DES MOINES - Competing against the rest of Class 4A's best athletes provided a perfect measuring stick for the Fort Dodge boys and girls track programs on Thursday.
The Dodgers took part in a combined six events during the first session of the co-ed state meet inside Drake Stadium.
Senior Connor Hubbard highlighted the action for the FDSH boys, placing seventh in the discus (157-01). Dubuque Hempstead's Joseph Weiner (182-03) was the decisive winner. Hubbard, a recent champion at both the CIC Conference meet and districts, was 13th here a year ago with a toss of 136-06.
Connor Hubbard competes in the discus.
Tiana Mericle runs for the Dodgers.
"Connor has worked hard for four years, so I'm pretty happy for him," Dodger head coach John McBride said. "He was disappointed in how he did at state last year, but he's been good all season and came down (to Des Moines) again and accomplished his goal of placing."
Cray Washington, a sophomore, checked in 11th in the 100 prelims (11.35) and advanced to the finals in the 200 by clocking an eighth-place mark of 22.31. Washington, a Drake Relays qualifier in the 100 last month, is making his second state appearance in the 200.
"Cray ran well in both races, which was exciting to see," said McBride. "He was disappointed that he didn't get out of the blocks as well in the 100, but that's a race you have to get off to a good start in. He still only missed the finals by .03 of a second."
Fort Dodge's shuttle hurdle relay quartet of seniors Tyler Vaughn, Austin Anderson, Adrean Johnson and Keegan Jones settled for 19th (1:02.75) in the prelims. Cedar Rapids Kennedy (56.85) led the way.
"Our shuttle hurdle clipped a hurdle, but other people were falling left and right, too," McBride said. "I was glad all four seniors were able to make it down (to state)."
On the girls side, junior Tiana Mericle was 20th in the 100 prelims (13.14) and 11th (26.28) in the 200 prelims.
"Tiana was running on a sore ankle, but she still ended up with a decent time in the 200," said FDSH head coach Todd Constable. "In the 100, I think she ended up about right where she came in. Overall, I was pretty happy with her effort."
Thursday's announced attendance was 12,127.
Action in 4A resumes this morning at 9 a.m. The Dodgers will be represented by a total of four events.