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West girls roll to victory



West High's Danica Haight competes in the shot put Tuesday at West High. She placed first.  Press-Citizen / Jason A. Cook

It figured that the girls' shot put record would be a casualty of the Women of Troy Relays Tuesday. West High sophomore Danica Haight had already hurled the shot 43 feet, 9 inches this season, and the reigning record was 40-3 by former West star Maureen Head.

Haight filled the bill, tossing the shot 42-5 in one of her first throws to win the event and break the 5-year-old record.

She helped lead the home team to victory with 180 points, 58 more than second-place Mount Pleas-ant in the eight-team field.

"They told me the meet record was like 40 (feet)," Haight said. "I was hoping I would. I want to improve every meet."

She is still in the hunt for Head's school record (44-6), which is certainly in range after the huge improvement Haight has made in the last year.

After her final throw, West High throws coach Brad Wymer lightly scolded the prodigy for becoming somewhat gun shy after a scratch and not going through the circle with extra oomph.

"He said that I shouldn't be scared after a scratch because you should be so powerful after a scratch," she said.

Freshman Taylor Freeman was second in the shot and won the discus as the field events led the way for the Women of Troy.

"Those two ladies are just doing a great job," West High coach Mike Parker said. "Alison Dirks had an incredible night, too. She only cleared 5-3 but we jumped clear to 5-6 after clearing that. She had a great effort at it."

The 4x100 relay of Katie Johnson, Lindsay Freeman, Heather Brechtel and Lisa Mellecker set a school record with a time of 50.58 seconds. Freeman also won the 100 hurdles, with Johnson finishing second.

West High began to flex its muscles on the track by winning the 4x800. The team of Janet Dobyns, Elise Walz, Sarah Wickman and Claire Hall overcame Mount Pleasant's lead to finish in a time of 9:50.74 to win. Wickman sliced a couple seconds off the lead, and Hall caught the Panther anchor in the final few hundred meters.

"It was a little challenging today," Hall said. "It was a little bit of a mental fight today. It was just one of those days."

Wickman said the relatively hot weather for early April wasn't a factor.

"When you run you don't really notice if it's hot or there's wind," she said. "You're just focusing on your time."

None of West High's "name" distance runners ran the 3,000, but Dobyns said it wasn't because the team wasn't focusing on this meet, and the effort in the 4x800 was proof of that.

"I think always at our home meet we want to be strong," she said. "We switch around every meet, but our home meet is pretty important to us."

As if to emphasize the point, Dobyns won the 1,500 meters later in 4:51.20.

Walz, a freshman, was somewhat in awe of her celebrated teammates.

"I get really nervous," she said. "They are so talented. In junior high I would hear about them on the news. It's just amazing to be here. I don't feel like I really fit in with them."

There is no lack of incentive for the Women of Troy in this event after placing third at the state meet last May.

"We're trying to reclaim our title this year," Hall said.

West won going away despite not using Julia Frudden, Ally Weaver and Jordan Stahlecker, with Hall having to scratch in the 800 because of illness and with a disqualification in the shuttle hurdle relay.

"We've never lost this meet since I've been here, and it means a lot to us," Parker said.

Team scores -- 1. West High 180; 2. Mount Pleasant 122; 3. Burlington 78; 4. Cedar Rapids Prairie 57; 5. Cedar Rapids Xavier 50; 6. Benton Community 38; 7. Muscatine 32; 8. Linn-Mar 31.

Winners, West place-winners

Shot put -- 1. Danica Haight (W) 42-5; 2. Taylor Freeman (W) 34-11.

Discus -- 1. Freeman (W) 120-8; 2. Haight (W) 110-10.

High Jump -- 1. Alison Dirks (W) 5-3; 4. Cae Lamb (W) 5-1.

Long Jump -- 1. Tiff Hendricks (B) 16-7; 5. Kolie Eko (W) 16-0.

3,000 -- 1. Hannah Lambert (B) 11:40.37; 3. Christine Skopec (W) 11:51.52; 4. Maggee Mitchell (W) 12:12.30.

4x800 -- 1. West High (Janet Dobyns, Elise Walz, Sarah Wickman, Claire Hall) 9:50.74.

Shuttle hurdle -- 1. Mount Pleasant 1:03.12.

100 -- 1. Mallory Henderson (MP) 12.61; 3. Katie Johnson (W) 12.69; 4. Lisa Mellecker (W) 13.01.

Distance medley -- 1. C.R. Prairie (K. Opheim, L.Cain, L. Carver, D. Calef) 4:30.09; 2. West High (Hadiza Sa-Aadu, Brianna Barrett, Steph Mount, Sydney Protheroe) 4:31.04.

400 -- 1. Jessica Haendler (CRP) 1:00.54; 3. Naomi Hillsman (W) 1:00.94.

4x200 -- 1. Mount Pleasant 1:46.62; 3. West High (Chelsea Bilskemper, Qiong Qiu, Sarah Minor, Heather Brechtel) 1:53.03.

800-- 1. Erin Penticoff (CRX) 2:19.38; 2. Wickman (W) 2:26.24.

100 hurdles -- 1. Lindsay Freeman (W) 14.87; 2. Johnson (W) 15.36.

200 -- 1. Callan Jacobson (BC) 25.45; 2. Lisa Mellecker (W) 25.88.

400 hurdles -- 1. Lindsay Boldt (MP) 1:05.03; 3. Naomi Hillsman (W) 1:09.06.

Sprint medley -- 1. Mount Pleasant 1:55.64; 3. West High (Tiesha Crutcher, Qiong Qiu, Rachael Park, Alison Dirks) 1:58.29.

1,500 -- 1. Janet Dobyns (W) 4:51.20; 4. Christine Skopec (W) 5:24.86.

4x100 -- 1. Mount Pleasant 50.27, 2. West High (Johnson, L. Freeman, Heather Brechtel, Mellecker) 50.58.

4x400 -- 1. West High (Hadiza Sa-Aadu, Mount, Annie McAleer, Hillsman) 4:07.82.