38-7.50 2nd
Courtney Fritz 38-6.50 3rd
Micaela Haight 37-8.50 4th
Zascha Bell 32-4 7th
Jessica Gehkre 18-4.50 1st
Elizabeth Ebot 15-0 6th
Griffin Reed 4-10 4th
Ashley Weinschenk 4-8 8th tie
Caroline VanVoorhis 4-8 8th tie
Hannah Skopec 12:15.32 7th
4x800 9:51.24 1st
Taylor Fehlberg, Molly Leveille, Nicole Jensen, Brett Guerra
The West High girls had an exceptional night at the ISU Classic winning the 4x800, Sprint Medley,
Long Jump and 60M Dash on Monday night. Jessica Shull, Ally Disterhoft, Ashley Knudson and Whitney Schuette took the 4x800
in 9:49.71 and the Sprint Medley team of Shahana Williams, Chloe Hoagland, Jessica Gehrke, McKennan Cronbaugh won in 1:53.53.
Jessica Gehrke was a triple gold medalist winning the Long Jump in 17-3 and the 60 meters in 7.98.
High senior Jessica Gehrke recorded the fastest 60-meter indoor run in the country on Wednesday, blazing a 7.35 in the finals
at the Demon Indoor at the University of Iowa Recreation Center.West freshman McKennan Cronbaugh took second in the 60-meter
race with a time of 7.72 seconds. It was Gehrke's first action of the season.
Women of Troy also broke the meet record in the 4x800. Jessica Shull, Ally Disterhoft, Ashley Knudson and Whitney Schuette
set the new mark at 9:53.24. West
also won the distance medley, and freshman Shahana Williams won the 200 in 29.96.
Indoor Winner, local top eight High jump -- 1. Khanishah Williams (Burlington) 5- 3; 2.
Virginia Johnson (City) 5-2; 4. Mackenzie Bigbee (W'burg) 5-0; 6. Gina Montagna (WL) 5-0; 7. Kathy Kaalberg (WL) 4-10;
7. Stephanie Brooks 9City) 4-10. Shot put -- 1. Amanda Houston (Ft. Madison) 40- 2½; 2. Courtney Fritz (West) 39-9; 3. Cara Jansen (West) 39-1;
4. Dakotah Goodell (W'burg) 38-8½; 5. Michaela Haight (West) 38-7; 7. Kristen Gaffey (Regina) 37-3; 8. Kayla Hyche
(City) 34-4½. 60 hurdles -- 1.
Maddie Kirchner (Urbandale) 9.28; 4. Jasmine Smith (CCA) 9.56; 5. Rachel Jones (CCA) 9.59; 6. Rebecca Tanner (West)
9.60. 60 -- 1. Jessica Gehrke
(West) 7.35; 2. McKennan Cronbaugh (West) 7.72; 5. Chloe Hoagland (City) 7.85; 6. Brittany Nelson (City) 7.95; 8.
weaver (WL) 8.10. 4x800 -- 1. West (Jessica Shull, Ally Disterhoft, Ashley Knudson, Whitney Schuette)
9:53.24; 2. City (Jessica Yagla, Erin Danielson, Meg Richardson, E mily Fagan) 9:54.20; 6. Solon (Jaisa Miller, Amanda
Ulin, Alyssa Rickels, Maddy Walkner) 10:37.49; 7. Solon B (Lauren Benzing, Leah Adams, Mallory Carr, Bailey Kelsay)
10:48.11. 200 -- 1. Shahana Williams
(West) 29.96; 3. Kirsten Anderson (Solon) 28.02. 1,500 -- 1. Nicole Criner (WDMV) 4:49.59; 2. Meg Richardson (City) 4:59.67; 6. Molly Leveille (West)
5: 13.43; 7. Brett Guerra (West) 5:13.48. Distance medley -- 1. West (McKennan Cronbaugh, Jessica Gehrke, Katie Kelley, Whitney Schuette) 4: 27.43; 2. City
(Brittany Nelson, Kelsey Coleman, Tara Mills, Jill Stephenson) 4:30.95; 3. Solon (Courtney H olub, Kirsten Anderson,
Malinda Noska, Jaisa Miller) 4:36.33; 6. Williamsburg (Morgan Eckenrod, Emily Meade, Lindsay Schlabaugh, Cora Claypool)
4: 44.86. 4x400 -- 1. West
Des Moines Valley 4:14.30; 2. City (Ashley Wilkinson, Jordan Sullivan, Nicole Kuddes, Jessica Yagla) 4:19.09; 3. West
(Gabby Weber, Shahana Williams, Ashley Knudson, Rebecca Tanner) 4:28.05;
March 9, 2010
West Girls Win 4 Events at Demon Indoor!!
Jess Gehrke Fastest 60 in USA!!
The team made a great showing at the Demon Indoor Tuesday night in Iowa City winning 4 events
and setting 2 meet records. Jess Gehrke broke her own record twice to win the 60 meters in 7.35 which ranks as the number
1 time in the nation on DyeStat. Teammates McKennan Cronbaugh and Chloe Hoagland were also in the finals placing 2nd and 5th
respectively. The 4x800 team of Jess Shull, Ally Disterhoft, Ashley Knudson and Whitney Schuette won in 9:53 in a great race
against the defending state champions in that event. The field events also had a great night with PR's by Courtney Fritz(39-9)and
Cara Jansen (39-1) in the Shot Put placing 2nd and 3rd. Shahana Williams won the 200 and ran a great leg on the 4x400.
Freshman Ashley Knudson also helped the 4x400 place 3rd running a team pr in that event so far. The West team travels to the
ISU Classic on Monday in Ames and then to the MVC Indoor in Cedar Falls at the Uni Dome on Tuesday.
The West High Girls team won 7 events and placed 2nd in 7 more at the Luther College Indoor
meet. Chloe Hoagland won the 50 meters, Micalela Haight won the shot put, Gabby Weber won the Long Jump, Ashley Knudson won
the 600, Brett Guerra won the 3000, Taylor Fehlberg won the 800 and the 4 x 450 relay team of Lauren Bobst, Ally Disterhoft,
Jess Shull and Whitney Schuette also won. The team will run again next Tuesday at the Demon Indoor at the U of I Rec Building
starting at 5pm.
Head Coach Mike Parker has been chosen
as one of 8 finalists for the National High School Track and Field Coach of the Year award by the National High School Coaches
Association. The winner will be announced at the annual banquet on June 23rd in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Coach Parker was
picked for the final round out of 50 nominees from all around the country!! Congratulations to Coach Parker!!!
Head Coach Mike Parker was awarded by the Iowa High School Track
Coaches Association as At-Large Coach of the Year for Cross Country in 2009. This is the 9th time Coach Parker has been awarded
At-Large Coach of the Year in cross country by the IATC during his time at West.
Academic All-State Cross Country
Senior Cross Country members, Paige Engelhardt and Sara Stewart were awarded Academic
All-State by the IATC. Athletes have to meet the 4 criteria to receive the honor, must be a senior, 3.8 Cummlative GPA, 28
or higher on the ACT and placed in the top 20 at Districts and/or ran at the State Championships. Congratulations to these
girls for showing you can be great at academics and athletics!!
February 2, 2010
Haight and Fritz to Sign Letters of Intent
Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
Two West High track and field student-athletes will sign letters of intent this week to continue their academic and
athletic careers in college.
Throwers Michaela Haight and Courtney Fritz plan to sign with the Iowa track team. Haight is the state 4A shot put champion,
while Fritz is the state 4A discus champ. Each finished third in her specialty at the Drake Relays.
The two follow former teammates Danica Haight, Michaela's sister, and Taylor Freeman into Division I track and field. Danica
Haight is at Michigan and Freeman at Arizona and both were three-time prep all-Americans.
West High track coach Mike Parker thinks Fritz has a tremendous upside for someone who for much of her high school career
considered basketball her first love.
"The learning curve is going to be huge for her," Parker said. "I have such confidence in (Iowa throws) coach (Scott) Cappos.
In throwing, you've really got to hit it off with your event coach. It is so technical, and you've got to have this keen eye
to see this and not see that. He's one of the best in America. I think he saw in Courtney someone who's obviously not in the
top 25 in America, but he can see the talent."
Haight seemed like a natural from the beginning, qualifying for Drake as a freshman even though she was behind her sister
and Freeman and unable to compete in regular varsity meets the rest of the year. As a sophomore she competed in the shadow
of Freeman, one of the top throwers in Iowa history.
"Last year, she saw herself as 'I can be a state champion,'" Parker said.
Parker said Haight considered Central Florida as well as Iowa.
Sophomore Taylor Freeman heads an impressive group of underclassmen in 2010 in her second season wearing the red and blue.Freeman was an All-Region performer in the discus last season and qualified for the
Regional Championships in the shot put as well.Freeman finished just shy of
cracking into the 2009 NCAA Championships in the discus and also was just short of cracking Arizona’s all-time top 10
in the event, but those goals are well within reach this season.
Behind Freeman are a tandem of freshmen who could very well also find their names among the elite Arizona lists before
all is said and done.Canadian phenomenon Julie Labonte is a Junior Pan-American
Games medalist in the shot put and was the gold medal winner of the event at the 2009 Canada Games.
West Girls Third in Class 4A, Molly Leveille Gets 9th! Jon Klinkowitz Iowa City Press-Citizen
FORT DODGE -- There was just too much Maroon at Kennedy Park this year.
West Des Moines Dowling proved untouchable yet again Saturday at the state cross country meet, winning the Class 4A girls
race with 57 points.
Second-ranked City made it close, however, with 65. Third-ranked West High also put in an effort and finished third with
107. It was the same order of finish as a year ago.
Katie Flood and Ashlie Decker provided the 1-2 punch yet again, finishing first and second in a blistering 13:50 and 13:53,
respectively. Decker won the title last year, and Flood won in 2006 and 2007.
"I think we ran the best that we could. We laid everything out there," City's lead runner Rebecca Rethwisch said. "We didn't
go out crazy. We stuck to the plan. I think we ran a smart race. I think we did the best we could have done."
Rethwisch capped a great junior season by finishing fifth in 14:51. Freshman Erin Danielson returned to form after fighting
the flu for a few weeks with sixth place in 14:58.
