Fort Dodge head boys track coach John McBride has been around high school athletics long enough to know that one night doesn't make your season.
McBride and the Dodgers earned just two automatic qualifiers during a Class 4A co-ed district meet Thursday night at Dodger Stadium, but the veteran coach feels confident going forward.
Junior Keegan Jones won the 400-meter hurdles title, while classmate Connor Hubbard placed second in the discus. Both will compete next week at the state meet in Des Moines.
Three other events - Joel Herrington in the shot put, Cray Washington in the 200, and Austin Anderson in the 400 - will have to wait and see if they have the next best 12 times and throws in the state out of the rest of the districts.
"I'm happy for the two kids that are going, but disappointed for the others," McBride said. "We've had a really good season, and despite this performance, I am very happy with what we have going forward and with what we have coming in. We can learn from this and build from it, but that doesn't take away from the disappointment (Thursday night)."
Ames won the district title, qualifying 10 events for sure in the process. Boone was second, followed by Ankeny, Mason City, Sioux City West, Fort Dodge, Sioux City East and Sioux City North.
Jones clocked the best time of his season, running 54.84 and leading throughout the 400 hurdles. He finished a second ahead of Ames' Zach Weiss in earning his spot at state.
"That was just an incredible time for Keegan," McBride said. "He's had a really solid year, and we felt like he could maybe have a really good performance at districts. I'm so happy that he was able to come through."
Hubbard launched a throw of 142-feet to secure his runner-up finish. Chris LaMar of Ames won the meet with a throw of 154-4.
"Connor was a little disappointed in his throw, but it doesn't matter because he is going to state," McBride said. "We told him that the important thing (Thursday) was finishing in the top-two and qualifying. Once you get down (to state), anything can happen."
Herrington, a senior, had a throw of 49-0.25 in the shot put, just under an inch behind runner-up Bryce Drager of Sioux City East. Washington's time in the 200 was 23.00 for the ninth-grader, while Anderson had a time of 53.06 in the 400.
"Austin cramped up right near the end, or else I really think he could have finished second," McBride said. "Cray's 200 showed what kind of runner he can become if he continues to progress. With Joel, you just never know if that will make it. It has before, so there is that possibility."
The state meet begins on Thursday inside Drake Stadium for 4A with the shuttle hurdle relay prelims at 2:40 p.m.
Contact Dana Becker at (515) 573-2141, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org