VAN METER — Thursday’s Class 2A state qualifying event in Van Meter featured the explosive, the fit and the determined.
Above many of the rest of their competitors shined Riley Domina, who qualified for state in the 400 meter hurdles in a new personal record time of 56.89 seconds, and Payton Winship who also set a new PR leap of 21 feet, 4 1/2 inches to qualify in the event for the second straight season.
“Payton was the known commodity,” coach Duane Matthess said. “As a returning state qualifier from last year, I had big expectations that he would be returning to state and he has come through.”
All offseason, the first-year coach was on the recruiting trail for the school’s best athletes. At this point, he’s more than pleased his recruiting pitch paid off for Domina.
Until recently, Domina had been running the anchor 400 meter leg of the school-record breaking sprint medley. Being able to run that benefited Domina on his way to building up his endurance for the 400 hurdles.
Matthess noted that he believes the 400 hurdles might be the hardest race to run in track and that has certainly made him more impressed with Domina’s adaptation.
Both Domina and Winship stand near the school record for their respective events (54.15 400 hurdles, 22-3.5 long jump).
Domina took fifth in the high jump with his leap of 5-8.
“It’s been really nice to see those two continuing get better, their jumps getting longer and their times getting better in each of their events,” Matthess said.
Clarke finished 10th in the team points race with 38 points, as Van Meter scored 120 points to win the meet.
Reliable seniors like Humberto Arellano, Byron Rivera, Nick McVey, Samuel Zaragoza-Rosales and more exit after setting the table for the growing program.
Arellano took fourth in 400 in 54.83 seconds despite battling injury for the latter part of the season.
Brian Avalos, who had one of his best leaps of the season with a long jump of 20-4.5, only took sixth in a loaded long jump field in which 11 leapers jumped at least 18 feet.
Zaragoza-Rosales took 10th in the discus with his throw of 120-4.
Byron Rivera ran sub 12-seconds (11.94) in the 100 meter dash, and was on the sixth place 4x100 group that featured Avalos, Winship and Fry.
For Matthess, it has been a year of growth as a coach,
“This is my first year getting my feet wet, learning what type of events kids will have success in,” Matthess said.
Girls relays lead Clarke
The Clarke girls finished 11th as a team with 29 team points.
The Lady Indians were led by their relays. The 4x100 unit of Chynna Beydler, Hayley Gilbert, Ashlynn Oehlert and Sarah Davis took fourth in a time of 54.39.
Clarke’s sprit medley finished fifth, as Beydler, Gilbert, Oehlert and Taylor Short produced a time of 2:03.77.
Oehlert’s 100 hurdles time of 17.46 seconds was good enough for fourth.
Chelsea Selsor finished seventh in the 800 meter run in 2:41.45 and seventh in the 1,500 (5:36.72).
Davis took eigth in the 100 meter dash and ninth in the 200.
Caitlin Clark was sixtth in the long jump (15-1) and ninth in the 400 meter dash.
Anyone who has watched Mason Cassady on the football field in recent years knows how shifty the speedy junior can be.
However, it was his mostly straight-line speed that was on display as Cassady qualified for four state events.
Cassady earned an automatic qualifier spot with a time of 22.77 seconds in the 200 meter dash, and picked up at-large bids in the 100 meter dash by taking fourth in 11.40 seconds, the 4x100 and the sprint medley.
The 4x100 unit of Cassady, Jack Smith, Jake Sheeder and Brayden Egli took fourth in 44.46 seconds.
The sprint medley took third third place in 1:36.52 thanks to the performance of Grant Richardson, Sheeder, Egli and Cassady.
On the girls side, Lilly Miller blew away her previous best 400 hurdles time for second place in 1:10.84 to take second and earn on her spot on the blue oval.
Lizzy Parrish took fourth for the Roadrunners in the 1,500 and fifth in the 800 meter run.
I-35’s 4x800 relay of Kelli Fink, Parrish, Brlley Albers and Maddie Williamson took fourth.