Boys Track: Wilz Wills Prairie To Division Title

By Jeff Johnson and Scott Saville, Reporters

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Haakon Wilz and Mike Kaiser of Linn-Mar compete in the 110 meter hurdles during the MVC Valley Division Men's Track Meet at Kingston Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Monday, May 6, 2013. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

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By Grant Burkhardt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — His story is kind of unique. As unique as his name, really.

Haakon Wilz started out his prep career at Cedar Rapids Prairie as a distance guy. Then he was switched to sprints.

Looking for a true track home, it was suggested to him as a sophomore to maybe try hurdling. Case closed.

“It was challenging because it’s not just running,” the senior said Monday night after winning both the 100-meter and 400-meter hurdle events at the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division meet at Kingston Stadium. “It’s the idea of getting over the obstacles as well. I never really thought of myself as a jumper until I tried this.”

Wilz recorded season-best times to help Prairie to a second-place team finish. Cedar Falls won three of four field events, three individual races and the 1,600 relay to edge the Hawks for first, 152-129.

Running without star Josh Evans, Linn-Mar placed third. Waterloo West’s Dequavious Martin was named division athlete of the year and CF’s Dirk Homewood coach of the year.

Prairie won the sprint medley and 1,600 relays, got a 400 win from Tristan Beyer and a 3,200 title from Mitch Pritts. Beyer was a triple winner, also a part of the Hawks’ winning relays.

Wilz had perhaps the night’s most exciting race in the low hurdles. He trailed Linn-Mar’s Keegan Cook by a considerable margin entering the backstretch, was still behind going over the last hurdle but caught his opponent in the final handful of meters.

His winning time of 56.14 seconds shaved two seconds of his previous season best.

“I didn’t really care what place I was seeded beforehand,” said Wilz, who finished third in the long jump and ran on Prairie’s second-place shuttle hurdle relay. “Four years, and I’ve really put all I’ve had into it. That’s what the sport’s all about. What you put into it is what you’re going to get out. I put everything I could into this. I just saw that kid, and I knew in my heart that I had to go. It was now or never, you might as well put what you’ve got left into it.”

Linn-Mar sophomore Perrion Scott led off his team’s winning 400 relay and won the open 100 with a season-best 10.97, edging teammate Brandon Jeffries. Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Nick Steingreaber was the top sprinter in the meet but didn’t compete, a common theme considering districts are Thursday.

“I thought he was going to run with me,” Scott said. “But my boy Brandon Jeffries was there, and that was good.”

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