"It went well, it was better than I expected," Danielson said. "I've slowly been trying to work back to where I was. I
just bounced back today.
"I feel everybody really ran well. We wanted first, but we were close."
While Rethwisch, Danielson and sophomore Meg Richardson will return, Saturday marked the end of the line for seniors Emily
Fagan (10th), Melanie Holman (19th) and Jill Stephenson (25th).
"We were really motivated today," Fagan said. "We laid it all out there, and I'm proud of all the work we did today. We
were closer than last year. Maybe next year will be it. We have a lot of people ready to step up."
The Women of Troy will return all but two runners next year and plan on being more healthy. Sophomore Brett Guerra, who
led the team most of the year, sat out the regional meet with the flu and was fighting shin splints. She returned to take
26th place in 15:36.
"It felt good to get back out there after not running districts," she said. "I tried to stay with my teammates as long
as I could. I gave it my all out there."
Freshman Molly Leveille led the team with eighth place in 14:59.
"It was really intense," she said. "It's a really big event, and this year the teams are really good. So it was really
Women of Troy win regional crown Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
BURLINGTON -- Freshman Molly Leveille spent the summer deciding if she had time to try cross country given that she was
committed to being in show choir. Her teammates and coach convinced her that she could manage both activities, and Leveille
has blossomed into a top-flight runner just when West needs her most.
Leveille led the Women of Troy to their 13th regional championship in a row, easily outdistancing second-place Bettendorf
by 24 points. Leveille finished second individually to Pleasant Valley junior Anne Martin.
"I wasn't quite sure this summer and then I was going to do some music stuff, but then this sounded like a lot of fun,"
Her runner-up finish came on the heels of a runner-up finish at the Mississippi Valley conference divisional meet a week
"I guess I'm working my way up, and now I feel more comfortable up there, that I can run with them," she said. "It's a
lot like our hard practices. You feel the same and you just have to be up there."
"She's figured it out," West High coach Mike Parker said. "It was about the second week of practice and we have 45 girls
on our team, and Molly was back jogging with some of the other freshmen in place 43 and 44. I talked to both her and Pombie
(Silverman) and said, 'Girls I think you can be a lot further up than you are.'
"Well, right away Molly went from like 40th to fourth the next day and never has backed down from that spot."
Bridget Novak was fifth, Taylor Fehlberg eighth, Alissa Rothman 11th and Sara Stewart 14th. Paige Engelhardt was 15th and
Silverman 16th. West was deep enough not to need Brett Guerra, its top runner until Leveille's recent surge. Guerra was sidelined
A fairly large pack was still together about halfway through the race. Both Leveille and Novak were part of the gaggle.
"The hill separated a lot of people," Leveille said. "You really want to push it after the hills, and I really took advantage
Parker loves Leveille's positive attitude and compared her to former state champion Sarah Wickman.
"She's the best freshman we've had since Sarah," he said. "She reminds me a lot of Sarah. She has all that she needs to
be our next great, great one."
Team scores -- 1. West High 40; 2. Bettendorf 64; 3. Pleasant Valley 73; 4. Burlington 97; 5. Muscatine 178; 6. Davenport
West 179; 7. Clinton 179; 8. North Scott 193; 9. Davenport Central 229.
Individual qualifiers -- 1. Anne Martin (PV) 15:19, 2. Molly Leveille (W) 15:23, 3. Mahnee Watts (Bet) 15:25, 4. Mackenzie
Eland (Bur) 15:27, 5. Bridget Novak (W) 15:37, 6. Kate Kaster (C) 15:41, 7. Kate Benge (PV) 15:41, 8. Taylor Fehlberg (W)
15:42, 9. Grace Shemwell (C) 15:42, 10. Anna Peer (Bet) 15:55.
West High -- 2. Leveille 15:23, 5. Novak 15:37, 8. Fehlberg 15:42, 11. Alissa Rothman 15:56, 14. Sara Stewart 16:09, 15.
Paige Engelhardt 16:11, 16. Pombie Silverman 16:11.
October 16, 2009
Freshman Molly Leveille Places 2nd at Conference!
Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DUBUQUE -- Drizzle was constant and the temperatures were in the upper 30s. The race course was the color of a melted Hershey
bar because the constant pounding obliterated the grass. The footing was wet and slick.
But to City High junior Rebecca Rethwisch it was a sunny day in May.
"This is real cross country; this is my favorite weather to run in," she said, smiling broadly. "It's real. I love running
in the rain. I love the puddles and the mud."
Rethwisch led from the beginning and won the girls title, helping lead City High to a remarkable 19 points en route to
the Mississippi Valley Conference divisional cross country championship Thursday. The Little Hawks finished 1-3-4-5-6 in a
nearly perfect performance to repeat as champions and beat West High by 21 points in the seven-team meet.
"Rebecca's an extraordinary talent, and I have four seniors (Emily Fagan, Jill Stephenson, Melanie Holman, Cassidy White)
that are both quality runners and have worked their tails off and are solely dedicated to being state champions," City coach
Tom Mittman said.
"They know they have their work cut out for them, but certainly this doesn't hurt their confidence any going into districts
The extraordinary performance wasn't a big surprise to the Little Hawks.
"I think we knew it was going to happen," Holman said. "We have a pretty solid pack. We've been working so hard and me,
Emily, Cassidy, Jill tried to stay together."
"We wanted to win," Rethwisch said. "When it's bad weather and the mud, our coach talked and said this is a race that's
all about heart. When the footing is so bad you get so tired. It takes a lot of energy."
West High freshman Molly Leveille finished second, nine seconds behind Rethwisch, to lead the Women of Troy. Teammates
Bridget Novak, Paige Engelhardt, Brett Guerra and Sara Stewart finished in a pack from eighth place through 11th.
"It's what we've expected all year," West coach Mike Parker said of Leveille's performance. "She finally is racing like
she practices. She had to be pretty brave to make that breakaway and go after a great Rethwisch."
Parker also paid tribute to City's dominance.
"City's just a really good team, that's all there is to it," he said. "At certain meets, we've done it. We just can't consistently
get all five girls to do it on the same day."
Team results: 1. City High 19, 2. West High 40, 3. Wahlert 86, 4. C.R. Xavier 108, 5. C.R. Kennedy 127, 6. Hempstead 147,
7. Waterloo West 205.
West High -- 2. Leveille 15:49, 8. Bridget Novak 16:25, 9. Paige Engelhardt 16:31, 10. Brett Guerra 16:31, 11. Sara Stewart
16:33, 17. Taylor Fehlberg 16:38, 22. Pombie Silverman 16:48.
The City High girls cross country team placed five runners in the top 10 to win the Mississippi Valley Conference Super
Meet on Thursday at the University of Iowa's Ashton course. The Little Hawks finished with 33 points, nine better than defending
Super Meet champion West High.
"No one's going to wipe tears from their eyes when we have somebody down or hurt because everybody has that happen to them,"
City girls coach Tom Mittman said. "Because we said we are not going to make excuses and we're going to make a statement,
and I think the girls did that today."
Cedar Falls won the boys team championship with 57 points, placing five in the top 15. City High was second with 86 points,
and West was third with 90.
West High senior Frank Canady ran away from the field to win his first Super Meet title. He was second a year ago to Washington's
Carolyn Newhouse of Linn-Mar was the girls winner ahead of Washington's Maddy Becker.
Rebecca Rethwisch and Emily Fagan, who placed third and fifth, respectively, led the City girls. The City High pack looked
surrounded in the first straightaway.
"I got stuck," Rethwisch said. "It was a fast start. In big meets like this the starts are crazy. You have to be kind of
reckless to get through people. You have to dodge in and out as best you can."
"People go out and then they fade," Fagan said. "We just keep it steady. The first 200 isn't usually that important. Usually
around the mile mark is when you have to start passing people who went out faster than you."
City also got great performances from Cassidy White (seventh), Melanie Holman (eighth) and Jill Stephenson (10th).
"For Cassidy to make that move when we were sort of back a ways and everybody was waiting for somebody to do something,
she did it," Tom Mittman said. "And of course, Emily and Mel and Jill all responded really nicely."
The Little Hawks were without freshman Erin Danielson, usually their second runner, because of illness.
"We have a strong team," Rethwisch said. "Our JV and fresh/soph girls could run in the varsity meet, and we showed that
"We're an incredibly deep team, and we know that if someone isn't feeling great there will be like 10 people to fill in
for them," Fagan said. "(Danielson) is pretty incredible, but we have 73 incredible people."
Mittman cited the leadership of his four seniors as instrumental in the growth and development of his team.
West High coach Mike Parker was not happy with his team's performance even though his top five were all among the first
12 finishers (4-6-9-11-12).
"We just didn't finish well," Parker said. "We were in pretty good position when we got to the two-mile mark, but we didn't
finish well. I give all the credit to the City girls; they finished better than we finished."
Brett Guerra led West with a fourth-place finish; freshman Molly Leveille was sixth. Guerra said she has been working on
maintaining a better pace in the second mile.
"Mainly it's more pushing myself in the second mile," she said. "The last few meets it seems like I've been doing my first
mile a little too fast."
Parker thought Sara Stewart, who placed 11th, ran well.
"All of our girls can run with Brett," he said. "When we do that we beat teams like (No. 1) Dowling. When we don't do that
we get beat by great teams like City."
Trojans want smarter running Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
Frank Canady's latest truism probably won't make it into a fortune cookie, but it serves him well.
"If you're going to be stupid, you better be tough," he pronounced, not without a smile.
Canady, the West High senior who is ranked third in the state in 4A boys cross country, won the individual title at the
West High Invitational on Tuesday at Iowa's Ashton Cross Country course. Canady finished in 15 minutes 43.25 seconds, 19 seconds
ahead of runner-up Ryan Flynn of Bettendorf.
Just three days ago, Canady ran a tough race at the multi-state, 48-team Griak Invitational in Minnesota in which he led
all Iowa runners with his 13th-place finish among 456 competitors. But the aftermath of the tremendous effort amid that kind
of competition was not pretty.
"Griak was a hard race; I threw up like 10 times afterward," Canady confessed. "I just ran so hard."
