Strong performance at districts brings boys’ track to State

To say districts went well for the Ames High boys’ track team would be like saying the New York Knicks are bad. True, but doesn’t quite tell the entire story. At the district 4A championship the Little Cyclones continued their tradition of excellence and qualified in 14 events, with 12 individuals advancing in nine events and five relay teams set to compete in the state tournament. Senior Scott Lynn took district titles in the long jump and the 110-meter high hurdles. The 4×400-meter relay team of junior Gasim Haron, seniors Andy Olson, Kevin Berg and Austen Arnaud and the 4×200 team of Haron, Berg, Olson and freshman Sam Tim both won in their respective events. Qualifying with runner-up finishes were Arnaud in the high jump, Berg in the long jump, senior Drew Veysey in the 110 high hurdles, senior Brian Weiss in the 400 hurdles and the 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams. Sam Tim was third in the 200 and fourth in the 100 and Jason Kemis was third in the 400 hurdles. Josh Peterson (discus), M.J. Kang (shot put) and Matt Ludemann (100) placed fourth, as did the Little Cyclone distance medley team. The top four finishers in each event qualified for the state meet. In addition, the Little Cyclones earned a team district championship with 129.5 points, beating Waukee by 18.5 points. Ames High track coach John Sletten said he was pleased with the team’s performance. Despite the dominant showing at districts, he said this year’s team is only in the middle of the pack compared to previous Ames High track teams, which is to be expected given the mass exodus of seniors last season. But don’t let Sletten’s comments lower your expectations about the Ames High track team during State. “We have most likely underachieved during the season,” junior Jeff Kroll said. “We are capable of accomplishing a lot more as a team and hopefully we can show that through our peformance at State.” If an underachieving team can win districts, then there is great potential for a good Little Cyclones peformance at State. The week preceding the State tournament is a crucial one, with an emphasis placed on the runners conserving their energy. Practices slowly taper off toward the end of the week, giving the runners a chance to conserve their energy for State. “We do shorter and faster practice runs,” senior Andy Feller said. “We work on foot speed before State instead of endurance.” But other than that, for the most part, practices the week before the State tournament are the same as practices during the regular season. Considering all the hard work these runners have put in throughout the season, it’s reasonable to expect a feeling of excitement. Although, each athlete has his own reason for being excited. “I’m excited because of the new track and all of the renovations,” junior M.J. Kang said. Whereas senior Scott Lynn said, “I’m really excited to go back there and defend my state title. Although I’m not Rasheed Wallace. So I won’t guarantee it.” The State tournament was yesterday and is also today and tomorrow at the infamous Drake track stadium. Whether we win or lose at least we can take pride in the fact that we will always be better than the New York Knicks at every aspect of life.