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State Track & Field Meet Results

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West runs away with title

Gehrke wins 4 events; Women of Troy champs for 6th time

DES MOINES -- What the final day of the Class 4A state track meet lacked in dramatics it made up for in decisiveness.

The West High girls ran away with the state track championship Saturday at Drake Stadium, piling up 91 points with six event victories to beat West Des Moines Dowling by 24 points. City High was third with 61 points.

"Usually, I miss half the meet because I have my head between my legs praying like crazy, but this meet I actually got to watch about everything," West coach Mike Parker said. "I had a good feeling all the way through. Jess Gehrke helps with that good feeling."

Senior Jessica Gehrke won the 100, 200 and anchored the winning 4x100 relay to lead the Saturday charge for the Trojans. Overall she won four events, the first West High girl to do so in a single state meet.

West captured its sixth girls state championship and its fourth since 2006. The sixth title ties it with City High for the most by a 4A team. Only Atlantic, Tipton and North Tama have won more, each with seven.

The victory also is the sixth for Parker and puts him just one title behind Bruce Henderson of Atlantic and Dave Fetterman of Tipton.

Last year's third-place finish really set the wheels in motion for this year's championship. Parker likened it to the feeling his team had after losing to Valley in 2005, a loss that preceded three consecutive state titles and a long meet-unbeaten streak that lasted until last year's state meet.

"That was awful last year," senior Chloe Hoagland said. "It was the worst feeling ever. The bus ride home was silence."

"This is 100 times better than last year," senior Courtney Fritz said. "We were happy for the boys because they got second, but it was hard because we wanted to do better. It was just the little things that made us fall short last year.

"This is awesome, it's the best feeling."

"We started our day today in the Fieldhouse," Parker said. "I said, 'Ladies I don't know how many of you met with me last year -- that's where we had our meeting after last year -- and I don't like that feeling. And champions don't coast downhill. Let's pedal all day long. Let's get as far ahead as we can, and then we'll have a great feeling the rest of our lives.'

Gehrke and freshman McKennan Cronbaugh did all but clinch the championship with their first- and fifth-place finishes in the 100-meter dash. The two scores put West 23 points ahead of Dowling with three races left, including the 200 with Gehrke running and the 4x100, a race in which West holds the state record and was heavily favored.

Dowling had just two left, albeit one was the 1,500 with star distance runners Katie Flood and Ashley Decker who eventually earned 18 points by finishing 1-2.

The sprints were run against a gusty wind, so the times were not as good as they could have been.

"I was trying to focus on my stride and keep my arms big," Gehrke said. "My start was fairly good; I thought it could be a little better. We were there (waiting) for a little while, so I was kind of worried about getting cold. The wind was pretty strong.

"I didn't want to jump or anything. I wanted a safe, smart start but like not be last."

Gehrke repeated as state champ in the event as she did in the long jump Friday. For Cronbaugh it was just the start of what could be the same kind of career.

"It feels amazing because you ran your fastest to get there, and there are only eight people (in the final)," she said. "It's really humbling."

She saw Gehrke in the lead the whole way, and that provided incentive.

"I saw Jess out there and thought 'Oh maybe I can catch up to her,'" Cronbaugh said. "So I just kept going and going. I'm glad with fifth. I'm only a freshman, and I have three more years to work on it to get as good as Jess. I'm excited."

Gehrke's victory in the 200 sealed the championship with three events yet to be run. Cronbaugh was seventh as West accumulated 81 points.

"It was so much fun," Gehrke said. "It's so exciting. It's definitely a change from last year. That's what I thought about at the start. Last year it was so close."

Gehrke caught City's Ashley Wilkinson coming out of the curve and had the strength to take it home. Wilkinson was second, .42 seconds behind Gehrke.

"The 200 hasn't been her best event, but it looked like it today," Parker said. "She was a determined girl."

The victory in the 4x100 was icing on the cake. West's (Cronbaugh, Hoagland, Williams, Gehrke) time of 48.16 seconds fell short of the record time (47.89) it established in the preliminaries, not surprising considering the wind, but winning still was important even though the team title was already wrapped up.

"We just wanted to go all out; we didn't have anything to lose," Hoagland said.

West's big second day, in which it scored 39 points, won three events and set two records, set the stage for the rout.

"We knew we were sitting pretty good, but we knew without today yesterday didn't really mean a whole lot," senior Courtney Fritz said. "But all our runners performed amazing today."

"We perfect scored on Friday," Parker said, adding that Friday morning he had urged his team to seize the opportunity to take control of the meet then and there. "Not that I ever feel confident going into the last day, but in the other five that I won it wasn't even close to as good as I felt here."

West has prospered this past decade with a variety of talents. The Women of Troy have gone from a distance-running driven team to a sprinter-dominated team with Brad Wymer continuing to develop top-flight throwers.