Canady really did enjoy the challenge of running against a host of new runners.
"You just run your race. You don't know their strategy," he said. "I thought I ran well in terms of my toughness, but in
terms of how smart I was, I ran stupid. I went out too quick."
Back just three days later and re-hydrated, Canady was none the worse for wear, leading the entire way Tuesday.
"I didn't get out really well at all," he said. "I just wanted to get the lead. I was trying to pace Matt (Eckman) through
the mile and help him with that. Coming off Griak I wasn't too concerned with my time today."
The West boys have had four meets in 12 days and may have suffered the consequences. Ninth-ranked Marshalltown upset the
fifth-ranked Trojans, winning by five points in the 10-team meet. Regina was fifth and Lone Tree ninth.
"I'm disappointed," West High coach Brian Martz said. "That was (Marshalltown's) third race in six days. Actually they
should be more tired than us.
"We have not won this meet since I've been coach, and it's really frustrating. I thought one runner went out too fast and
one runner went out too slow. And in the end we lost places. We have to learn how to give our best effort over the course
of 3.1 miles and not the first mile and not the last mile."
Eckman was sixth, Tyler Chenhall 10th, Ryson Stuart 12th and Ben Thompson 21st for West High. Marshalltown's runners finished
"When you are right next to the people that you have to pass to win that meet, you have to come through with something,"
Martz said. "We just didn't today. That's the frustrating part."
Regina freshman Brennan Bogert led the Regals with a 16th-place finish.
Even though the West High girls won their meet easily over Bettendorf, coach Mike Parker sounded a lot like Martz afterward.
"We're better than that," Parker said. "We just lost too many one-on-one battles in that last 200. Everyone should have
been one better. That might not seem like much at this meet, but we know at the ones to come one better could make a world
The Women of Troy finished 2-3-4-9-10 and beat the Bulldogs by 34 points. Bettendorf freshman Mahnee Watts overtook West
High sophomore Brett Guerra for the individual title. Guerra was second, Taylor Fehlberg third and Bridget Novak fourth. Molly
Leveille was ninth and Sara Stewart 10th.
The West girls have been on quite a run since beating then-No. 1 Dowling on Sept. 19. Novak was asked to explain the development
of her team.
"We just have a group of girls who want to work hard every day and just do everything for the team to improve," Novak said.
"I think we all just enjoy being together and supporting each other.
"We've been trying to close our gaps and run together."
She said the victory over Dowling was "unexpected and exhilarating."
"It was that one moment when we realized what we are capable of if we perfect our race tactics and have confidence in our
abilities," she said.
Regina's Nicole Kleinmeyer, ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, fought her way to eighth, behind seven 4A runners.
"Our past three meets have all been with 4A schools," she said. "We just go out and run like it's our normal 2A competition.
We just give it everything we've got and that usually does the job.
"I tried to go out and stay with the front people as best I could. West High's got a close group. They are really good.
They all go out and stick together."
Lone Tree was led by freshman Ella Feldman, who was 22nd, and freshman Alena Loan, who was 25th.
Team scores -- 1. West High 28; 2. Bettendorf 62; 3. Pekin 87; 4. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 122; 5. Mount Vernon/Lisbon 136;
6. Marshalltown 149; 7. Regina 164; 8. Muscatine 216; 9. Lone Tree 251; 10. Davenport North 298; 11. Mount Pleasant 321.
Individual leaders -- 1. Mahnee Watts (Bet) 15:00; 2. Brett Guerra (W) 15:02; 3. Taylor Fehlberg (W) 15:05; 4. Bridget
Novak 15:08; 5. Anna Peer (Bet) 15:10.
West High -- 2. Guerra 15:02; 3. Fehlberg 15:05; 4. Novak 15:08; 9. Molly Leveille (W) 15:16; 10. Sara Stewart 15;21.
September 26th, 2009
West High finishes 2nd behind the 23rd ranked team in the country, College Park Texas,
at the Rim Rock Classic in Lawrence, Kansas. Brett Guerra led the Women of Troy followed by Molly Leveille, Bridget Novak,
Taylor Fehlberg, Sara Stewart, Alissa Rothman and Paige Engelhardt.
The Women of Troy have their home meet on Tuesday September 29th at the University of Iowa Cross
September 24, 2009
West girls make run on sport's leaders Susan Harman Prep notebook
West Des Moines Dowling has been top dog in girls cross country since the 2007 season. Maroon runners have won the last
three individual titles and the last two team titles. This season, Dowling returned six of its top seven including the top
two individual runners in the state, Ashlie Decker and Katie Flood. The Maroons also returned junior Tanelle Beard, who missed
her sophomore season with injuries but was their third-best runner as a freshman and is currently ranked ninth in Class 4A.
"They are loaded," West High girls cross country coach Mike Parker said.
But Saturday in Pella there was a disturbance in the force. Even though Flood and Decker finished 1-2, West High was able
to use superior depth to upset the top-ranked Maroons by four points.
West runners finished 5-7-9-12-13 (46) while Dowling was 1-2-4-16-27 (50).
Dowling hasn't lost a meet in Iowa since the 2006 state meet that City High won. Decker and Flood are the best 1-2 punch
in the nation, as some experts have said.
West returned four of the seven runners from state but added transfer Brett Guerra, outstanding freshman Mollie Leveille
and vastly improved senior Paige Engelhardt.
"We were going into this to see how close we can get to the team that is ranked No. 1 in the heartland, No. 1 in Iowa,
No. 15 in the nation," Parker said.
Guerra led the Women of Troy, as she has all season long, and Bridget Novak gave her best performance since her 13th-place
finish at state last fall to place seventh. Novak pulled the pack along with her and the next three finished within 17 seconds
"She ran phenomenal," Parker said. "As her dad said when he saw her about the last 400, she had a look in her eye that
he'd never seen before."
Parker has been pleased with the progress of this year's team, whose runners have clearly adjusted to new roles with the
graduation of Nichole Engelhardt and Allison Fick.
"None of them have ever felt the feeling of stardom before, so all of them think they can be the star," he said. "And that
is making our entire team train like crazy."
Interestingly enough, West's victory is likely to vault rival City High into the No. 1 spot in the rankings. City was ranked
second, behind Dowling and ahead of West, after winning the Cedar Rapids Invitational earlier this month. City has five individuals
ranked in the top 25, and West has four.
It also guarantees a very interesting final six weeks of the season.
• SIGOURNEY-KEOTA FUTURE INVOLVE MID-PRAIRIE? Schools in sharing agreements for football have to declare their intentions
by Dec. 1 to the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Sigourney and Keota have successfully combined for football for more
than 20 years, but speculation has swirled recently about whether the Keota district intends to continue the agreement or
go its own way.
If Keota did elect to go on its own, some have speculated that it would like to join with Mid-Prairie. Mid-Prairie Athletic
Director Don Showalter said Wednesday that is unlikely to happen.
"The situation would not be good for us to share because it would push us up to 3A," Showalter said. "Since we do share
a superintendent that's where all the talk gets going. I think (Keota's) options are to share with Sigourney again, and that's
available to them, or go 8-man.
"We really like our 2A status. We're pretty competitive there."
Last week Mid-Prairie and Keota Superintendent Mark Schneider sent out a survey to Keota school district residents seeking
their opinions on various options.
"I know their school board said that it would keep the agreement with Sigourney, but Mark wanted to find out a little more
what (the community thought)," Showalter said. He thought a final decision would be made in the next month.
Keota's high school enrollment is about the size of Lone Tree. In the 2008-09 Iowa Department of Education BEDS document,
Keota had 87 students in grades nine to 11, which are the grades measured when determining competition classes for the next
• STATE FOOTBALL STATISTICAL LEADERS: Several area players are among the state statistical leaders after four weeks
of prep football. Clear Creek Amana's Ted Hergert is third in receiving yards with 522 yards on 30 catches and six TDs. Hergert
averages 17.4-yards per catch.
City High's John Chelf may have the most eye-popping statistic with his state-leading 41.6-yards per catch average. He
has 12 catches for 499 yards and six touchdowns.
Clear Creek Amana quarterback Blaze Smith is second in the state in passing yards with 1,196 (299 per game). City High's
A.J. Derby is averaging a staggering 24.6 yards per completion, thanks mostly to Chelf's proficiency in turning in the big
West Branch's Cole Kelly has 731 yards rushing in four games to place him fourth, and he averages 12.4 yards per carry.
Kelly also is averaging a state-best 62.4 yards per kickoff return.
• SWIM RANKINGS: The most recent swimming power rankings show West High at No. 7 and City High 16th. West senior
Grace Murray is ranked fourth in the 100 butterfly and 10th in the 200 free. City senior Allison Davis is ranked 10th in the
200 individual medley and eighth in the 500 free. City senior Beth Eyanson is fifth in the 100 backstroke, and West sophomore
Kathleen Bowman is 10th.
West's medley relay is ranked eighth, and City's 400 free relay is ranked ninth.
September 20, 2009
West pack swarms to down No. 1 Dowling
West High's third-ranked girls cross country team upset top-ranked and two-time defending state champion West Des Moines
Dowling by four points at the Heartland Classic on Saturday in Pella.
The Women of Troy scored 46 points to beat the Maroons' 50.
"This is the biggest win for our program in a couple years," West coach Mike Parker said. "They have probably the greatest
1-2 punch in the nation, and the team is ranked 15th nationally."
Dowling took three of the top-four places, with Katie Flood and Ashlie Decker taking first and second places in identical
14-minute, 10-second times over 4 kilometers. Tanelle Bernard was fourth in 14:52.
The West pack made the difference. Brett Guerra was fifth in 15:03, Bridget Novak was seventh, Mollie Leveille was ninth,
Sara Stewart was 12th, and Paige Engelhardt was 13th.
Dowling's fourth and fifth runners were 16th and 27th.
"It was Bridget Novak's best race of her life," Parker said. "And Paige Engelhardt is coming into her own. It was a great
day for the pack."
