A class by class glance at the girls’ state track meet:
Individuals to watch — This is a field bubbling with individual stars. Sioux City East’s middle-distance effort is led by Ellen Dougherty and Shelby Houlihan. West Des Moines Dowling’s Katie Flood holds the all-time Iowa best in the 1,500 and 3,000 and is favored in both of those races. Whitney Westrum and Colette Gnade bolster Waukee’s title hopes while Jessica Gehrke of Iowa City West is a contender in the long jump and fortified West’s sprint relays.
Teams to watch — Iowa City West pursues its fourth consecutive big-school title, but the Women of Troy face a stiff challenge from a number of sources. Waukee is loaded throughout while the middle-distance prowess of Sioux City East was well-documented at the Drake Relays. Iowa City High has changed its outlook from recent years, putting its stars in individual events rather than loading up the relays. The Little Hawks are on their way back up. West Des Moines Dowling is loaded in the distance events while Johnston was a regional surprise.
How they’ll finish — 1. Waukee, 2. Iowa City High, 3. Sioux City East, 4. Iowa City West, 5. West Des Moines Dowling.
Individuals to watch — Mount Vernon-Lisbon possesses dynamite middle-distance relays, and Alex Wilson and Karly Cochrane are two key components. Individually, Cochrane is a 400-meter ace while Wilson pursues the 800 and 1,500. Megan Lawler of Spirit Lake is the favorite in the 100 and 200 while Marion’s Kelsey Labs figures to contend in both hurdles events.
Teams to watch — At the Marion regional last Friday, Dubuque Wahlert outscored Mount Vernon-Lisbon by 21 points. It would be a major surprise if the 3A champion was someone other than these teams. Last year’s runner-up, Mount Vernon-Lisbon is seeded to score in 11 events — and in the top four in 10. If that happens, the self-proclaimed Mermaids won’t be touched. Based on premeet seedings, Mount Vernon-Lisbon is projected to score 86 points, Wahlert 66 and nobody else more than 50. Storm Lake and Sioux City Heelan are next in line, if the top two stub their toes hard.
How they’ll finish — 1. Mount Vernon-Lisbon, 2. Dubuque Wahlert, 3. Storm Lake, 4. Sioux City Heelan, 5. Benton Community.
Individuals to watch — Dike-New Hartford’s Hannah Willms is arguably the most complete female athlete in the state these days, and she’s the top seed in the 400 and high jump and will anchor the Wolverines’ favored sprint medley relay. Alex Gochenour of Logan-Magnolia is a sprinting and hurdling whiz while Morgan Casey of Northeast is projected to sweep the 1,500 and 3,000 and will run on the Rebels’ top-seeded distance medley relay. Britlyn Sieck of North Fayette is ranked No. 1 in both throwing events.
Teams to watch — The North Iowa Cedar League is chasing the Panthers from Logan-Magnolia. Last year’s runner-up in 1A, Lo-Ma is up a class and favored to take it behind Gochenour and her hurdling teammates. The NICL has three potential spoilers — Dike-New Hartford (behind Willms), Hudson and Denver.
How they’ll finish — 1. Logan-Magnolia, 2. Dike-New Hartford, 3. Hudson, 4. Denver, 5. Northeast.
Individuals to watch — Despite relatively modest regional performances, North Tama’s Sara Stoakes has to rate as the favorite in whatever she runs. This weekend’s plate is heaped high, with the 400, 800, 1,500 and 400 hurdles. She’s the top seed in the 400. Shelbie Beatty of East Buchanan could push Stoakes in the 800 and 1,500. Brittany Clarke of Springville and Sarah Yeager of Cardinal are among the top sprinters.
Teams to watch — If Stoakes runs to form, two-time defending champion North Tama could get to 40 points. Question is, who can get beyond that? The best bet is Griswold, which is seeded to score extremely well in the relays. North Iowa and Mason City Newman will tally their share of points, but probably don’t have enough to reach 40.
How they’ll finish — 1. Griswold, 2. North Tama, 3. North Iowa, 4. Mason City Newman, 5. Clinton Prince of Peace.
Tags: Alex Gochenour, Alex Wilson, Ellen Dougherty, Hannah Willms, Iowa City West, Jessica Gehrke, Karly Cochrane, Katie Flood, Kelsey Labs, Logan-Magnolia, Mount Vernon-Lisbon, Sara Stoakes, Sioux City East, Waukee, Whitney Westrum