Mid-Prairie and Highland will be represented at the Drake Relays, with athletes qualifying in four events.
Marie Hostetler will run for Mid-Prairie in both the 1,500 and 3,000-meter runs. The 3,000 will be run on Thursday afternoon and the 1,500 on Saturday afternoon. Hostetler achieved an auto-qualifying blue standard time in the 3,000 at 10:14.76. She ran a 4:44.05 in the 1,500.
Iowa City Liberty freshman Ashlyn Keeney leads the state in both events, but with Keeney not running the 1,500 Hostetler is the No. 1 seed in the event.
Highland’s Emily Yahnke made the cut in the long jump with a long so far this season of 17-feet 2.5-inches. Dubuque Wahlert’s Aliyah Carter leads the state with a long of 18-feet 5.25 inches.
Highland coach Angela Strobel said Yahnke has nailed down her final step and is shifting focus to improving her run up.
“She has shifted her focus toward getting up to speed and executing the penultimate step rather than overly worrying about the board,” Strobel said. “I think this shift in focus will help her get back in the mid to upper 17s.”
The Highland junior has now qualified in back-to-back years in the long jump. She placed 21st last season with a long of 16-feet 1.75-inches.
The Mid-Prairie boys qualified their 4x100-meter relay during the last week of qualification. A perfect night of weather at their home meet last Tuesday combined with a strong field to push them put them under the cutoff.
According to QuikStats, five teams ran season bests at the Mid-Prairie Hawk Relays including the Mid-Prairie relay of Clarke Latcham, Tom Butters, Elmir Ganibegovic and Grant Boyse with a time of 45.34.
Mid-Prairie coach Dain Jeppson said it was proof that hard work is rewarded.
“We want our kids to strive to compete against the best kids in the state. The kids have been working hard so it’s fun to see the kids get rewarded for their efforts,” Jeppson said.
This year’s expanded field from 80 teams to 96 allowed the Golden Hawks to qualify. The final team to qualify ran a 45.35, just 0.01 seconds off the Golden Hawks. The top boys time in the event is 42.63 by Waukee.
The Mid-Prairie and Highland girls 4x100-meter relay teams were under the cutoff, but according to Strobel prior commitments got in the way.
“The girls have prom plans and appointments that they did not want to miss out on,” Strobel said. “It’s unfortunate that our school calendar forced them to make a choice like that.”
The relays take place starting today until Saturday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. A live stream of Thursday’s events is available online and Hostetler’s 1500-meter run will be on NBC Sports Network on Saturday.