DES MOINES — When Raymond Venditti learned Calamus-Wheatland surpassed 40 points at Saturday’s Class 1A state meet, he was stunned.

“It is very shocking,” he said. “That’s a big number, especially at a state meet.”

The reward for Cal-Wheat was its first state trophy in boys’ track and field.

Seven months removed from a state runner-up finish in boys’ cross country, the Warriors placed third with 41 points.

George-Little Rock, spurred by a 1-2 finish in the 800, claimed its first championship with 52 points. Council Bluffs St. Albert edged Cal-Wheat for second, 42-41.

“That’s huge for us,” middle distance ace Chase Knoche said. “These guys worked so hard since last year, and this has been a dream of ours. Calamus-Wheatland deserves this.”

The 1,600 medley relay championship Friday was the highlight, but the Warriors added to their point total Saturday behind Knoche and Venditti.

Knoche was third in the 800 meters and sixth in the 1,600. Venditti snared bronze in the 200 and sixth in the 100. That was enough to nudge Cal-Wheat in front of Lynnville-Sully.

“It just shows the tremendous effort that has come out of this squad,” said Venditti, who will run at Mount Mercy College next year. “Even the guys that weren’t here with us, they helped push everyone on this team.”

Knoche, a sophomore, anchored the medley relay Friday in 1:57. He came back to post 2:00.19 in the open 800 after what he called a rough start. He rebounded to pass three individuals in the closing 200 meters to collect bronze.

“That’s experience,” he said. “I’ll be back next year and be able to finish that one out.”

Venditti exploded out of the blocks in the 200 and was in the lead coming around the curve. He finished in 22.60 seconds.

“I got out quick like I knew I needed to, but the head wind really hit me hard when I came around the turn,” he said.

Bellevue just missed getting a top-three finish in 2A. The Comets finished fourth with 45 points, two in back of third-place finisher South Central Calhoun.

Dike-New Hartford and Williamsburg went 1-2 with 60 and 51 points, respectively.

Bellevue placed second in the 400 relay in a school-record 43.34 seconds with Hunter Clasen, Mason Jackson, Andrew Swartz and Ben Parker. It was third in the sprint medley relay and fourth in the 1,600 relay.

Brady Griebel also placed sixth in the 1,600.

The Comets scored in nine of the 19 events.

“It is huge for our culture moving forward,” Parker said. “We’ve always been about winning in other sports, but track and field has never really had a full team. This should energize our school.”

Bellevue came into the week projected to score less than 20 points.

“We exceeded a lot of expectations and broke school records,” Griebel said. “That’s going to motivate a lot of guys and younger people coming up to do track.”

Durant junior Jake Willkomm placed fourth in the 2A 200 in 23.21 seconds. Camanche was fifth in the sprint medley relay.

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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.