Team scores -- 1. West High 46; 2. West Des Moines Dowling 50; 3. Shawnee Miss., Kan., South, 99; 4. West Des Moines Valley
119; 5. Johnston 132; 6. Ankeny 160; 7. Omaha, Neb., Marian 206; 8. Indianola 265; 9. Des Moines Roosevelt 267; 10. Millard,
Neb., North 275; 11. Pella 288; 12. Fremont, Neb., 315; 13. Des Moines Hoover 336; 14. Bellevue, Neb., West 340; 15. Lincoln,
Neb., N.Star 349.
West High -- 5. Guerra 15:03; 7. Bridget Novak 15:35; 9. Mollie Leveille 15:37; 12. Sara Stewart 15:52; 13. Paige Engelhardt
15:52; 18. Taylor Fehlberg 16:06; 23. Alissa Rothman 16:14.
September 13, 2009
Guerra, West outrun teams from 3 states
Brett Guerra took first place and led the second-ranked West High girls cross country team to a victory at the Luther All-American
Invitational on Saturday in Decorah.
Guerra won the 4-kilometer race in 15 minutes, 15 seconds as the Women of Troy scored 33 points to beat a field of teams
from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The rest of the West runners finished in a tight pack, with Molly Leveille in sixth place, Sara Stewart in seventh, Taylor
Fehlberg in ninth, Bridget Novak in 10th, Paige Engelhardt in 11th and Alissa Rothman in 18th.
Team scores -- 1. West High 33; 2. LaCrosse, Wis., Central 75; 3. Decorah 89; 4. Mason City 105; 5. Dubuque Hempstead 161;
6. Platteville, Wis., 190; 7. Monroe, Wis., 204; 8. Rochester, Minn., John Marshall 219; 9. North Saint Paul, Minn., 224;
10. Chatfield, Minn., 273; 11. Waterloo West 275; 12. Crestwood 357.
Individual leaders -- 1. Brett Guerra (W) 15:15; 2. Tricia Serres (P) 15:30; 3. Julia Colling (NSP) 15:37; 4. Moran Lonning
(D) 15:44; 5. Kaia Miller (D) 15:46.
West High -- 1. Guerra 15:15; 6. Molly Leveille 15:49; 7. Sara Stewart 15:50; 9. Taylor Fehlberg 15:55; 10. Bridget Novak
15:59; 11. Paige Engelhardt 16:02; 18. Alissa Rothman 16:32.
September 12th, 2009
West Girls Sweep Luther Invite!
The West Girls Cross Country team took all 4 spots available at the Luther Invite today winning
the Varisty individual race, Brett Guerra 15:15, the team competiton by 42 points putting all seven runners in the top 18
and the JV individual race, with Vi Tran-Phan 16:54, and the JV team race by 23 points having their top 7 in the top 14 of
the race. Three states competed in the meet, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. West also beat #1 3A team, Decorah by 56 points.
The team runs at the Heartland Invitational on Saturday, September 16th at Central College in
West High girls cross country team opened the season with win at the Prairie Invitational on Tuesday at Cedar Rapids Prairie.
of Troy took six of the top-12 places and had 37 points.
Brett Guern led West with third place in a personal-best 15-minutes 6 seconds over 4-kilometers.
Stewart was sixth, Paige Engelhardt was seventh, Molly Leveille was 10th, Bridget Novak was 11th and Taylor Fehlberg was 12th.
scores -- 1. West High 37; 2. Linn-Mar 73; 3. Cedar Rapids Washington 81; 4. Cedar Falls 103; 5. Cedar Rapids Xavier 138;
6. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 176; 7. Cedar Rapids Prairie 223; 8. Solon 228; 9. Cascade 230; 10. Amanosa 234; 11. Marion 270.
letter winners (6) – Bridget Novak, jr.; Alissa Rothman, jr.; Taylor Fehlberg, jr.; Sara Stewart, sr.; Whitney Schutte,
sr.; Allison Stephan, sr.
Outlook – The Women of Troy have four of their top-six runners from the state meet
returning and should continue to be a force at the state meet. Juniors Bridget Novak and Alissa Rothman finished 17th and
18th at state, respectively, and classmate Taylor Fehlberg and senior Sara Stewart also return.
But some newcomers
already are making an impact. Sophomore transfer Brett Guerra from Louisa-Muscatine placed 17th in Class 2A at state as an
individual qualifier and won Tuesday’s time trial. Senior Paige Engelhardt, the little sister of former West star Nichole
Engelhardt, took second in the time trial after a rookie season spent on the junior varsity squad. Molly Leveille is the top
freshman addition and has been running with the leaders, coach Mike Parker said.
“We have a great group of hard-working
cross country girls,” Parker said. “We really don’t have somebody that’s a super star. But this is
a team that will work very, very hard. When you don’t have star power, it just makes everybody fight to be a star. Our
No. 7 is fighting to be No. 1.”
August 25th, 2009
West Girls Run Well At Time Trial! 1st Meet Tuesday September 1st at Cedar Rapids Prairie!
Taylor, Whitney, Vi, Alison, Jill and Kathryn competed in the Solon Beef Days 5K today. Taylor, Whitney,
Vi and Alison finsihed in the top 10 of their age division and Jill and Kathyrn ran exceptional first time 5K's!!!
June 4th, 2009
West High Grad Qualifes for NCAA's!!
West High graduate Taylor Freeman qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships with a sixth-place
finish in discus at the West Regional on Friday in Eugene, Oregon for Arizona. A freshman, Freeman will be the first West
graduate to compete in the Division 1 championships.
Freeman threw 166-7 and earned an at-large berth to the NCAA meet starting June 11 in Fayetteville,
Arkansas. She will be seeded 19th out of 26 qualifiers and just one of 3 freshman.
Freeman won state titles for West in 2006, 2008 and holds the All-Time Drake Relays Record .
West junior picks up a variety of titles Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
If you're Jessica Gehrke, the sports world is your oyster. The West High
junior is already one of the state's top volleyball players and this spring she left no doubt that she is a Division I caliber
track athlete as well.
Gehrke always had precocious talent, but this year she was the one to beat
from the long jump to the short sprints and seldom was she defeated. West High track coach Mike Parker predicted that Gehrke's
phone will ring off the hook on July 1 when Division I track coaches can make personal contact with recruits.
"We can list the top five track and field programs in America, and they
are all very, very interested in Jessica for first, her long jump, and then her speed," Parker said. "Whether she decides
to go in that direction or not, remains to be seen."
Gehrke is the Press-Citizen's female track athlete of the year after winning
the Drake Relays and indoor and outdoor long jump titles and the 4A 100 meters in a meet record time (12.09 seconds).
Gehrke also was second in the 200 meters and anchored the second-place
4x100 relay at state. She was the Mississippi Valley Conference divisional athlete of the year and helped lead West to an
unbeaten regular season and a third-place finish at the state meet.
This season Gehrke went from being a perennial contender to being the one
to beat. She took the measure of the defending state champion in the long jump three different times, including a dramatic
victory at the Drake Relays on her final jump.
"We knew at the end of last season we were right on the verge of this,"
Parker said. "It went from last year believing we can do great to this year believing there was never going to be a time we
didn't do great."
He may have, but she did not.
"I didn't see it until around Drake time this year," she said. "I was just
kind of warming up and I could tell people were talking about me. I don't really know that feeling. I used to talk about (Cedar
Falls') Faith Burt all the time. She was like my idol. That's kind of what I felt like around Drake time."
It was a whole new world of expectations for her, not that she didn't already
have the confidence to compete with the best.
"At the start I kind of felt pressure, but I've pretty much gotten used
to it," she said. "I've gotten used to going from event to event. I do like it because if I had one or two events I'd really
have to focus on them. If I have a bad day I can go straight to another event and make it a good day."
Gehrke dueled with Wilkinson and Waukee's senior sprinters in the 100 and
200 and but for a photo finish in the 200 would have captured them both.
"Everything she's doing now, she's not just doing it in front of us today,
but Jess can stand toe-to-toe with (the best in Iowa history)."
Parker often got e-mails from Gehrke after meets, assessing her performances.
"She's a thinker; she has her future in sight," he said.
Gehrke is versatile enough to be a long sprinter, too, but West employed
her in the events where she was most needed. Parker thinks she will run the 400 in college and that she also could pursue
multi-events competition such as the pentathlon. She was a high jumper earlier in her career.
She's also an involved teammate. She attended weight-training sessions
the day after her wisdom teeth were pulled over winter break. She couldn't lift but she wanted to be there with her teammates.
Gehrke has expressed interest in pursuing both sports in college, but that
may be a difficult path not just for her but also for two coaches and programs that will each want the athlete's full attention.
"It is possible, but it's pretty rare," Parker said.
She enjoys the teamwork required in volleyball, but she also relishes relying
upon herself in individual track events.
"It has a team atmosphere, but you also know that you have to work as an
individual, too," she said. "Your individual races, it's all pretty much on you. Sometimes I like that."
This summer she will do a little bit of both as she readies for her senior
volleyball campaign and competes in AAU track meets. Summer volleyball tournaments have already begun and the AAU national
track championship is in Des Moines in July following regional competition in June.
Come July 1 she'll need a bigger answering machine.
May 24, 2009
West third, Four Points from Four in a Row Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
After an eighth-place finish in the 4x400, defending champion West High had its long unbeaten streak snapped, finishing
third with 94 points.
"It was a day of hundredths of a second," West coach Mike Parker said. "Both City and Waukee and ourselves battled as I've
never seen in 16 years of coming to the state championships.
"I'm very proud of my girls. We had a lot of fight in us. Waukee is full of stars. For this to come down to the last event
before we could determine a winner with us in the fight for it, that's what we wanted. We came up a little bit short.
"Give all the credit in the world to City High and how they've come on to do so great at the end. And I definitely tip
my hat to Waukee."
West's Jessica Gehrke won the 100 meters in record time and the two schools remained a point apart.
"Oh my gosh, yeah, it's definitely an up-and-down roller coaster," Gehrke said. "Everybody's trying to get as many points
as they can. That's what we're trying to do. Get every point we can and celebrate when we do."
West kept up the pressure with Gehrke second in the 200, Nichole Engelhardt fourth in the 1,500 and a second-place finish
in the 4x100. It came down to the final event, and the 4x400 is one of Waukee's strongest events while West was seeded eighth.
