DES MOINES - Ready to make the most of their last opportunities of the year, the Fort Dodge boys and girls track teams will be represented by a combined nine entries at this week's 2014 Iowa Co-Ed State Track and Field Championships.
Class 4A action begins at 9 a.m. Thursday inside Drake Stadium.
Junior Cray Washington (100 and 200), seniors Riley Prescott (shot put) and Jake Porter (shot put) and the 4x100 relay quartet of sophomore Keegan Myers, senior Zach Anderson, sophomore Sam Cook and Washington will comprise the Dodger boys lineup.
Messenger photo by Josh Meyer
State qualifiers for the Fort Dodge boys and girls track teams are, front row, left to right, Alexis Wilcox, Lexi Astor, Tiana Mericle, Car’Maiya Mosley, Justice Crooks and Shariah Smith. Back: Cray Washington, Keegan Myers, Sam Cook, Jake Porter, Riley Prescott, Zach Anderson, Andre Flores and J.T. Wigley.
Washington will be making his third straight state appearance. He was a runner-up in both the 100 (11.31) and the 200 (22.40) at last Thursday's district meet in Ankeny. Washington, a school record-holder in the 100, is also a three-time Drake Relays participant.
Washington enters seeded 15th in the 100 and fifth in the 200, respectively.
"I think Cray will contend in both events," FDSH head coach John McBride said. "He's healthy now and feeling good and confident (Washington battled through a hamstring injury earlier this season).
"I'm fully expecting him to go down and medal. He knows where to go and what to do, so at this point, (state) is just another place to him."
Prescott and Porter will each be making their debuts in Des Moines. Prescott, a three-time state wrestling qualifier, won a district title with a throw of 49 feet. Porter settled for fourth at 48-1.
"Jake and Riley have been consistent for us all year long," said McBride. "I was really glad to see them both get in after missing out last year."
Fort Dodge's 4x100, which also competed at the Drake Relays here last month, placed second at districts with a time of 44.72. Due to an illness, Myers was replaced on the first leg by junior J.T. Wigley. Myers entered the state-qualifying meet with the fastest clocking in the 400. Both Washington and Myers ran on the Dodger 4x100 here last spring.
"J.T. did a great job of stepping in for Keegan after he got sick," McBride said. "We're sitting at about 15th in the 4x1 heading in (to state), but you never know what might happen if we run the way we're capable of."
On the girls side, the Dodgers will feature senior Tiana Mericle (100 and 200), the 4x100 (freshman Shariah Smith, freshman Car'Maiya Mosley, senior Lexi Astor and Mericle) and the sprint medley (Smith, Mosley, Astor and Mericle).
Mericle captured district gold in the 200 (26.20), while grabbing silver in the 100 (13.27). She is making her third consecutive state trip in both events.
"I think Tiana can be in the finals of the 200, but the 100 will be a little tougher," said Constable. "Unfortunately, she was running against a pretty good head wind at Ankeny. You don't worry about district times now, though, because everyone will be running in the same conditions at state."
The Dodger sprint medley finished second at districts in 1:54.60, while the 4x100 advanced despite placing third (51.79). Earlier this year at the Drake Relays, Fort Dodge's 4x100 checked in seventh after setting a new school record (49.64) in the prelims.
"We're just hoping our handoffs are clean, but speed for speed, I think we can run with anybody," Constable said. "It's nice being able to have two seniors like Lexi and Tiana on the relays since sometimes it takes freshmen a little longer to understand the atmosphere of where you're at.
"We're excited and looking forward to going down (to Des Moines) and competing."