North Scott's Erica Loussaert clears the bar in the high jump Thursday during the first day of the state coed track and field competition in Des Moines. She ended up in third place with teammates Alexis Hayes finishing fourth.

DES MOINES — North Scott teammates Erica Loussaert and Alexis Hayes have had a friendly competition all spring in the high jump. 

Loussaert upended Hayes for the Mississippi Athletic Conference title. Hayes edged Loussaert at the state-qualifying meet.

Fittingly, they cleared the same height and were standing side-by-side in the medals ceremony Thursday at the Class 4A state track and field meet. 

Based on fewer misses, Loussaert took third and Hayes was fourth inside Drake Stadium. Both jumped 5 feet, 4 inches. Johnston’s Ellie Roquet claimed the title at 5-7. 

“It was an amazing experience, especially to share it with Erica,” Hayes said. “It is kind of sad since it is our last time jumping together. We’re both finishing with smiles on our faces, and that’s all you can ask.”

North Scott’s Kayla Slowick matched her third-place finish at last month’s Drake Relays in the discus. The Lancers accumulated 17 points and were in a fourth-place tie with Waukee. Iowa City West is the overnight leader in 4A with 24 points, five in front of Johnston. 

“We’re extremely proud of what this program has done,” Loussaert said. 

Loussaert improved upon her seventh-place finish from last year. She cleared 5-2 on her second attempt and 5-4 on her first try. The 5-4 clearance resulted in a fist pump.

“I was a little frustrated after my attempts at 5-2,” Loussaert said. “I’m like, ‘That’s not you.’ I knew I could jump better than that.”

Loussaert cleared 5-6 earlier in the year at Bettendorf. The senior never could duplicate that in the postseason, but she finished with Drake and state medals. She’ll continue her jumping and hurdling career at Wartburg College next year.

“It kind of stinks you can’t go and make a height that you made before, but to place that high at the state meet is exciting,” she said, “and to have my teammate along my side the whole way was awesome.”

Hayes has one more season to improve upon her placing.

“It makes me really excited for next year,” she said. “I’m going to focus a lot more and really work hard in the beginning of the season.”

Slowick threw 128-2 in the discus, about 10 feet behind champion Anna Hoyman of Indianola. She uncorked that in her fifth toss of the competition. 

It was a little more than two feet off Slowick's personal best. 

“I know it is difficult to PR at big meets, but I’m pretty happy with how I threw,” Slowick said. “I’m very proud of myself and what I’ve done.”

Davenport Central junior Lea Grady was fifth in the discus. Grady set a personal best twice, including a 125-7 in the finals.

Grady medaled for the Blue Devils after the program had a streak of 12 consecutive years with a state medalist snapped last season. 

“It is definitely a goal achieved,” Grady said. “I’ve been throwing since the last part of my freshman year and I wasn’t too good when I started. I’ve just continued to work at it. 

“This motivates me for next year because it seems like each season I’m getting better. Next year, hopefully I will throw it even farther.”

Bettendorf’s Ally Gallagher finished sixth in the 3,000 in 10:35.03. She was fifth in 2016. 

Gallagher, signed to run at Miami University in Ohio, missed more than a month of the season with a hamstring injury. She returned for the state-qualifying meet.

“For me to be able to come back for (regionals) and state meant the world to me,” she said. “Even though it maybe wasn’t what I wanted to see at the beginning of the season, today was my best race. I’m happy with it.”

Pleasant Valley’s Addie Swanson earned her third medal in the 400 with a fifth-place finish in 57.26. Bettendorf’s Alli Wroblewski, also a three-time medalist in the event, was sixth in in 57.75.

The Spartans’ Sara Hoskins placed seventh in the high jump at 5-2.  


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.