The three-day Iowa coed state track and field meet begins Thursday morning in Des Moines. Here are five storylines for the girls meet pertaining to Q-C competitors: 

Blue Devil breakthrough?

Davenport Central senior Lea Grady already has established school records this spring in the discus and shot put.

Her toss of 148 feet in the discus is more than 18 feet farther than Deb Hagen's previous school mark in 1978. Grady's heave of 44 feet, 11 1/2 inches in the shot put exceeds Wanda Pugh's old mark by two-plus feet.

Now, Grady has an opportunity to become the first girl from Central to win a state championship in a throwing event. 

Grady, who set career bests at the regional meet, is seeded first in the discus and second behind Waukee's Kat Moody in the shot put.

In fact, Andrea Miller is the only other girl from a Davenport public school to win a state title in the throws. Miller won the shot put in 1993 and 1994 for Davenport North. 

"I’m in a good mindset right now," Grady said following last week's regional. "I just know I have to try and be in the same mindset (at state)."

Spartans in trophy talk

It is unlikely any school will prevent Waukee from a state three-peat in Class 4A this weekend. The Warriors are projected to score around 120 points, more than double of any other team in the field. 

Waukee has a realistic chance of scoring a top-eight finish in 16 of the 19 events. It could surpass its own 4A mark of 116 points from last year.

The race for second place appears to be among four teams — Iowa City West, Linn-Mar, Pleasant Valley and Southeast Polk. 

While Linn-Mar and Southeast Polk lean heavily on stalwarts like Payton Wensel and Sydney Milani, respectively, PV figures to collect most of its points in the relays. 

Entered in 17 events, the Spartans are seeded among the top six in the 400, 800, 1,600 and sprint medley relays. PV's shuttle hurdle is just outside the top 10. 

The Spartans have brought home a trophy (top-three finish) in three of the last five state meets. 

Bulldog bite

Based on regional performances, Bettendorf is expected to score in only one event this weekend — Annika Braaten in the high jump (seeded fourth).

However, the Bulldogs will have a very busy three days. Coach Erin Flynn's team qualified in 16 of the 19 events, including two entries in the long jump. Bettendorf is seeded between ninth and 15th in eight events.

Long jumper Erin McQuillen was pleased after last week's meet at North Scott with how many events Bettendorf qualified. For the Bulldogs to make noise in Des Moines, she said her team will need to be "a little tougher."

North Scott, meanwhile, has qualified in eight events. The Lancers are led by Shelby Schmidt (shot put), Alexis Hayes (high jump), Sydney Fuller (100) and Abbi Lafrenz (800). 

Kofron eyes another sweep

Tipton's Jamie Kofron came home from the Drake Relays with white championship flags in the discus and shot put last month. 

The junior seeks another sweep in the throwing events this week in Class 2A. 

Kofron, third a year ago at state in the discus, had the second best performance at the state-qualifying meet with a toss of of 136 feet, 6 inches. South Hardin's Brylie Zeisneiss threw 139-7.

Zeisneiss and Kofron are the frontrunners in the shot put, too. Both have thrown over 45-5 this season. 

Kofron is vying to become Tipton's first shot put champion since Margo Peters in 1980. The Tigers never have had a discus winner at state.

The other 'Knights'

While the Davenport Assumption Knights are chasing a sixth consecutive team crown, another group of Knights from the Q-C area are in trophy contention.

North Cedar has qualified 13 events in Class 2A, among the most of any team. The Knights are projected to score 33 points, which puts them in the top six.

The River Valley Conference program should excel in the relays. It is seeded among the top six in the 1,600, shuttle hurdle and distance medley relays.

Grace Proesch finished second last year in the 400. She's also entered in the 200. Tessa Fields and Kelly Proesch are top-eight seeds in the 400 and 100 hurdles, respectively. 

— 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.