"We just keep getting new incomers all the time," Gehrke said. "I didn't see (Cronbaugh) coming, and she's a great asset to our team. Everybody is all-around. We can trust that everybody can be in anything. We are such a strong team; we have a strong bond."

 

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West girls regain their crown

22 May 2010 No Comment

DES MOINES — Jessica Gehrke has swept the sprints, and Iowa City West has wrapped up the Class 4A girls’ championship at the state track meet.

Gehrke claimed the 100 in 12.46 seconds, then won the 200 in 25.53.

“I’m really pumped. I know the team was counting on me,” said Gehrke, who will compete in track and volleyball at Florida International University.

“I just wanted to end here with the best I could do.”

And she wanted to put to rest a ghost of last year, when Whitney Westrum of Waukee edged her in a photo finish in the 200.

“I really wanted to change the result of last year,” she said.

Ashley Wilkinson of Iowa City High was second in the 200.

Layloni Beard of Cedar Rapids Washington had the highest finish of the day among 4A Metro schools, placing third in the 100-meter hurdles in 15.68 seconds.

“I didn’t think I could place that high,” she said. “I felt really good, really strong.”

 

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West forges ahead in 4A girls’ race

21 May 2010 No Comment


 

If Micaela Haight was, say, a Great Dane, she probably would have been euthanized.

It would have been the “humane” thing to do to a sufferer of hip dysplasia.

Haight underwent surgery for the condition in November. She was on crutches for two months. She’s got pins and screws inside her.

Iowa City West's Shahana Williams and Chloe Hoagland celebrate their win in the girls' Class 4A 800-meter relay Friday at the state track meet. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

“A nice scar, too,” she said.

And that’s why Haight wept after her conversation with throwing coach Ron Wymer.

“He said he didn’t know if I’d be able to throw 40 feet this year,” Haight said.

Instead, she nailed a throw of 43 feet, 9 1/2 inches to win the Class 4A girls’ shot put championship at the state track meet Friday at Drake Stadium.

It was worth the rehabilitation.

“Wymer said I deserved this. I worked so hard to come back,” said Haight, who will throw at the University of Iowa.

Haight’s title, earned when her fourth throw surpassed Margo Shandri of Urbandale (43-7 3/4), highlighted a big day for Iowa City West.

Jessica Gehrke claimed the long jump on her final attempt and the Women of Troy captured the 800-meter relay on their way to taking the lead in the 4A team standings.

With 10 of 19 events in the books, West leads with 55 points. West Des Moines Dowling is second with 36, Iowa City High third with 32.

Gehrke and Ames’ Emily Wandling played tug-of-war with the long jump lead before Gehrke won it with a final leap of 18-2 1/4.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “My heart was pumping.”

Gehrke, who is winding down a brilliant prep career before leaving for Florida International University in the fall, spoke with Coach Mike Parker before her final jump.

“He just told me to do it like everything I’ve done, to get my speed up and float in the air the best that I could,” Gehrke said.

West’s Rebecca Tanner, Chloe Hoagland,  McKennan Cronbaugh and Shahana Williams claimed the 4200 in 1:42.54, a 4A state-meet record and the third fastest time in state history.

“People said we weren’t going to win this,” Cronbaugh said.

Such as?

“We’re not naming names,” Hoagland added.

West came into the event seeded third.

“This is where it counts,” Williams said.

Cronbaugh, Hoagland and Williams combined with Gehrke to improve on West’s all-time Iowa best in the 400 relay, running 47.89 seconds in the preliminaries

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West, Solon take titles at state track meet

Jon Klinkowitz • Iowa City Press-Citizen • May 23, 2010

DES MOINES -- The West High girls track team won it's sixth title since 2000, and Solon continued to build its Title Town reputation by winning both the boys and girls Class 2A titles at the state track meet Saturday at Drake Stadium.

Jessica Gehrke won the 100 meters, 200, long jump and anchored the winning 4x100 relay to lead the Women of Troy to a first-place finish with 91 points over West Des Moines Dowling's 67 in Class 4A. City High was third with 61.

Although West clinched it's title early, it was down to the wire for the Spartans. The boys needed to win the 4x100 relay over second-place West Marshall, and the girls needed one more point in the 4x400 with eighth place to tie. They got both

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West girls running away with lead

 

Women of Troy 1st in 3 events Friday

DES MOINES -- There was no naught in juggernaut Friday. The West High girls track team roared back with a vengeance, winning three events and scoring 39 points to take a commanding 19-point lead in the 4A team race with 55 points.

West Des Moines Dowling is second with 36, and City High and Ankeny are tied for third with 32. West won the shot put, long jump and 4x200 relay to highlight the day.

