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The Iowa high school boys track and field state meet will commence at 9 a.m. Thursday inside Drake Stadium. Here is a look at five storylines to follow pertaining to Quad-City area teams and athletes:

A Drake Stadium double?

Muscatine's Tyler Olson and West Liberty's Tanner Iske made history for their respective schools at the Drake Relays last month. 

Olson won the 800 to become the school's first Relays champion in 26 years. Iske prevailed in the 100 to secure West Liberty's first Relays triumph. 

They seek to make it a blue oval double this weekend.

Olson, a University of Iowa recruit, can become Muscatine's first 800 state champion since Shane Leach in 1991 on Saturday morning. West Liberty hasn't had a 100-meter state champion since Rob Wise 31 years ago. 

“I wrote down two goals before the season — a Drake Relays championship and a state championship," Olson said.

Olson comes in seeded sixth in Class 4A from the state-qualifying meet at 1 minute, 58.62 seconds but ran 1:56.55 at Drake. Johnston's Joe Schaefer is the top seed at 1:56.75. 

Iske ran 10.77 at districts, trailing only AHSTW's Gage Clay (10.75) in 2A. 

Davenport delight

The Davenport public schools will be represented well in Des Moines.

West qualified an individual in all four field events and 11 events overall. The Falcons haven't scored a point (top-eight finish) at state since Kyle Verdon placed eighth in the discus in 2015. Coach Dave Broadie's team is equipped to end that drought with hurdler Tyler Williams and long jumper DJ Mosley.

Central is in five events, four of those seeded among the top 10 in Will Reemtsma (110 hurdles, 400 hurdles), the 800 and sprint medley relays.

North is in only three events, but Keenan Hollingshed is ranked fourth in the high jump after soaring 6 feet, 5 inches at districts. 

Class 4A team race

Dowling Catholic has ruled Iowa Class 4A football for the past five years. If last week's performance at districts was an indication, the Maroons might be hoisting their first state track and field championship trophy Saturday.

Dowling, Iowa City West, Ames and West Des Moines Valley are the schools projected to exceed 50 points this week based on state-qualifying performances. 

Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley could crack the top 10. The Bulldogs have big point capabilities with standout Darien Porter and hurdler Demari Nicholson. The Spartans lean on distance standout Konnor Sommer and thrower Sam Hanna who nearly medaled in both events a year ago. 

The MAC has had three teams finish inside the top six the past 10 years — PV (state title in 2008, second in 2010) and Bettendorf was sixth in 2012. 

Cal-Wheat not a one-man band

Calamus-Wheatland scored 10 points each of the past three years at the Class 1A state meet. All of those points came from high jump champion Cole Moeller. 

Moeller has graduated, but the Warriors have the opportunity to accumulate more points this weekend. Coming off its first conference title in 21 years earlier this month, Cal-Wheat has qualified in 10 of 19 events. 

The Warriors are seeded among the top six in three events — Devin Koester (third, discus), Ray Venditti (sixth, 100) and fifth in the distance medley relay with Venditti, Jon Kastantin, Hunter Rickels and Chase Knoche. 

Cal-Wheat hasn't scored more than 12 points in a state meet the past decade. The Warriors are projected to tally 14 based off district performances.

RVC teams are trophy hunting

Behind its middle distance depth, Pekin is the favorite to capture the Class 2A state championship this weekend.

The race for the other two trophies in that classification is up for grabs. River Valley Conference members West Liberty (12 events) and Northeast (10 events) are among the teams in the mix. 

Besides Iske leading the sprints, West Liberty's Michael Hartman comes in ranked second in the 400 hurdles and the shuttle hurdle relay is among the top three. West Liberty has never finished in the top two at the state meet.

Northeast is led by middle distance standout Wyatt Schmidt, high jumper Braeden Hoyer and hurdler Kaleb Schneider. The Rebels are among the top 10 seeds in four relays — the 1,600, 3,200, sprint medley and distance medley.  

— Compiled by Matt Coss


Sports Editor

Prep sports editor, with emphasis on covering the Mississippi Athletic Conference and Iowa area high schools. I've been in sports journalism for 17 years, the last five at the Quad-City Times.