DES MOINES - Finals tickets never materialized for Fort Dodge's Cray Washington and Tiana Mericle on day one of the Class 4A state track meet Thursday at Drake Stadium.
Washington, a junior, placed 10th in the boys 100 prelims with a time of 11.13, while checking in 12th (22.41) in the 200 prelims. West Des Moines Dowling's Rico Gafford prevailed in both of those events, clocking marks of 10.60 and 21.49, respectively. Gafford claimed the 100 title at the Drake Relays last month.
"Cray's pretty down, and I'm pretty down, but if (not making the finals) is the worst thing that ever happens to him, that's not too bad," said FDSH head coach John McBride. "His hamstring started bothering him again right at the end of the 100. He tried to push through (the 200), but he just couldn't accelerate. I know he's disappointed, but now he has some good motivation. He's already talking about getting back (to Des Moines) next year."
Washington, a school record-holder in the 100, is a three-time state qualifier. He has also competed at the Drake Relays three times.
Seniors Riley Prescott (shot put), Jake Porter (shot put) and the 4x100 will all compete for the Dodgers here today.
Despite setting a personal best, the senior Mericle finished 11th (26.09) in the girls 200 prelims and 14th (12.73) in the 100 prelims. Des Moines Roosevelt's Jalynn Roberts-Lewis advanced to the finals with the top performances in both the 100 (12.18) and 200 (24.87).
"Tiana didn't reach her goal of making the finals, but you have to look deeper into it," Fort Dodge head coach Todd Constable said. "She came in 23rd in the 100 and improved her spot. Running her fastest time ever in her last individual event to me is saying something. We thought we had a better chance (of reaching the finals) in the 200, and the difference between 8, 9, 10 and 11 was only about one-hundreth of a second.
I've been real fortunate having the chance to coach Tiana for four years. Quality athletes like her don't come around very often. She still has two more relays left (the 4x100 and sprint medley) to go out and prove herself."
Mericle was making her third straight trip to Des Moines in both the 100 and 200.
Action in 4A resumes this morning at 9 a.m.