Bettendorf's Darien Porter takes the baton from Mekou Smith-Reed during the final exchange of the 1,600 relay at the state meet in Des Moines last year. Porter and Smith-Reed both return for the Bulldogs this spring. 

Six individuals to watch

Eric Campie, sr., Camanche: Out for track for the first time, the sprinter had quite a performance last week at the River Valley Conference Indoor meet. He won the 55 meters (6.7 seconds) and 200 meters (23.06) and also ran the 400 on the Indians' winning sprint medley relay. 

Owen Hazelwood, sr., Muscatine: Ran the lead leg on Muscatine's state-qualifying 1,600 relay that just missed reaching the finals last year and 400 leg on distance medley relay. He was sixth in open 400 at Dickinson Relays earlier this month in 52.7.

Braeden Hoyer, sr., Northeast: Placed fifth at Drake Relays and seventh at 2A state meet in high jump last spring. He also ran on Northeast's fourth place 1,600 relay and sixth place medley relay at state. Hoyer already has qualified for this year's Drake Relays with clearance of 6 feet, 9 inches at RVC Indoor.

Tyler Kulhanek, jr., Assumption: The sprinter had a productive indoor season, taking second at IATC meet last week in 55 meters and fourth earlier this month at Dickinson Relays in 60 meters. He'll play an integral role on the Knights' top sprint relays. 

Darien Porter, sr., Bettendorf: The Iowa State football recruit had four top-three finishes at last year's Class 4A state meet — second in 400, third in 200, anchored runner-up 1,600 relay and third place sprint medley relay. He won the 200 at the Dickinson Relays earlier this month in 22.3 seconds.

Will Reemtsma, sr., Davenport Central: Finished fourth at Drake Relays in 400 hurdles, took fifth at state meet (53.63) and was eighth in 110 highs (15.13). He ran 14.88 in 110 highs at Jesse Day Relays last April. At indoor meet in Ames recently, he was third in 60 hurdles (8.54). 

Three teams to watch

Bellevue: The Comets accumulated only five points at last year's state meet, but they have the firepower to be in the Class 2A mix this year. Bellevue ran away with last week's RVC Indoor meet with 152 points, 67 more than the second-place team. Andrew Penniston, Mason Jackson, Kyle Guenther, Brady Griebel and Jack Sieverding form a strong nucleus in the middle distance and distance events. 

Bettendorf: Porter is the catalyst returning from Bettendorf's conference championship and ninth-place finish at state, but there are talented pieces surrounding him with sprinters Austin Kalar and Leo Desequeria, Carter Bell (jumps), Brendan Scott (middle distance) and Mekou Smith-Reed (middle distance). If the Bulldogs can scratch some points out of their distance crew and throws, they could be in the mix for a top-five state finish. 

Calamus-Wheatland: The Warriors have a good collection of talent returning, led by Raymond Venditti, Hunter Rickels, Max Hansen, Kaden Schnede, Magnus Sands, Chandler Gannon, Chase Knoche and Hunter Kastantin. Coming off a runner-up finish at the state cross country meet, Cal-Wheat won eight events recently at the Tri-Rivers Conference indoor meet. 

Key dates

April 4 — Ira Dunsworth Invitational at Brady Street Stadium

April 11 — Jesse Day Relays at Brady Street Stadium

April 25-27 — Drake Relays at Des Moines

May 2 — MAC meet at Bettendorf High School

May 9 — Coed state qualifying meets

May 16-18 — Coed state meet at Des Moines

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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.