Track teams target state

Both the Fort Dodge and St. Edmond boys and girls track teams have had today’s date circled all season long.

With bids to Des Moines on the line, the Dodgers and Gaels will participate in co-ed state-qualifying meets.

FDSH will travel to Ankeny for a Class 4A assignment. Rounding out the rest of the field are Ames, Ankeny, host Ankeny Centennial, Des Moines East, Des Moines North, Ottumwa and West Des Moines Dowling.

Meanwhile, SEHS visits Manson for a 2A meet. Clarion-Goldfield, Eagle Grove, East Sac County, Emmetsburg, host Manson Northwest Webster, Pocahontas Area, South Central Calhoun, OA-BCIG, Ridge View, Sioux Central and South Hamilton will also be in attendance.

Action begins at 4 p.m. at each site.

The top two finishers in every event move on in 4A, plus the next 12 best performances from qualifying meet placewinners across Iowa.

State competition is set for May 22-24 at Drake Stadium.

Cray Washington (100 and 200), Riley Prescott (shot put), Jake Porter (shot put), Keegan Myers (200 and 400), Alex Jackson (1600 and 3200), Thomas Thompson (1600 and 3200) and the 4×100 relay of Myers, Zach Anderson, Sam Cook and Washington anchor the Fort Dodge boys lineup.

“This is the first year in a while I can’t put my finger on a number of events we could get in (to state),” Dodger head coach John McBride said. “We were talking at practice (Wednesday) on how we could get 10 things in or we could get two or three things in.”

Washington, a junior, owns the state’s second fastest time in the 100 (10.72). He placed eighth in that same event last month in his third appearance at the Drake Relays. Washington, a two-time state qualifier, actually owns the school record in the 100. Myers and Washington each ran on Fort Dodge’s 4×100 and 4×200 relays at state in 2013.

On the girls side, the Dodgers will lean on Rachel Herrington (shot put), Car’Maiya Mosley (shot put), Shariah Smith (100), Tiana Mericle (100 and 200), Lexi Astor (200), Justice Crooks (400 hurdles) and the sprint medley and 4×100 relays of Smith, Mosley, Astor and Mericle.

“We’re looking for our seniors Tiana, Lexi and Rachel to qualify in as many events as possible,” FDSH head coach Todd Constable said. “The younger kids always think (districts) is like Drake and are in awe of what’s going on, but you’ve only got one shot to get in and this is it.”

Mericle is a two-time defending state qualifier in both the 100 and 200. Fort Dodge’s 4×100 and 4×200 are also seeking return trips to Des Moines.

In 2A, the top two finishers in every event, plus the next eight performances statewide from qualifying meet placewinners advance.

Head coach Bill Kibby is hoping his St. Edmond boys can save their best for last. The perennial power Gaels have finished in the top four of the 2A state meet in five of the past six years. Last spring, SEHS qualified five events for Des Moines.

“I think we have one of the tougher districts around with (two-time reigning 1A state champion) Manson (Northwest Webster), South Central Calhoun and Pocahontas, and we’ll be very fortunate to get anything down to state,” said Kibby, who directed SEHS to state crowns in 2009 and 2011. “As I have looked at (QuikStats), we’re not very high in any events. We just have to go over (to Manson) and do the best we can.”

Freshman Megan Flattery (400, 800 and high jump) leads the way for the Gael girls, who had three entries reach state a year ago.

“Megan’s really been working hard to improve,” St. Edmond head coach Liz Flattery said. “I think we have a very fast district. It will be a good battle to see how much our girls really want it.”