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State track and field meet

Sergeant Bluff-Luton's Ryley McGregor takes the handoff from Matthew George in the 4x200 during the Iowa High School state track and field meet in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, May 20, 2016.(Jim Lee, Sioux City Journal)

SIOUX CITY | Stretch what is referred to as the Sioux City Metro and you’ve got almost complete ownership of the boys prep 4x200 relay event this spring.

With blazing performances in the 2016 State Track and Field Championships during the weekend, Sioux City East (4A), Sergeant Bluff-Luton (3A) and Lawton-Bronson (1A) claimed gold medals in the 4x2 with swift clockings.

East zipped to a 1:28.28 victory, SB-L clocked a Metro all-time best of 1:27.87 and Lawton-Bronson motored to the wire in 1:31.38 and in 2A, KP/WC ran sixth in 1:30.52.

And, the sixth was still impressive because the winning school, West Burlington Notre Dame sped to a grand champion time of 1:27.14.

Keep in mind that time was just over the all-class state meet record of 1:27.02 by Des Moines East in 2004 and the all-time state best of 1:26.40 by Iowa City in 1997.

The East 4x200 quartet won its heat but was disqualified for passing out of an exchange zone. The decision was appealed and the title was restored.

State meet relays are time-consuming, but to assure the highest level and most dramatic competition in an event with enormous exchange zones, perhaps meet officials might consider a top seven or eight final only rather than determine the champ on a time basis.

The class brother-and-sister act of Nick and Kiana Phelps deserves an encore, maybe more.

The siblings from Kingsley, who, interestingly, attend different schools in the sharing program of Kingsley-Pierson/Woodbury Central, became the first in Iowa prep history to sweep the shot put and discus gold medals in the same meet.

Kiana, a K-P senior headed for Oregon, also became the first Iowa girl to win four Drake Relays and four state meet titles.

Kiana’s discus spin of 172-1 broke her own state meet record and was just shy of her state all-time best of 179-7 in 2014.

Nick, a sophomore at Woodbury Central, was the boys grand champ in the shot with a heave of 61 feet, 1.75 inches while his sister was winning the girls event with an all-class state meet record 48-8.75.

Nick threw 176-2 in the 2A discus, but the meet’s big throws came from 1A champ Tom Yezek of Northwood-Kensett (197-5) and junior Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon in 3A (185-9).

Yezek’s all-class state meet record throw wasn’t far off the all-time best of 207-8 by Scott Crowell of Mason City.

The only other Iowa girl to win four state discus titles is Melanie Heitman-Nelson, who now resides in the Sioux Falls area. Competing then for Williamsburg, Heitman won in 1976-77-78-79.

As an Iowa State collegian, she set the school’s record in the javelin in 1981 and later became assistant commissioner of the old NCAA Division II North Central Conference when it was headquartered in Sioux Falls.

As a four-time state prep champ Heitman likely would have won four Drake titles, too, but the event didn’t become part of the Drake high school program until 1991 when Paulette Mitchell of Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln won the gold.

Mitchell, by the way, is still the state’s all-time leader in the shot put with a mammoth heave of 53 feet, 3.75 inches in 1992.

Interesting to note, too, the dramatic evolution of the women’s discus.

Our Town’s Emily Flom won the Drake Relays discus crown in 1995 for North with a throw of 142-11, but later at Iowa State, hit 160-7, a mark that still ranks third in school history.

In 1979, another North thrower, Robin Small, set the all-time Iowa prep best at the time with a spin of 160 feet, 10 inches, but, of course, didn’t throw in the Drake Relays.

| National Basketball Association analysts apparently chose University of Iowa senior-to-be Peter Jok to return to the Hawkeyes for his final collegiate season.

To make a long and tediously dull story short, Jok, a combo guard I imagine, was exploring the new NCAA rule that allows student-athletes to apply for early entry in the NBA Draft without losing college eligibility provided they don’t hire an agent.

Hawkeye Coach Fran McCaffrey said “I’m going to use him in a way that will showcase him.’’ Iowa fans are hoping that showcase includes passing, a skill exhibited so well by former point guard and South Sioux City prep Mike Gesell for four years.

| The burning baseball questions now concern which Chicago pitcher, lefty Chris Sale (The Condor) of the White Sox (9-0) or Jake Arrieta of the Cubs (8-0) , is the better, and will each of them finish the season unbeaten and eventually face off twice in the World Series.

| Oklahoma City University may have at least one local booster on hand when the country’s No. 1-ranked women’s softball team visits Our Town later this week for the NAIA World Series.

Bishop Heelan grad Joe Bisenius pitched collegiately for OCU’s stellar baseball program.

Oklahoma City, seeking its ninth NAIA crown, but first in almost a decade, brings a 61-2 record into the fray at the Jensen Softball Complex.

OCU is among NAIA leaders in umpteen categories and on the pitching side, freshman Georgia Wall is 22-0 and Abby Meador 24-1.

Against ranked Top 25 teams this spring, Oklahoma City is 13-1 and Coach Phil McSpadden has 1,539 career wins and his teams have won 114 World Series games, more than any other school.

The competition debuts Friday with Morningside facing Webber International (Fla.) in a breakfast call at 10 a.m.

Webber (30-14) has faced a demanding schedule that includes two wins over Division I Wisconsin-Green Bay, a sweep of Northwestern College, losses to Peru State and Davenport (Mich.) and two losses to Grand View.


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