May 24, 2009
Gehrke shatters meet's 100 mark Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES -- West High junior Jessica Gehrke seemed overwhelmed by her victory in the 100 meters even though she qualified
first in the preliminaries. Maybe it was because she broke her hours-old Class 4A meet record in the process, running 12.09
seconds to beat City High's Ashley Wilkinson by 0.16 seconds.
"I'm so excited. So far I've been having a really good weekend," Gehrke said. "To get my own record ... I'm really proud
"I felt faster than I ever had this race. I wanted to go out with a bang, and I did in the 100."
Gehrke got out the blocks well, something that she considers one of her strengths.
"I'm more explosive out of the blocks than I was at Drake," she said. "That really helps me (reach) my speed even quicker."
Gehrke said she spent time this week working on her starts after a disappointing performance at the regional meet. She
said she concentrates on pushing off with both feet, not that she used to just push off with one, but it's the coordination
of the takeoff she's looking for.
Gehrke and Wilkinson were close until Gehrke started to pull away slightly in the final 50 meters.
"I felt like I was pulling away, and I just tried to push it more so I could get a better time," Gehrke said.
Gehrke's weekend continued with an outstanding race in the open 200. Waukee's Whitney Westrum beat Gehrke by .01 seconds.
Westrum, who set the 4A meet record in the preliminaries, ran 24.83 seconds to Gehrke's 24.84. The result wasn't posted right
away because the finish was so close.
"Oh my gosh," Gehrke said. "I could feel her pass me on the curve so I tried to stay with (Westrum), and for the last 100
it was just all pretty much guts."
Alexis Mitchell of Davenport Central was third in 25.01 and Wilkinson was next in 25.04 as all four were within 0.20 seconds
and had a chance to win.
Gehrke anchored her team's 4x100 relay that placed second, again to Waukee and Westrum in the anchor. West (Brooke Ludvicek,
Chloe Hoagland, Morgan Roskos, Gehrke) finished in 48.52, its best time of the season. Waukee's time was 48.15.
"She's a star in the making," West coach Mike Parker said. "You figure what she did win and then how close it was in the
200 and then in the 4x100. She fought like crazy."
Gehrke Wins 100 in Record fashion at State
Jessica Gehrke of West won the 100-meter dash in a 4A-record 12.09 seconds.
“Start to finish, it was a good race for me,” said Gehrke, who later finished second to Waukee’s Whitney
Westrum. “I had hoped for a good start, I kept the speed the whole way and I added a little push at the end. That helped
me win the race.”
But in the end, Waukee had too many stars. The Warriors won four events Saturday — Colette Gnade prevailed in a loaded
800 field in 2:08.84, Whitney Westrum took the 200, and the Warriors won the shuttle hurdle and 4×100 relays.
“I tip my hat to them,” said West Coach Mike Parker. “They’re full of stars. And I tip my hat to
City as well. They fought like crazy.
“Those two teams were better than us today.”
May 22, 2009
Engelhardt, Hegeman pile up points for West Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES -- Thursday morning, West High's 3,000-meter runners lit the fire that they hope will result in a fourth consecutive
girls state track championship by Saturday night.
It was a foregone conclusion that Dowling's Katie Flood and Ashlie Decker would finish one-two in the event, but after
that the battle for points was critical. West senior Nichole Engelhardt was a solid third after the first three laps and was
never threatened, finishing in a personal best 10 minutes, 14.14 seconds.
But the battle for fourth included West High's Rachel Hegeman and two City High runners, Rebecca Rethwisch and Meg Richardson.
"They were both right in front of me for a while," Hegeman said. "I thought I'd just try to stay with them so I'd have
a chance at the end."
The three stuck together until the final lap when Rethwisch broke away and Richardson faded.
"Rebecca really kicked it the last 400," Hegeman said. "I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to stay with her. But I
tried to keep positive and tell myself that I could. So I waited until the 100 and gave it all I had. I had to do it for the
Hegeman said that when she started her push, she was thinking that every point in this meet will count as she hit an extra
gear to finish in 10:26.08 and claim fourth. Her finish ensured West scored 11 points.
"That's all I want out of this meet; we really want to win," Hegeman said.
"Rach did awesome; her getting fourth for us was big," Engelhardt said. "This is what we wanted to do."
Hegeman has played soccer in addition to running track for West this spring.
"It's been tough," she said. "It hasn't always been fair I guess at times. I guess that has a lot to do with track is going
for history here and soccer isn't. It's been tough and there have been some problems and complications. We've all gotten mad
at each other once in a while."
• WEST 4x8 TAKES BRONZE: The Women of Troy finished third in the 4x800 by employing the services of Engelhardt and
Hegeman again. Paige Engelhardt, Hegeman, Nichole Engelhardt and Jessica Shull finished in 9:30.59 even though Nichole Engelhardt
and Hegeman had less than two hours between events.
• GEHRKE SMASHES RECORD: Jessica Gehrke broke a Class 4A state meet record in the 100-meter preliminary. Gehrke finished
in 12.22 seconds to beat the record of former Cedar Falls sprinter Faith Burt by .02.
May 22, 2009
Fritz joins champs club Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES -- Courtney Fritz watched her brother develop into one of the best distance runners in West High history. She's
just the kind of little sister who was darned sure that she was going to do something to merit the same kind of acclaim.
Thursday she made good on that vow, winning the Class 4A state girls discus crown with a personal-best throw of 139 feet,
1 inch. Fritz beat Drake Relays champ Majesty Tutson of City High, who was second with a toss of 134-6.
For her trouble, Fritz got a long, heart-felt hug from brother Brady, who took a day off work after completing an outstanding
season at Northern Iowa, and another couple from her bubbly mother and grandmother.
"It was very special that he came," Courtney Fritz said. "He told me that I joined the club because I was a state champion
"I was running back and forth," Brady said. "I was trying to watch Frank (Canady in the 3,200) at the same time. Just watching
her heaving those things out, I knew she had it in her. I was glad to be here and watch her join the club being a state champion."
Tutson led the competition by an inch going into the final three throws but just couldn't get off a good one to increase
"It was just my release," Tutson said. "It was kind of weird on my first two, but I got it right on the last one. We both
had a good series."
Fritz fouled on her first throw in the finals, which sailed right.
"(Throws coach Brad) Wymer told me to pick up my tempo and just do what I've been doing in practice," Fritz said. "I just
wasn't getting my left foot down."
The next throw sailed 135-3 to take the lead.
With her coaches urging her to finish the job, Fritz went through her regular routine. She stepped into the ring, blew
on her hand and took her position facing the rear of the ring. She bounced on her feet, first the right, then the left. She
swung the discus forward and back in her right hand three times.
Then she cocked the discus behind her left ear and waited for what seemed to be an eternity before starting her methodical
spin into the release. Off it soared.
"That a kid," Wymer said.
"I was relieved when I saw the 139 on the board," Fritz said. "I honestly couldn't believe it.
"Wymer came over and hugged me and said, 'You still didn't get your left foot down.'"
Fritz might be better known as a starter for the basketball team. That's really her first love, but she likes the individual
aspect of track.
"Whether you place or you don't, you can always improve your personal best," she said.
Fritz's victory was important for West because she was the only entrant after Micaela Haight missed qualifying at the regional
meet. West has gotten accustomed to scoring two places in the throws.
"I did feel pressure, but I came in trying not to be nervous because I really felt I came in with nothing to lose because
I wasn't the Drake Relays champion," she said. "I just tried to take deep breaths when I was in there. Obviously, I took a
lot of time in there. The lady kept looking at the timer."
Fritz, a junior, was motivated in part by a third-place finish at Drake. She also gave credit to having trained with former
champions Danica Haight and Taylor Freeman at West.
"They pushed me to always be better," Fritz said. "I was never the best, so it always gave me something to work for too.
Even this year I wasn't always the best, so it's kind of fun having people who are great ahead of you and trying to be as
great as they are."
May 22, 2009
West High's Haight wins shot put By Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES –Micaela Haight had a little bit more motivation Friday when the Class 4A girls shot put began. She failed
to qualify to compete in the discus at the regional meet last Saturday, so she put all that energy and focus into her specialty.
The result was her first state championship. Haight threw 44 feet, 6.25 inches to win by nearly three feet over City’s
“It’s pretty amazing especially after not being able to throw in the discus,” Haight
said. “Yesterday it was pretty hard, but I got to cheer (Courtney Fritz) on.”
Haight, who was third a year
ago in this event and was third at this year’s Drake Relays, was so consistent through the competition that any of her
throws would have won.
“I had a good week of practice, just in general,” Haight said. “I was really
bummed out when I didn’t throw 43 or higher at regional.”
West High throws coach Brad Wymer took pains
to point out that Haight and the rest of his throwers have done all the preparation work to put themselves in position to
do well. They are in the weight room three days a week at 6:15 a.m. beginning in February.
of the things that separates them from some of the other throwers that they compete against is they’re willing to put
that kind of time in,” Wymer said. “That’s a huge sacrifice and commitment for them.
ring, Micaela is extremely competitive and extremely hard on herself and wants to do great things there. As a result she puts
the time in.”
Haight threw 44 feet as a sophomore at the Forwald Relays. That was hard to live up to.
used that as a measuring stick this year, and as a result pressed a little bit too hard to try to throw that far instead of
allowing her technique to throw that far,” Wymer said. “Because of her competitive nature, competing with herself
and wanting to be better, sometimes in the throws that becomes a hindrance for you because it gets in the way of your mechanics.”
week with the focus solely on the shot, the teacher and pupil simplified the movements and mechanics.
West got a boost
with Fritz, the discus champ, finishing seventh for two valuable points.
“That was terrific,” Wymer said.
“I don’t know if the rest of the team expected her to reach the finals. I knew she had a good shot at making the
finals if she threw what she was capable of throwing. For her to get two throws over 38 feet, that’s a great day for
Danica Haight, Micaela’s older sister, has her name all over the record book after winning three
shot put titles and establishing the Class 4A meet record in the event. That’s something the younger Haight had to work
through her whole throwing career.
“It’s hard because everyone’s like ‘Oh are you going to
be as good as her,’ and I’m like ‘I don’t know because I’m my own person.’”
that’s pretty good in itself.
