High School Track: Open Season

Rams, Rockets prepare for outdoor season with Ram Early Bird Invite


Sports Editor



A talented and experienced field will take to the track during Monday’s Ram Early Bird Invite in Jefferson. 

The Greene County boys’ and girls’ track and field squads welcome an overall conference champion as well as a host of other state-qualifiers for their first taste of official competition at Linduska Field in Jefferson. 

Paton-Churdan, C-M-B, Gilbert, Ogden, Manson-Northwest Webster, South Hamilton, Adair-Casey/Guthrie-Center and Winterset will kick off the outdoor spring season at 4:30 p.m. March 27. 

Defending girls’ Heart of Iowa Conference champion Gilbert headlines the eight team girls’ field. The Tigers finished 12th at last spring’s state meet in Des Moines and return a bevy of veteran athletes.  A young, yet talented squad dominated the competition a season ago. Three Tiger runners off the fourth place distance medley relay team return, including juniors Maggie Pollard and Makayla Houser and senior Carly Rahn. Rahn came in sixth in the 1,500-meter run while Pollard finished 14th in the 800-meter. Pollard and Rahn won a state title in the 4-by-800-meter relay in 2015. 

CMB’s Sailor Hinegardner finished seventh in the 60-meter hurdles at the ISU high school classic. She’s also a talented long jumper, finishing ninth with a leap of 15-02.75. Hinegardner placed 14th at least spring’s state meet in Des Moines. Brianda Bane, a CMB sophomore, was a member of the 4-by-100-meter team along with Hinegardner that placed eighth at the state meet. Senior Heather Jessen qualified for state in the 3,000-meter run. 

The Winterset Huskies qualified for four state events a year ago, and placed fourth overall in the Raccoon River Conference meet. 

Defending 3A state champion and Drake Relays champion, Megan Durbin highlights the individual girls’ field at the Ram Early Bird Invite.

The Greene County junior holds the school record in the high jump, clearing 5-08 at the 2016 Drake Relays, as a sophomore. 

She also broke the 100-meter school record, running a 12.97 in 2016. In addition to her state title, Durbin won Heart of Iowa Conference championships in the high jump (5-04), 100-meter dash (13.20), and the 200-meter (27.31). 

Senior Olivia Hansen returns as well, laying claim to a handful of school records as well in addition to a HOIC conference title in the 200-meter. Chantel Flack, the Greene County record-holder in the 800-meter, along with record-holder Nadia Fisher, are back as well. Senior Kenna Marquardt won a 2016 conference title in the discus with a throw of 113-08. 

Greene County finished 23rd at state a season ago with 10 team points. Davenport Assumption won the 3A title, blowing away the competition with 126 total points. 

As a team, Greene County came in fifth at the HOIC meet in Gilbert. 

Durbin also qualified for state in the 100-meter while the sprint medley team of Melanie Doran, Laurin Lyons, Durbin and Hansen qualified as well. 

“We are going to see where everybody is at,” Greene County girls head coach Kelly Simpson said. “The older kids will get the individual events and the younger kids, the freshman will get the relays and a chance to prove themselves. We will see how that works out for us if the weather cooperates.”

Paton-Churdan, with one of the smallest enrollments in all of Class 1A with 41 students, once again will face an uphill battle, but will call on a slew of experienced athletes. 

Megan Carey returns for her sophomore campaign after qualifying for the 1A state meet in the 400-meter as a freshman. She finished 

She also captured four silver medals at the RVC meet last spring, in the 200-meter, the 400-meter, the sprint medley and the long jump. 

Sophomore Jenna Beyers and junior Grace Geisler were also members of that sprint medley team that ran to a time of 2:01.23 at the RVC meet. Beyers qualified for the Drake Relays in the shot put 

Returning state-qualifiers highlight boys field

The Gilbert boys came in second at the HOIC meet last May, three points behind champion North Polk, who scored 116 points and return a pair of state qualifiers. 

Senior Steven Lawrence and junior Alex Sharp each qualified for state in the shuttle hurdle relay, finishing seventh. 

South Hamilton sophomore Logan Peter finished eighth at state in the 1,600-meter as a freshman, running a 4:33.62, just outside the top-five. Peter was also a member of the state-qualifying 4-by-800-meter relay team of Jared Fisher, Josiah Brown and Devon Fisher. All three return for the 2017 season. 

CMB junior Brady Kemp finished ninth at state in the shot put a season ago while Will Klapper finished 16th as a freshman. Clapper was fourth at the Iowa State High School Indoor Classic in the shot put Tuesday, March 14. 

Manson-Northwest Webster finished 11th as a team in the Class 1A state meet with 18 points. Three runners from the fifth place shuttle hurdle relay state squad return, including Riley Peters, Blake Larsen, and Hunter Johnson. The Cougars qualified for six total state events a season ago. 

The Winterset boys’ track and field team also qualified for six state events last spring, finishing 27th overall in Class 3A. 

Senior Brad Benshoof came in fourth in the Class 3A 110-meter hurdles and was also a member of the sixth place shuttle hurdle relay team of senior Noah Larson, sophomore Matt Benshoof and departed Husky Matt Baur. Tyler VanPelt returns for his senior season, as he qualified for state in the 4-by-400-meter relay and the distance medley relay. 

 In an otherwise quiet 2016 season, Ogden’s Andrew Stumbo carried the torch for a young Bulldog program. The senior finished third in the 3,200 meter run in last spring’s state meet in Des Moines. The other Ogden state qualifier, Graham Tews in the 400-meter hurdles, graduated last spring. 

Greene County lost a number of record-setting athletes to graduation last May, as Daric Whipple, Max Neese, Matthew Gordon and Ethan Woodruff all departed.

Neese and Whipple both qualified in the 200-meter and 400-meter hurdles, respectively, while the Ram 4-by-100-meter relay squad of Whipple, Neese, Logan Lansman and Chase Stoline also qualified for state, finishing 15th in the prelims.  The 4x400 meter relay team of then junior Nick Schroeder, Neese, Woodruff and Whipple finished 18th at state. 

Whipple was fifth in the 400-meter hurdles at state with a time of 54.69. Neese finished ninth in the 200-meter with a time of 22.72. 

A trio of experienced seniors should provide a pivotal boost this spring. Lansman, Stoline and Schroeder each tasted substantial success a season ago. 

The 4x100-meter relay quartet, which included Lansman and Stoline, finished fourth at the Heart of Iowa Conference meet. 

As a team, Greene County finished 34th at state with four points. Pella squeaked out the team championship in 3A, winning with 62 points, just ahead of Vinton-Shellsburg who scored 56 points. 

Paton-Churdan’s Jon Thede, Eric Thompson, Trevor Bundt and Clayton Smith powered the 4-by-800-meter relay team to a fourth place finish at the Rolling Valley Conference meet last spring in Mondamin. Jack Bryson, who was sixth in the 1,600-meter run in Mondamin is also back. 

Monday’s meet begins with the high jump followed by the remaining field events, in succession. The 800-meter sprint medley relay will be the afternoon’s first track event, followed by the girls’ and boys’ 3,000-meter/3,200-meter run and the 4-by-800 relay. 



Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161