State-qualifying track meets are next week, and the state championships are May 16-18.
Here are how the state team races appear to stand with two weeks to go, according to the state leader charts at Quik Stats:
CLASS 1A GIRLS
Where they stand — Defending champion Griswold has distance ace Rebekah Topham. It also has a battle on its hands. Wherever Topham runs, she’ll probably be good for 40 points — she’s No. 1 in the 400 hurdles, 800 and 1,500, and ranked high in the 400 and 3,000. But she can’t run them all, and if she runs four individual events, she can’t run a relay. North Linn figures to get a lot of mileage out of middle-distance runner Nicole Miller, who may anchor three top-ranked relays — the 4×400, 4×800 and distance medley. The Lynx also are No. 1 in the shuttle. Griswold remains the favorite, for now. Barely.
Projections — 1. Griswold, 2. North Linn, 3. Belle Plaine, 4. Woodward-Granger, 5. Sibley-Ocheyedan, 6. Hinton, 7. Pekin, 8. Madrid, 9. Winfield-Mount Union, 10. BGM.
CLASS 2A GIRLS
Where they stand — Not many small-school teams can withstand significant injuries to two of their top competitors. But Cascade can. Allison Gibbs is still out and Mariah Kauder is working her way back, but the Cougars remain the favorite behind its relay strength. The defending state champs are ranked No. 1 in the 800 relay and sprint medley and in the top four in four others. Des Moines Christian is on the move. The Lions impressed by finishing second in the Drake 1,600 relay. Western Christian challenged Cascade last year and has the top 2A sprinter in Brooke Wolterstorff.
Projections – 1. Cascade, 2. Des Moines Christian, 3. Western Christian, 4. Davis County, 5. Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central, 6. Clayton Ridge, 7. Hudson, 8. Mount Vernon, 9. Eagle Grove, 10. Camanche.
CLASS 3A GIRLS
Where they stand — Davenport Assumption entered the season as a heavy favorite to snag this title, and the Knights are still a certain contender. But there’s company at the top of the heap. Anna Holdiman is the top runner in the 800, 1,500 and 3,000, and that makes Waverly-Shell Rock a team to keep an eye on. Holdiman and teammate Abby Caldwell are 1-2 in the 1,500. Assumption counters with the top seed in three relays, and Rose Ripslinger and Maddie Irmen will score big in the sprints. Solon could enter the picture behind thrower Kara Misel and distance runner Lauren Benzing.
Projections — 1. Waverly-Shell Rock, 2. Davenport Assumption, 3. Solon, 4. Harlan, 5. Mount Pleasant, 6. Spencer, 7. MOC-Floyd Valley, 8. Dubuque Wahlert, 9. Anamosa, 10. Pella.
CLASS 4A GIRLS
Where they stand – At this point, it appears to be a virtual dead heat among four teams. Des Moines Roosevelt was dominant at Drake behind Most Outstanding Performer Agnes Sayeh, who won the 100 and was a member of three winning relays. But the Roughriders won’t run away from the field in May. Pleasant Valley (which won the Drake 1,600 relay), West Des Moines Dowling and Waukee also are seeded to score in the 60s. Waukee leads the state in the shuttle hurdle relay. Freshman Stephanie Jenks of Linn-Mar was the 1,500 and 3,000 champ at Drake.
Projections – 1. Pleasant Valley, 2. Des Moines Roosevelt, 3. West Des Moines Dowling, 4. Waukee, 5. Linn-Mar, 6. Iowa City High, 7. Iowa City West, 8. West Des Moines Valley, 9. Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 10. Urbandale.
CLASS 1A BOYS
Where they stand — This appears to be a tight duel between the headliners from defending champion Manson-Northwest Webster and the depth of Wapsie Valley. The Warriors are seeded to score in 11 places, and are top-rated in the 1,600-meter relay. MNW answers with Drake Relays long jump champion Josh Markert, and the Cougars are top-ranked in the 4×100 and 4×200. The next tier of challengers features Earlham (Zack Rice leads a strong hurdling crew) and Lisbon (Austin Springsteen is No. 1 in the 3,200).
Projections – 1. Wapsie Valley, 2. Manson-NW Webster, 3. Earlham, 4. Lisbon, 5. Lynnville-Sully, 6. Ackley AGWSR, 7. Belmond-Klemme, 8. Pleasantville, 9. North Mahaska, 10. Underwood.
CLASS 2A BOYS
Where they stand — Let’s say it up front: Nobody is touching Monticello. The Panthers’ nationally ranked might in cross country converts to the track, as well. They very nearly captured the 3,200-meter relay crown at the Drake Relays, and are heavily favored in that event in 2A. They’re also seeded 1-2 in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races. Add major points in the high jump and discus, and the Panthers appear unbeatable. The closest challengers are Ida Grove OA-BCIG and Dyersville Beckman. Mitch Steger is the top 800 runner in 2A and probably will anchor Beckman’s top-rated medley. OA-BCIG leads the way in two relays.
Projections — 1. Monticello, 2. Ida Grove OA-BCIG, 3. Dyersville Beckman, 4. Council Bluffs St. Albert, 5. Albia, 6. Camanche, 7. Colfax-Mingo, 8. North Polk, 9. Okoboji, 10. Baxter CMB.
CLASS 3A BOYS
Where they stand — One of the catchphrases at Drake Stadium is, “It’s anybody’s race.” In the 3A boys, it rungs true. Seven teams are seeded to score more than 35 points, none more than 50. Glenwood and Mount Pleasant stand as co-favorites today. Glenwood is top-ranked in the 1,600 relay and the medley, and Mount Pleasant ranks 1-2 in the shot put. Marion is seeded to score in nine events, led by second-rated Isaac Smith in the 200 and the No. 2 1,600 relay. If the Indians can surpass their seeds in a number of other events, they’ve got a chance to take it all.
Projections — 1. Glenwood, 2. Mount Pleasant, 3. Marion, 4. Pella, 5. Knoxville, 6. Boone, 7. Fort Madison, 8. Sioux City Heelan, 9. Solon, 10. Keokuk.
CLASS 4A BOYS
Where they stand — A monster performance at the Drake Relays, led by Most Outstanding Performer Josh Evans, has vaulted Linn-Mar to the head of the class. Evans is the 4A leader in the 1,600 and 3,200, and the Lions lead the class in the 800-meter relay and the medley. Defending champion Iowa City West is the leading challenger; the Trojans were Drake champions in the 3,200 relay. Elite jumpers and hurdlers give Cedar Rapids Kennedy a shot at a top-five placing.
Projections — 1. Linn-Mar, 2. Iowa City West, 3. Waukee, 4. Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 5. Des Moines Lincoln, 6. Johnston, 7. Iowa City High, 8. Sioux City East, 9. Cedar Falls, 10. Clinton.