With a nothing-to-lose mentality, the Fort Dodge boys and girls track programs will host a Class 4A state-qualifying meet here tonight.
Competition starts at 4 p.m. at Dodger Stadium.
Meanwhile, St. Edmond heads to Ida Grove for a Class 2A district meet with the same start time.
Rounding out the rest of the eight-team field in Fort Dodge are Ames, Ankeny, Boone, Mason City, Sioux City East, Sioux City North and Sioux City West.
The top two finishers from each event move on, plus the next best 12 performances from qualifying meet placewinners. State action is set for May 17-19 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Connor Hubbard (discus), Joel Herrington (shot put), Michael Carlson (discus), Wesley Castro (long jump), Cray Washington (100 and 200), Austin Anderson (400), Keegan Jones (400 hurdles) and the 4x100 (Jericho Habben, Anderson, Jones and Washington) highlight the top events for the Dodger boys, who qualified three events for state last spring. Hubbard was a runner-up in the discus (148-0) Friday at the CIML Conference meet in Mason City.
"In a perfect world, we'd like to qualify everything, but that's obviously not going to happen," FDSH head coach John McBride said. "Our last two meets made me feel pretty good with where we're sitting right now."
Ankeny and Mason City appear to be the odds-on favorites in the team race.
Spearheading the Fort Dodge girls lineup are Lexi Astor (long jump), Tara Jackson (800 and 1500), Nicole Cook (400 hurdles), Tiana Mericle (100 and 200), Noel Constable (discus), Mackenzie Jones (shot put), the 4x800 (Maddie Bodholdt, Sam Lennon, Jackson and Bryanne Kasperbauer), the distance medley (Carson Jarrard, Mericle, Astor and Jackson) and the sprint medley (Jarrard, Riley Hartman, Mericle and Astor). Jackson (1500), Cook (400 hurdles), the distance medley and sprint medley are all seeking return trips to Des Moines.
"We put our relays together the best we could to give us the best chance at qualifying," Dodger head coach Todd Constable said. "As far as individuals go, Lexi's got a tough district with the long jump, but we still look for her to be somewhere in the next best 12.
In Class 2A, the top two finishers in each event, plus the next eight performances statewide from qualifying meet placewinners, will advance to state May 17-19 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.
Joining the Gaels at Ida Grove in the 12-team field are East Sac County, South Central Calhoun, IKM-Manning, Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central, Carroll Kuemper, Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto, Missouri Valley, Ridge View, Tri- Center, Underwood and host OA/BCIG.
Bill Kibby's SEHS boys are aiming for an impressive eighth consecutive district crown. Last spring, the green and white sent 12 events to Des Moines en route to their second 2A state crown in three years.
"Our two goals going over (to Ida Grove) are first getting as many events to state as we can and then also trying to win an eighth straight district title," Kibby said. "Looking at some of the other times, we're certainly going to have our work cut out for ourselves. The events we're strong in are the same events that teams in that part of the state are strong in, too.
"It's really hard to decide what events to gamble on, because sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I expect this to be a very nerve-racking meet and similar to conference where we battled real hard and just couldn't quite win."
Fresh off another runner-up North Central Conference showing, St. Edmond continues to build momentum at the most opportune time. Neil Flattery (400 and 800), Nate Kolacia (1600 and 3200) and Hank Lentsch (high jump) all captured individual gold for the Gaels at the league meet Monday in Humboldt. Flattery, a University of Iowa recruit, was a state champion in both the 400 and 800 a year ago, while Kolacia secured a state victory in the 1600 and placed fourth in the 3200. Lentsch also settled for seventh at state in the high jump.
Flattery boasts the fastest 800 time (1:54.94) in the state this year and recently established a new Drake Relays meet record (1:55.18) in that same event. Flattery also owns the second best 2A clocking in the 400 (49.46). Kolacia ranks third in the 2A 1600 (4:31.35) and Lentsch is tied for the top 2A mark in the high jump (6-05).
Cory Angstrom (long jump and sprints), Aaron McElroy (sprints) and several relays will each be leaned on as well for the Gaels.
On the girls side, St. Edmond is anchored by Mary Eide (1500), Hannah Lentsch (high jump), Kara Salinas (400 hurdles), Jaci Brungardt (400 hurdles), the distance medley (Jaci Stumpf, Lentsch, Maddie McCarville and Eide), the sprint medley (Stumpf, Amanda Lansman, Libby Augustine and McCarville), the 4x100 (McCarville, Stumpf, Lansman and Lentsch) and the 4x200 (McCarville, Lansman, Augustine and Lentsch).
"We're close to the top two teams (Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central and IKM-Manning) in the sprint medley (the Gaels trail both squads by around two seconds) and have talked about possibly lowering some times by being smoother on our handoffs and running hard all the way through our exchanges," SEHS head coach Donn Larson said.
Lentsch (high jump), the 4x200 and distance medley were all district champions a year ago for SEHS, which ended up qualifying nine entries for state. The Gael distance medley also captured gold at the North Central Conference meet Monday at Clarion, while Lentsch settled for a runner-up league showing in the high jump.
Contact Josh Meyer at (515) 573-2141, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org