West makes it 3 of 4 in field events
DES MOINES — Little Sis has a championship of her own.
Micaela Haight of Iowa City West dominated the girls’ Class 4A shot put at the state track meet Friday at Drake Stadium.
She was regularly over 42 feet, highlighted by a best throw of 44-6 1/4.
Her sister, Danica, won three shot put titles at West before moving on to the University of Michigan.
“I was a lot more consistent today,” Haight said. “I had a really good week of practice.
“It’s an amazing feeling.”
Haight, surprisingly, failed to qualify in the discus. It was a major bummer at the time, but it did give her a chance
to focus on her specialty.
“I was really upset at regionals,” she said. “But today, a lot of my throws were good and high,
and I kept my elbow up.”
West won three of four field events this week — Jessica Gehrke added the long jump crown Friday while Courtney Fritz
captured the shot put title Thursday.
The Women of Troy take the team lead into Saturday, when the final nine events will be contested. West has 57 points, Iowa
City High 52. Waukee is third with 38.
“Tomorrow is going to be so important,” Gehrke said. “It’s going to be tough. We’re going
to have to dig down and do our best if we’re going to win the championship.”
Unlike the Drake Relays, when she needed a clutch jump on her final attempt to win, Gehrke won convincingly. Her best jump,
18-11, came in the preliminaries. Nobody else really threatened.
“I was more relaxed the whole time,” Gehrke said. “My first jump was a good one to get to the finals,
and I could go for it more on my next jumps.”
May 22, 2009
West High's Gehrke leaps to long jump title Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES — Jessica Gehrke repeated her performance from the Drake Relays, almost to the inch, and with that took
away her first state long jump championship to go with her Relays victory.
Gehrke flew 18 feet, 11.25 inches, a quarter inch farther than her Drake leap, to win the 4A title by 7.25 inches over
Davenport Central’s Alexis Mitchell, the defending state champion. Gehrke also won the state indoor title in the long
“I think I was more relaxed the whole time,” Gehrke said, recalling how she had to beat Mitchell
with her final jump at Drake. “My first jump was a good jump to get in the finals, so I knew that. I knew I could build
up from there. I could just go for all my other jumps after that.”
Gehrke said that the key to a good jump for
her is reaching maximum speed.
“When I get to the board I’m always behind or in front of it so I know I
can feel when I have good speed,” she said. “When I have really good jumps I can feel hitting the board.”
performance concluded a good day for the Women of Troy, who scored 12 points in the shot put, 10 in the long jump and another
eight points in the 4x200, the distance medley and from Liza Minor in the 400 hurdles.
West finished the second day
of competition with 57 points, five ahead of City High, 19 ahead of Waukee and 25 up on Sioux City East with nine events to
be run today.
“(Today) is going to be so important,” Gehrke said. “All the schools are going to be
tough. (Today) we’re going to really have to dig down; we’ve all got to do our best.”
several of the other competitors had their jumps interrupted when they had to take a turn in the 4x100 preliminaries. The
weather was sunny and warm and most of those in contention in the long jump had the anchor responsibilities for their sprint
“I think it helped a lot that I jumped before I ran,” she said. “After you run, and
you try your hardest, you come back and you’re like ‘I’m kind of out of breath.’ It’s a lot
different than before. Before I (ran) I was up and doing drills and stuff. This last time I was just sitting and trying to
save my energy to get the right speed to the board.”
It made it that much harder for Mitchell and several others
in contention to pull out a big jump in the finals.
“It feels great,” Gehrke said. “After Drake I
said I wanted to do it up at state too. I knew it was going to be hard because there are a lot of great competitors. I worked
hard in practice and it paid off.”
So far Gehrke has done her part for the Women of Troy. She set a 4A meet record
qualifying for the 100 meters. She won the long jump, qualified second in the 200, and she helped ensure that the team’s
4x100 relay was in the finals.
“(Today) is going to be a pretty big day for me,” Gehrke said. “I
go from the 1 to the 2 to the 4x1, and they’re not that far off. I’ll get a good night’s sleep and come
out to do my best.”
City gives West run for money Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
West High won the Class 4A girls regional meet Saturday at its home track, but City High continues to narrow the gap on
its rival. Only eight points separated the two schools, not that it really matters in a meet in which qualifying events for
state is clearly the main goal.
Under the girls system, the top two finishers are guaranteed spots at the state meet. Another 12 at-large spots are determined
by the next best performances across the state.
West High qualified in 14 events, and that is likely to go to at least 18 with at-large berths. City High qualified in
16 events and is likely to bump that to 18 as well.
West won nine events; City won nine events. And while it's still true that West hasn't lost a meet since the 2005 state
championship, the Women of Troy may have to worry about more than just Waukee and Sioux City East next weekend in seeking
to defend their title.
"We were right there, closing the gap, and next week is another meet," City High coach Tom Mittman said. "We had a superb
meet from start to finish. The girls are gaining confidence.
"The kids still believe in themselves; we believe in them. We still plan to bring home a trophy from the state meet. That's
our goal; it has been all season."
West coach Mike Parker said he preached patience for this meet.
"The girls were so mad at me," Parker said. "I had signs up all over in the team room that say, 'Be safe; be smart and
just advance.' I think 17 of the 19 events we didn't do very well in. But the girls did what I asked them.
"I think we've got a great shot at making 19 events again. We've done that the last two years. That's a team."
City High junior Ashley Wilkinson won three of the four events in which she ran, including an impressive upset in the 100
meters over Washington's Maddy Halyard and West's Jessica Gehrke. Wilkinson's victory reversed the result from last week's
Mississippi Valley Conference meet and the Forwald/Coleman Relays, both of which Gehrke won.
Wilkinson then beat Gehrke in the 200, repeating her victory from the MVC meet. She also anchored the winning 4x200 relay
(Brittany Nelson, Kelsey Coleman, Tara Mills and Wilkinson).
She was not able to pull off a fourth victory in the 4x100, which West won when the first three runners (Brooke Ludvicek,
Chloe Hoagland, Morgan Roskos) gave Gehrke a substantial lead. Gehrke brought it home for the victory with no trouble.
City High got 1-2 finishes in the 800 from Jessica Yagla and Emily Fagan and followed with 1-2 in the 1,500 by freshman
Meg Richardson and sophomore Rebecca Rethwisch. Those two were second and third in the 3,000, respectively.
"We wanted to get the top two together," Rethwisch said.
"In the last 100 we were one-two together, and Rebecca said, 'Go, go,' to me; it was so cool," Richardson said. "I couldn't
have done it without her. We just worked together."
Richardson, who was out for cross country but never made the top seven on the team, has been a huge help for City's track
"I think Meg just needed to figure out what she could do," Rethwisch said, beaming like an older sister.
"I think Meg and Rebecca gained a great deal of confidence today," Mittman said.
Mariah Jordan won the 100 hurdles and anchored City's winning shuttle hurdle relay (Emily Sotelo, Caitlin Ward, Elizabeth
Larsen and Jordan). The Little Hawks came in with only the third-best time among regional teams but cut more than a second
off their previous best time and beat West by just .03 seconds.
Mills continued to demonstrate her value in the relays for City High. In addition to her spot on the winning 4x200 relay,
she anchored the winning sprint medley relay and led off the runner-up 4x400 (Mills, Yagla, Coleman, Jordan Sullivan).
City qualified at least one in the high jump and likely two. Stephanie Brooks was second with a jump of 5-foot, 2 inches,
and Virginia Johnson was third at 5-1.
"The girls were down to their last attempt in the high jump and the disc," Mittman said. "Majesty (Tutson) was on the verge
of not making the final in the disc, but on her third throw she finally gets one out there and finishes in second place.
"Similarly, Virginia, who is our best high jumper, was struggling a little, but on her third jump gets over 5-1 and that
ought to get her in without any trouble."
West's Gehrke also had a good, if somewhat conservative, day. She won the long jump, was third in the 100 after a slow
start, placed second in the 200 and anchored the winning 4x100.
"Jessica Gehrke said, 'Coach, I waited until everybody left the starting line,' because I said 'be last,'" Parker said.
"'I want you to be the last out of the starting blocks. We'll worry about those things next week. But today is be safe and
Nichole Engelhardt was asked to do a lot and did so for the Women of Troy. She won the 3,200, was third in the 800 and
third in the 1,500. By the time she ran the 1,500, she was clearly tiring, but she should make it into the state meet field
with her time.
West's Micaela Haight won the shot put, and Courtney Fritz won the discus. City's Tutson was second in both events.
West may not have two throwers in the discus as it hoped. Haight's throw of 100 feet, 8 inches, was eighth-best and is
unlikely to qualify, but Fritz is a title threat in the event so the Women of Troy are not without the chance to score big
West's top-seeded distance medley relay (Shahana Williams, Roskos, Katie Kelley, Jessica Shull) was a winner.
Kalee Schilling, who competed despite a stress fracture that has limited her practice time, won the 400 and then anchored
the winning 4x400 relay.
Liza Minor won the 400 hurdles and Nicole Jensen was third.
"The 400 hurdles was a great event for us," Parker said. "Those girls came through going one through three for us was just
4A girls regional track
Saturday at West High
Top 2 finishers and next 12 best performances from across the state qualify for state
Team scores -- 1. West High 208, 2. City High 200, 3. C.R. Washington 92, 4. Linn-Mar 98, 5. Burlington 67, 6. C.R. Prairie
49, 7. Ottumwa 48, 8. C.R. Jefferson 38.
Individual results (top 4 and all City and West placewinners)
High Jump--1. Khanisha Williams (Bur) 5-4, 2. Stephanie Brooks (C) 5-2, 3. Virginia Johnson (C) 5-1, 4. Victoria Ita (Bur)
4-10, 5. Caroline Van Voorhis (W) 4-10, 6. Ashley Weinschenk (W) 4-8.
