State Track: Linn-Mar Is Boys 4A Champion
By Jeff Linder (Story) and Scott Saville (Video), Reporters
DES MOINES, Iowa The awards ceremony ended, then a lengthy, happy photo session with family and friends began near the finish line at Drake Stadium.
The white banner rippling in the breeze was a championship banner.
Linn-Mar captured its first boys track and field title in school history, scoring 72 points to grab the Class 4A crown Saturday.
"This is a blessing," said Perrion Scott, who enjoyed three top-three finishes Saturday. "It's a great, cheerful moment."
Linn-Mar didn't win an event Saturday, but scored well enough and often enough to claim the title convincingly. Iowa City West, last year's champion, was second with 57 points. Waukee (53 points) interrupted the Mississippi Valley Conference parade.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy (51) was fourth, followed by Iowa City High (35) and Cedar Falls (33).
"It was a great team effort," Lions Coach Ken Hopkins said. ""Our distance runners, our sprinters, our hurdlers ... it wasn't just one or two guys for us. It was a lot of guys.
"(Counting preliminaries), a lot of guys ran seven or eight races. They had to refocus, and come out again and again. We held up."
Scott was second in the 200, third in the 100 and led off the Lions' third-place 400-meter relay.
"It was a good day," he said. "Points is points, and we were able to score a lot of them."
Chase Grabau said, "I've been coming to this track for four years. I consider myself really lucky. To do what we did today, it's a great accomplishment."
Josh Evans added a second-place finish in the 1,600 meters. He did relinquish his all-time Iowa best (he set it at the Drake Relays) when West Des Moines Dowling's Jason Thomas won in 4:10.14.
Evans finished in 4:12.03.
"It's crazy, the record doesn't get broken for years and years, then it goes down twice in three weeks," said Evans, who also ran third in the 800. "I tried to surge after three laps I was where I wanted to be but I couldn't quite finish the last lap like I wanted."
Timauntay Jones of Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Tavian Smith of Iowa City West raced to individual titles Saturday.
Jones was in control of the 800 from wire to wire, running in 1:52.75.
"I really wanted to get everybody else out of their comfort zone and into mine," said the University of Northern Iowa recruit. "I've been waiting for this for three years.
"This means everything to me. It was my last high school race, and I gave it my all."
Smith edged Scott in the 200 meters 21.84 seconds to 21.86 before the pair shared a long embrace on the track, then walked into the infield arm in arm.
"We've just gotten to know each other, and we've become good friends," Smith said. "I'm surprised I was able to pull through. My hamstring was hurting, but I was able to pull through."
Kennedy came up two points short from making it a 1-2-3 MVC sweep. The Cougars were second in the shuttle hurdle relay.
"We hit a couple hurdles, and to win the 4A shuttle, you have to be flawless," said leadoff man Tom Kaiser, the only senior in the Cougars' quartet.
Cedar Rapids Prairie was third in the 1,600 relay.