The 4x200 team of Rebecca Tanner, Chloe Hoagland, McKennan Cronbaugh and Shahana Williams raced to a state-record time of 1 minute, 42.54 seconds. Only Hoagland is a senior.

"Our handoffs, we nailed them," Williams said. "Everyone just ran their hardest. It's an event that we came in third (out of regionals), and we just had to get them."

"People said we weren't going to win," Hoagland said. "But we proved them wrong."

Who said they weren't going to win?

"City," Hoagland said. "Other people, Jefferson."

Hmmm. The unlikely-o-meter is making noises. Perhaps this is just a group talented enough to have won without such "motivation."

"Coach just said to leave it all out on the track," Hoagland said. "This is my last 4x2 on this track."

"We had to do it for Chloe," Cronbaugh said.

"This is where it all counts," Williams said. "It matters the most, and we have to nail everything."

"(At regionals) we were trying to be safe and make sure we had perfect handoffs, and here we went all out," Hoagland said.

City High placed fifth out of the second of three heats and ran a season-best time of 1:43.70.

West's Jessica Gehrke repeated as state champion in the long jump by borrowing a page from her Drake Relays history. In 2009 at Drake, Gehrke had to come from behind on her final jump to win the title. That's what it took again on Friday.

Ames' Emily Wandling had taken the lead with her second-to-last jump of 17 feet, 8.75 inches. Gehrke jogged over to the stands for a brief conversation with West coach Mike Parker, returned and soared 18-3.25 for the victory.

"It's real exciting," she said. "My heart was pumping. Coach told me it's just like anything you've done. My whole team was here watching me; everyone was pulling for me. I had all the luck I could get

 

"Those moments like that, they are so exciting, and that's one of my favorite parts of track."

 

The winning jump came right after she scratched by perhaps a toenail. This time she landed well short of the board and still went far enough to win.

Gehrke had to leave to run the 4x100 preliminary before the finals were held. All her team did (Cronbaugh, Hoagland, Williams, Gehrke) was to break its own state all-time record by .21 seconds with a time of 47.89.

"That was so exciting; that really just pumped me up right there," Gehrke said.

She said it wasn't distracting nor fatiguing having an intervening event and with the long jump stretching to a two-hour marathon.

"I think it gave me a little extra energy here to get me to go faster and boost me to go up in the air," she said.

Nine events remain Saturday. The Women of Troy are in six events including three in which Gehrke plays a prominent role: the 100, 200 and 4x100. City High will have seven events in which to try to climb back into the race. Dowling has only four events left but two will include star distance runner Katie Flood who will be favored to win. Ankeny is only in four events today.

Those moments like that, they are so exciting, and that's one of my favorite parts of track."

The winning jump came right after she scratched by perhaps a toenail. This time she landed well short of the board and still went far enough to win.

Gehrke had to leave to run the 4x100 preliminary before the finals were held. All her team did (Cronbaugh, Hoagland, Williams, Gehrke) was to break its own state all-time record by .21 seconds with a time of 47.89.

"That was so exciting; that really just pumped me up right there," Gehrke said.

She said it wasn't distracting nor fatiguing having an intervening event and with the long jump stretching to a two-hour marathon.

"I think it gave me a little extra energy here to get me to go faster and boost me to go up in the air," she said.

Nine events remain Saturday. The Women of Troy are in six events including three in which Gehrke plays a prominent role: the 100, 200 and 4x100. City High will have seven events in which to try to climb back into the race. Dowling has only four events left but two will include star distance runner Katie Flood who will be favored to win. Ankeny is only in four events today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friday morning state track update

Susan Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • May 21, 2010

The West High girls track team maximized its performance Friday morning at the state track meet.

Senior Micaela Haight repeated as shot put champion while teammate Courtney Fritz was fourth. The West 4x200 relay (Rebecca Tanner, Chloe Hoagland, McKennan Cronbaugh, Shahana Williams) won in a state meet record time of 1 minute, 42.54 seconds. City High's 4x200 team was fifth, winning the second of the three heats.

West also had a fifth-place finish in the distance medley after having qualified seventh. City was seventh after having qualified fourth.

The Women of Troy still had Jessica Gehrke competing in the long jump, where she is the defending champion.

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West relay team is a fantastic foursome

Cronbaugh, Hoagland, Williams and
Gehrke eye record-setting weekend

Susan Harman • Iowa City Press-Citizen • May
20, 2010

It's all true. Last winter evil genius Mike Parker was working in the lab that has produced track star after
track star like a robot assembly line. The West High girls coach put together a concoction, opened the
windows and let the cosmic rays zap the contents.

Voila! The Fantastic Four.