4x200--1. City High (Brittany Nelson, Kelsey Coleman, Tara Mills, Ashley Wilkinson) 1:45.31, 2. C.R. Jefferson 1:46.52,
3. C.R. Washington 1:47.40, 4. West High (Lauren Stoner, Mariah Hinton, Morgan Roskos, Shahana Williams) 1:47.66.
4x100--1. West (Brooke Ludvicek, Chloe Hoagland, Morgan Roskos, Jessica Gehrke) 49.26, 2. City (Emily Sparks, Brittany
Nelson, Mariah Jordan, Ashley Wilkinson) 50.10, 3. C.R. Washington 51.16, 4. C.R. Jefferson 51.35.
4x400--1. West High (Liza Minor, Tiffany Roth, Whitney Schuette, Kalee Schilling) 4:09.68, 2. City High (Jessica Yagla,
Kelsey Coleman, Jordan Sullivan, Tara Mills) 4:10.36, 3. C.R. Jefferson 4:18.13, 4. C.R. Washington 4:23.18.
Women of Troy speed to seventh straight crown Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
CEDAR RAPIDS -- West High won its seventh consecutive Mississippi Valley conference track championship Friday night. The
Women of Troy won the first four events on the track and were second in the fifth to set the tone, but much like last week's
Forwald/Coleman Relays, the Women of Troy still had trouble shaking City High.
West won 10 events and finished 24 points ahead of City High.
"I couldn't be more pleased," West coach Mike Parker said. "We dedicate this to our athletic director, Mr. Reiland, who's
been sick. This was for him. I'm thinking of him. He's the leader of this entire thing, so we're thankful we can bring a conference
title to him and hopefully make him feel a little bit better."
Seniors Nichole Engelhardt and Allison Fick got the Women of Troy off to a quick start by going 1-3 in the 3,000 meters.
Engelhardt doubled up by winning the 1,500, and teammate Taylor Fehlberg was third.
West won the shuttle-hurdle relay, leading from start to finish with Brooke Ludvicek, Rebecca Tanner, Liza Minor and Natalie
Mason. West came in with the top seed and didn't disappoint.
Jessica Gehrke won the 100 meter dash in 12.20 over City's Ashley Wilkinson, who was second in 12.51. The two were seeded
1-2. Gehrke also won the long jump and was named the MVC's outstanding athlete.
West's Jessica Shull learned a lesson last week at the Forwald/Coleman Relays. Shull was overtaken by City High's Jess
Yagla in the open 800 as Yagla won the event.
Shull was asked to anchor the West High 4x800 relay, and she not only had to track down the Dubuque Wahlert anchor, who
was a good 40 meters ahead at the handoff, but she successfully held the lead in the final 250 meters and won by more than
"Just catch up to her, stay behind her for the first lap and cut the lead down and then catch her at the end and finish
it hard," Shull said of her strategy. "I didn't want her to catch me in the home stretch because at Forwald one of the girls
caught me right at the end. I didn't want that to happen again."
Taylor Fehlberg, Whitney Schuette and Paige Engelhardt ran the first three legs for West and kept the Women of Troy in
Shull finished the race with lightning flashing in the western sky, and the meet was delayed immediately to allow the storm
"It doesn't really faze me if there's lightning," she said.
The meet was delayed for 1 hour, 35 minutes.
Shull later won a great open 800 race from West Waterloo's Abby Coselman. The two changed places a couple of times in the
final 200, and Shull had the final comeback to win at the wire by .24 seconds.
Micaela Haight posted her best shot put mark of the season (43-4) to win, and Courtney Fritz won the discus for the Women
"The shot put was done before the rain," Haight said. "I was hoping to get at least 42 and was hoping 43, but I didn't
know because I wasn't throwing so hot lately."
"IRegionals are next Friday at West for the two Iowa City schools.
MVC Mississippi Division Girls Track Meet
Varsity ream results -- 1.West High 182, 2. City 158, 3. Wahlert 87, 4. Xavier 56, 5. Kennedy 46, 6. Hempstead 29, 7. West
Individual results (top 3 and all City and West placewinners)
Shot put -- 1. Micaela Haight (W) 43-4, 2. Jadyn Spencer (WW) 40-8, 3. Majesty Tutson (C) 40-2, 5. Courtney Fritz (W) 38-7,
6. Kayla Hyche (C) 34-3.
Discus -- 1. Courtney Fritz (W) 127-5, 2. Majesty Tutson (C) 125-3, 3. Morgan May (DW) 120-1, 5. Micaela Haight (W) 100-4.
Long Jump -- 1. Jessica Gehrke (W) 16-10, 2. Brittany Nelson (C) 16-3.25, 3. Gina Harrison (K) 16-2.5, 5. Beth Larsen (C)
High Jump -- 1. Claire Till (DW) 5-6, 2. Virginia Johnson (C) 5-2, 3. Kristin Huebsch (K) 5-2, 4. Stephanie Brooks (C)
5-2, 6. Ashley Weinschenk (W) 4-8.
3,000 -- 1. Nichole Engelhardt (W) 10:36.88, 2. Meg Richardson (C) 10:44.75, 3. Allison Fick (W)11:12.07, 4. Harper Beasley
4x800 -- 1. West (Taylor Fehlberg, Whitney Schuette, Paige Engelhardt, Jessica Shull) 9:41.84, 2. Wahlert 9:44.07, 3. City
High (Jill Stephenson, Ashley Fuller, Katie Langenfeld, Emily Fagan) 9:51.59.
West thwarts City's challenge Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
West High's long unbeaten streak in girls track is still alive but it got one of its biggest challenges Friday from City
High at the Forwald/Coleman Relays. West prevailed with 206 points to 174 for City High.
"I think we got beat by 96 a year ago," City High girls track coach Tom Mittman said. "I don't know what it was tonight
but it was a whole lot closer. We're gaining. I'm real proud of the way these girls performed today. I just loved the way
"We really wanted to win this meet. To be quite frank, we wanted to set that clock back to zero again. We're tired of the
1,400 days. But they're a good team and until somebody beats them, they deserve it."
Mittman's reference was to the number of days West has remained unbeaten. West hasn't lost since the 2005 state meet.
West High coach Mike Parker said he wasn't at all surprised by how close the meet was and by how spirited a challenge the
Little Hawks provided.
"Not at all," Parker said. "They are a great team. That's why we take extreme pride in this is the 21st time in a row we've
beat our arch rival."
It was the fifth time in a row West has won the Forwald/Coleman relays.
West's Nichole Engelhardt easily won the 3,000 meters in a field that included six of the top 10 4A runners in that event.
An Ames runner served as an early rabbit, but it took Engelhardt only two trips around the track to take the lead and she
pulled away decisively with 1,800 meters to go.
"We still went out conservative," Engelhardt said. "Our plan was to go out conservative for the first mile and then just
race to the finish after that. There were lots of good girls out there."
Engelhardt finished in 10:27.35. City High's Meg Richardson came from behind to beat Linn-Mar's Carolyn Newhouse for second
in 10:34.87. Engelhardt later won the 1,500 meters in similarly dominant fashion, and Richardson was second again.
West High won the shuttle hurdle relay in exciting fashion. The Women of Troy (Brooke Ludvicek, Rebecca Tanner, Liza Minor,
Natalie Mason) had to build a good lead for anchor Natalie Mason so she could hold off hurdling champ Susan Rodriguez of Pleasant
Valley. And they did just that.
"I didn't even see her until the last hurdle," Mason said. "The second to last hurdle I think I heard someone yell something,
but I was just going my hardest the whole way.
"I think we had a little bit of a slow start. We've been working really hard on our technique and our form. I think we're
fast enough; we just have to pull everything together."
Minor later won the 400 hurdle race in 1:08.10.
Jessica Gehrke won the long jump and held off the bid of City High's Ashley Wilkinson to win a tight 100 meters. Gehrke
and Wilkinson jumped ahead of the pack and stayed ahead, but Gehrke powered through at the end.
Gehrke ran a strong anchor to push West to the 4x100 relay victory. Gehrke got the baton behind Pleasant Valley but pulled
ahead with about 50 meters left.
"I saw it was really close," Gehrke said. "I saw one runner right next to us, I think it was City, and that's the only
one I could see. I was like, 'Get going.' I was screaming at (third leg Morgan Roskos), 'Come on, let's go.' I guess the Pleasant
Valley girl was (ahead) so I was focusing on catching her."
Roskos also anchored the winning 4x200 relay for West.
West anchor Rachel Hegeman approached her 800-meter leg in the distance medley strategically. She was in fourth or fifth
with about 200 meters left and raced past the leaders for victory.
Courtney Fritz threw a personal best and won the discus compeititon over Drake Relays champ Majesty Tutson of City High.
Micaela Haight won the shot put for West.
Little Hawk senior Mariah Jordan washed away the frustrations of failing to qualify for the Drake Relays final with a convincing
win in the 100 hurdles. Jordan's time of 15.25 seconds was her best time of the season.
"I've had a couple disappointments at Drake you know," she said. "But my coaches told me and my dad told me, 'Don't let
it get to you. You've got to put the hard work in in practice.'
"I had to do it every single day in practice. It wasn't one of my best starts. I feel like I should have pushed my left
leg a little bit. I felt 100 percent better. I haven't felt this good the entire season. We had to go back to the drawing
board a few times."
Wilkinson out-raced Gehrke to win the 200 meters. Wilkinson was clocked in 25.00, .51 seconds ahead of the West High junior
sprinter. Wilkinson said the 200, as opposed to the 100, enables her to get up to speed easier and she is able to maintain
"Lately I've been trying really hard to be aggressive in the first 100 because if it's not there in the first 100 you're
not going to make it up," Wilkinson said. "I used to (worry about burning out), but I feel like I have enough adrenaline and
motivation that I'm not going to burn out."
Gehrke said she also wanted to get out well the first 100 but she said she wasn't able to maintain her speed like she wanted
"That's how she passed me," Gehrke said. "I normally keep my speed on that but today I just, I don't know."
City High (Katie Langenfeld, Ashley Fuller, Jill Stephenson, Emily Fagan) followed up its third-place finish in the Drake
Relays with a victory in the girls 4x800 relay. City's first three legs provided anchor Emily Fagan with about a 50-meter
lead, and Fagan took the baton home easily in 9:54.00..
"That was the plan so I could come back and run the open 8," Fagan said. "All three of them (busted it). They made the
Fagan was third in the 800 which was won by Jessica Yagla in a final 50-meter burst to overtake West High's Jessica Shull.
