By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
DES MOINES ? Day one of the 2018 Iowa High School state track and field meet has come and gone, and the Mt. Pleasant boys are right in the thick of the state championship race, scoring 12 points on Thursday.
Mt. Pleasant currently sits tied for third with Boone and Glenwood. Sergeant Bluff-Luton is just one point ahead of the Panthers with 13. Marion leads the way with 18.
Cody Mertens scored five of those points by finishing fourth place in the 3200-meter run. Mertens crossed the tape in 9:44.46, less than a second behind third-place Andrew Kephart of Decorah. Of the top six finishers, Mertens was the only runner who wasn?t a senior, making him the early favorite for next season.
Zach Beason gave the Panthers four more points by finishing fifth in the discus throw. Beason hurled a 160-04 on his third attempt to earn that spot. Tristan Dirth placed 24th on a throw of 131-09, coming on his third attempt.
The Panthers finished sixth in the boys? 4X800 relay. The team of Jonathan Ita, Jacob Stukerjurgen, Brody Bender and Kyle Vanderham ran the race in the time of 8:12.56, picking up three more team points.
The shuttle hurdle team of Keegan Rich, Chase Lamm, Cole Burns and Jake Lowe put themselves in great position to earn some more points on Saturday. They had the top qualifying time in Class 3A, finishing the race in 57.31 seconds.
A couple of Panther girls? teams were just seconds away from finishing in scoring position. The Panther girls? 4X800 team was one of those teams. The squad of Maggie Cristoforo, Maggie Jennings, Cristina Carthey and Taylor Murray placed 10th in 9:54.56, just two spots back of scoring points.
The Panther girls? shuttle hurdle team came up just three spots short of qualifying for the finals. The Panthers placed 11th in 1:09.23, just over one second away from the top eight.
Khang Truong was unable to qualify for the 100-meter dash finals. He finished the race in 11.58 seconds, which gave him a 16th-place finish.
Rylan Seberg and Tate Shull each failed to qualify in the 200-meter dash. Seberg finished 19th in 23.27 seconds and Shull was 24th in 24.10 seconds.
Sam Beatty finished 14th in the boys? high jump, leaping 5-11. Alyssa Striegel was 17th in the girls? discus throw, tossing it 107-00, and Abby Ryon finished 19th in the 3000-meter run, crossing the tape in 11:23.32.
Winfield-Mt. Union?s Brandon Snowden had a busy day. He qualified for the Class 1A 200-meter dash, finishing eighth in 23.42 seconds. He followed that with a 10th-place finish in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 11.50 seconds and just two spots off of qualifying for the finals.
Snowden finished 18th in the 400-meter dash preliminaries later in the day, crossing in 53.04 seconds. WACO?S Elijah McGohan placed 15th in 52.89 seconds and New London?s Dallas Bell was 17th in 52.93 seconds. Neither of those three qualified.
New London?s Jenna Hummell finished 12th in the 200-meter dash, crossing in 26.79 seconds, and 11th in the 100-meter dash, crossing in 13.04 seconds, failing to qualify in both.
Lexi Brown was another area runner who came up just short of points. She finished 11th in the 3000-meter run, finishing in 11:22.94.
The WACO girls? shuttle hurdle team of Molly McLaughlin, Grace Conwell, Laney Graber and Kiana Miller finished 17th in 1:11.63. The boys? team of McGhoan, John Skriver, Drew Kissell and Colton Horak was disqualified.
Anna Hudson finished 24th in the shot put for W-MU. She threw a 31-02.75 on her third attempt.
There is plenty more action coming up on Friday, May 18 and Saturday, May 19. The News will have full results in Monday?s edition.