West High's 4x100 relay team of McKennan Cronbaugh, Chloe Hoagland, Shahana Williams and Jessica Gehrke came flying out and haven't been slowed since.
"I never figured we'd be as fast as we were," Hoagland said. "I guess I never thought about it."
The four broke the Iowa all-time record in the event at the Drake Relays, recording a time of 48.10
seconds. They have their hearts set on taking that number below 48 seconds at the state track meet  this weekend."They've had a vision of this since our first outdoor meet," Parker said. "They are four of the most fun-loving, happy girls.""We had this bond, this connect, right away," Williams said.
"We're really good friends, and I think we just click really well," Hoagland said.

West's experience in the 4x100 has been good in recent years thanks to an abundance of sprinting
talent. But it still takes a little something special to put together a seamless run in an event that demands precision in four different spots.

Remember that even the very best girls sprinters in this state don't always run the 100-meter dash in 12
seconds flat. These four are merely a fraction of a second over that pace because the start is immediate and the three handoffs happen at top speed."We practice handoffs a lot," Hoagland said, rolling
her eyes. "More than I'd like to.""They do the exchanges so well. I'm not sure those are the four fastest girls on our team, but I know they are the fastest collection of 4x100 runners ever," Parker said. "They are trying to do some technique things when they are running all out as fast as they humanly can."

Gehrke is a four-year starter on the relay. She was the first leg as a freshman before succeeding Lisa
Mellecker as anchor. Hoagland, the other senior in the group, has been a two-year fixture. She is the
second leg.

Cronbaugh, an effervescent freshman with enormous potential, starts the race, and Williams, a
sophomore, is the third leg. They are the new members of the team this season.

"It's been real exciting. We bring so much energy to each other," Gehrke said.

While it might seem risky to have a freshman start the race with the ever-present potential for a false
start, Parker saw what Gehrke did as a freshman, and he thinks the spot fits Cronbaugh.

"It's heavily based on reaction time," he said. "Her reaction time is phenomenal."

"I'm so used to starting with that baton in my hand in the blocks," Cronbaugh said. "I feel like I'm better
at giving the baton than receiving it. I just try to get out of the blocks first and hand off the baton first."

She doesn't mind the curve because she uses the staggered start to motivate herself to catch the
runners ahead of her. After she hands off to Hoagland, Cronbaugh heads to the finish line to watch Williams rip through the curve and Gehrke bring it home.

Hoagland likes to run the straightaway and it's what she has experience with. She joked that her physique is better suited to that.

"Chloe Hoagland, it takes her a little bit longer to get going than the other girls, so we extend her steps
much further than everyone else's," Parker said. "But when Chloe gets going it's like a locomotive."

The Hoagland to Williams exchange can be the most interesting because Williams has to resist the urge
to take off too soon."It just makes me want to run faster to catch her," Hoagland said. "We've never had a bad handoff really."

Williams' improvement this season has been a key for the team.

"The one person I think is overlooked is Shahana," Parker said. "She is having a phenomenal year. She'll
be in every relay that runs the 200. She could be the most improved sprinter on our entire team. She
wasn't nearly as fast last year as she is this year."

Williams admits she didn't work as hard last year as she did this year to get ready.

"Last year, I didn't take my sports as seriously," she said, adding that she dreams of being either a
basketball player or track star. "I can't be a track star running like this. I decided, on my own to eat
healthier and push myself."

She challenged herself to train with teammates who were faster. She was motivated by the thought that
she could be a member of the 4x100 relay and eventually challenge some of Gehrke's records. She  credits Parker and Gehrke with helping motivate and push her to be better.Williams is a natural third leg because she loves the curve."Shahana is unbelievable on the curve; that's why she's such a good 200-meter runner for us," Parker said. "On that curve, she does not slow down the slightest bit like a lot of girls do."

Williams keeps her eyes on Cronbaugh at the start of the race. The freshman speedster gives her
confidence as she hands off to Hoagland.

"When I'm on the curve I start off with a huge burst, and I just try to maintain my speed the whole way,"
Williams said. "I tell myself to go the whole time. Even in practice or whenever I run I say it out loud. I
say 'Go' to myself out loud. People make fun of me."

Gehrke is the obvious choice as anchor. She is the defending 4A 100-meter champ, and she has the experience necessary to shoulder the responsibility. Gehrke gets the baton as early as possible, so she's
charged with running about 110 meters.

"Jess is there because if by chance you're ever behind, she'll take care of that, and whatever lead we
give her, she'll extend it," Parker said.

Gehrke relishes the little bit of time she has to be a spectator as her teammates carry the mail.

"I think it's really exciting because you see everything happening around the track," she said. "It
gives me more motivation; I get more excited because I can see the handoffs and see where we
are. I just get pumped up."

And when she gets the baton, she is ready.

"I really feel like a leader on the team, that they can depend on me to finish it out for them," she said.

 

 

 

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