City junior Tara Mills won the girls 400 meters in 59.99, beating West's Kalee Schilling by 1.24 seconds.
"I knew it was going to be tough competition," Mills said. "I felt like there were people coming up on me so I pushed it
as hard as I could. We were really pumped because we wanted to try to beat West High for the first time in four years. So
everybody is giving everything they have."
Mills later anchored City's winning sprint medley relay, overtaking West High in the final 250 meters of the 400-meter
City won a dramatic 4x400 to conclude the meet when Yagla caught West's anchor at the very end.
Virginia Johnson and Stephanie Brooks were 1-2 in the high jump for the Little Hawks. Johnson was the only jumper to clear
5-3 for the victory.
Girls team results: 1. West High 206, 2. City High 174, 3. Ames 52, 4. Pleasant Valley 51, 5. North Scott 38, 6. WDM Valley
35, 7. Linn-Mar 29, 8. Muscatine 3.
Individual results (Top three and all City and West placewinners)
High jump--1. Virginia Johnson (C) 5-3, 2. Stephanie Brooks (C) 5-2, 3. Kelly Hering (PV) 5-2, 4. Caroline Van Voorhis
(W) 4-10, 6T. Ashley Weinschen (W) 4-8.
4x200--1. West High (Lauren Stoner, Katie Kelley, Tiffany Roth, Morgan Roskos) 1:48.09, 2. Valley 1:50.00, 3. Ames 1:50.46,
4. City High (Nicole Burian, Kelsey Coleman, Kari Mueller, Brittany Nelson) 1:50.70.
Sprint medley--1. City High (Nicole Burian, Mariah Jordan, Kari Mueller, Tara Mills) 1:53.14, 2. West High (Brooke Ludvicek,
Chloe Hoagland, Morgan Roskos, Tiffany Roth) 1:55.70, 3. Linn-Mar 1:56.92.
1500--1. Nichole Engelhardt 4:47..09, 2. Meg Richardson (C) 4:51.42, 3. Taylor Fehlberg (W) 4:57.54, 4. Melanie Holman
4x100--1. West High (Brooke Ludvicek, Chloe Hoagland, Morgan Roskos, Jessica Gehrke) 49.34, 2. Pleasant Valley 49.63, 3.
City High (Emily Sparks, Brittany Nelson, Kelsey Coleman, Ashley Wilkinson) 49.73.
4x400--1. City High (Ashley Wilkinson, Jordan Sullivan, Ashley Fuller, Jessica Yagla) 4:05.80, 2. West High (Liza Minor,
Whitney Schuette, Jessica Shull, Kalee Schilling) 4:06.10, 3. Ames 4:13.75.
Drake previews what's to come at state meet Susan Harman Prep sports notebook
The Drake Relays provides the fodder for state track meet projections. Those projections come with caveats as always:
• The state meet includes more events than Drake (four more for girls, three for boys);
• The relay events are loaded up with the best athletes at Drake, and those athletes may have to be used elsewhere
in the state meet;
• Athletes from other classes skew the points;
• Injured athletes may not have run at Drake but are available at the state meet (think Waukee's Collette Gnade and
Cedar Rapids Washington's Ronnie Henderson);
• The two events are entirely different animals in terms of planning and execution for both athletes and coaches;
• The district/regional qualifying system that relies on one day's performance adds an element of uncertainty that
isn't present with Drake qualifying;
• Athletes will have had an additional month of training and competition.
West High's girls led the Drake Relays Class 4A "scoring" with 59.5 points in nine events. Sioux City East posted 54 in
five events and Waukee 47 in eight events. Trailing were Dowling with 38 and City High with 30.
Last year Waukee had a slight edge at Drake over Dowling and West, but West edged Waukee for the state title a month later.
So it's probably safe to say this method can identify the contenders even if it does not guarantee a winner.
"The brightest part of the Drake Relays for us from a team standpoint was our distance runners ... and our hurdlers," West
High coach Mike Parker said.
Nichole Engelhardt and Rachel Hegeman combined for nine points in the 3,000 meters, and West picked up another three in
the 1,500. The Women of Troy were third in the shuttle hurdle relay and have Liza Minor waiting in the wings to compete in
the 400 hurdles.
What Parker likes most is that his team can score points in all three areas: field events, individual running events and
in relays. Most years you also need a star performer who can win, and West has that in sprinter Jessica Gehrke, the winner
of the Drake long jump who was second in the 100 meters and anchored the second-place 4x100 team.
It's a silver lining for West Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES -- Looking at the glum faces of the West High 4x100 relay members, you'd think they had drop-kicked a baton
into the infield instead of finishing second. But you had to consider that within about 24 hours time, the Women of Troy had
gone from setting a Drake Relays record in the event to failing to hold serve.
"It's hard to go from such a fantastic day as we had (Friday), I mean a record-setting," junior Morgan Roskos said. "We
ran great. The exchanges were all perfect; all the legs were really good.
"Going into it today we knew what we wanted to do; we knew what we had to do. But things didn't work out in our favor this
Waukee won in 48.72 seconds, which was only .03 behind West's record-breaking run the night before.
"That was our No. 1 competition," Roskos said of Waukee. "We knew that was the team we had to go for."
West was second in 49.31, edging Davenport Central by .02 seconds. City High was fifth.
"Everything was different," junior Jessica Gehrke said. "Yesterday on almost every exchange we were handing off first so
we had the lead on the exchanges. Today we handed off maybe like third so we kind of had to catch up when we were running
to make up the stagger.
"Our energy was the same like before. I don't know if it was nerves."
"There's always pressure that we have to deal with in every meet," senior Brooke Ludvicek said.
Friday night's performance is one the team will try to channel next month at the state meet.
"Being fourth leg, I saw everything coming together, and I got really excited," Gehrke said. "That's how I was able to
pass that girl, I don't remember who it was, but I just had this energy that my team was going and they were ready."
Yet Saturday was slightly different.
"It got in our heads a little too much what we needed to do and all the pressure, like how perfect we needed to get it,"
junior Chloe Hoagland said. "(Friday) our handoffs were right on."
The four will take the experience and try to learn from it.
"We've got state in a month and we've got Waukee again, so we have another shot, not for a Drake flag, but now for a state
title," Roskos said.
West High (Jessica Shull, Taylor Fehlberg, Nichole Engelhardt and Rachel Hegeman) was fifth in the 4x800 in 9:36.02.
• WEST HURDLES TO THIRD: West High's girls shuttle hurdle relay team survived qualifying and rain during the finals
to finish third.
"It wasn't too bad," Natalie Mason said of the traction. "We were focusing on not thinking about the rain. We practice
in the rain a lot."
The Women of Troy (Brooke Ludvicek, Rebecca Tanner, Nicole Jensen and Mason) qualified with a time of 1:07.54 earlier in
the morning. Their time in the final was 1:07.44.
Ludvicek gave West a lead, but champion Logan-Magnolia took charge from the second leg on.
"I kept hitting with my trail leg," Tanner said.
"It's a great learning experience," Mason said. "We have five girls that we've kind of been switching around, and today
this is the first time we've run with this lineup. It's good competition having five girls who are right there. It keeps us
Waukee was the only Class 4A school to finish ahead of West, so this is an event that represents a lot of potential next
month at the state meet.
April 24, 2009
Gehrke leaps to title with dramatic finish Susan Harman Iowa City Press-Citizen
DES MOINES -- Davenport Central senior Alexis Mitchell hit the sand and exulted. She passed West High's Jessica Gehrke
on her second-to-last long jump at the Drake Relays and thought she had finally slain the dragon.
But Gehrke wasn't through, and in the final jump of the night, she sailed past Mitchell with a personal-best jump of 18
feet, 11 inches to win her first Drake Relays long jump title by 4½ inches.
"Oh my gosh, this is crazy," Gehrke said by the railing of the stands after receiving the congratulations of her coaches.
Gehrke led with a jump of 18-2½ before Mitchell leaped past to 18-6¾.
"That's a good jump," Gehrke said. "I was like, well, it's not over yet. I still have one more jump, and I knew it was
in me that I could get that one more jump. I just pushed myself to get it."
She was all alone at the top of the runway knowing exactly what she had to do.
"I just picked up my speed a little bit and made sure I hit the board and just went up in the air," she said. "I had no
idea (if the jump was long enough). I just looked at my coaches and my coaches were yelling. And I'm like, 'OK.' I heard them
and I was like, 'Woo.' Because that was my PR, obviously.
"Coach (Mike) Parker knows when I have good jumps just by my form and how I get to the board. So I just look at him, and
he'll tell me."
Mitchell, on the other hand, looked devastated. She was third at the state indoor meet behind Gehrke and Ar'tiana Black-Scott
of Waukee and she's been pointing toward Gehrke ever since.
But Gehrke was looking for something too after a disappointing third-place finish a year ago at Drake and at state.
"That kind of helped me work to get better, thinking that I wanted to get this," she said. "So I worked hard every single
day to try to accomplish this goal."
She came in seeded first, and in the end that's where she finished.
"It's very exciting," she said. "I've been wanting to do it forever, since my freshman year. It's a dream, and it just
became a reality."
• West High had a strong showing in the girls 3,000 meters. Dowling's Katie Flood won her third consecutive title
as expected, but West's Nichole Engelhardt and Rachel Hegeman were fourth and fifth, respectively, and Allison Fick was 11th
and Taylor Fehlberg 13th. Engelhardt finished in 10 minutes, 25.73 seconds.
PRESS CITIZEN ARTICLE
March 17, 2009
West wins 11 events
The Women of Troy have to feel pretty good about the upcoming outdoor
season after winning 11 events the Mississippi Valley Conference Indoor Meet Monday at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.
Jessica Gehrke led the way, winning three gold medals for West. She
placed first in the long jump, 60 meter, and 4x100.
No team scores
Shot put -- 1. Micaela Haight (W) 39-3; 3. Courtney Fritz (W) 36-9;
5. Christiana Fairfield (W) 34-7.
Long jump -- 1. Jessica Gehrke (W) 17-7¾; 6. Shahana Williams (W)
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