DES MOINES - Cedar Falls, Sioux City West, Bettendorf, Iowa City West, Waterloo West, Davenport Central and Cedar Rapids Washington - seven of the state's largest schools were represented in the high school 100-meter dash final on Friday at the 103rd running of the Drake Relays.
The eighth spot was occupied by Webster City, and for a change the little, or maybe littler, guy came packing a punch.
Was Lynx senior Keagan Parks intimidated as he looked around while standing in front of his blocks? Not in the least.
DFJ photo by Mark Pawlak
Webster City senior Keagan Parks (center) glides down the track during the final of the high school 100-meter dash at the 103rd running of the Drake Relays in Des Moines on Friday. The only non-Class 4A runner to reach the finals, Parks placed fourth in a time of 10.96 seconds to earn a second Drake Relays medal in as many days. He placed sixth in the long jump on Thursday.
And it showed.
Despite an early misstep that put him at the back of the field before he'd even covered 10 meters, Parks put his head down and let his speed do the rest as he stormed back to place fourth in 10.96 seconds in front of a large crowd on a cold and wet afternoon.
He didn't get the gold - that went to Cedar Falls star and Alabama recruit James Harrington in a meet-record 10.61, his third straight Drake victory in the race - but Parks had no complaints.
Drake Stadium, Des Moines
High School Event Results
(Top 8 plus plus local entrants)
Long Jump - 1. Darius Pearson, Sioux City West, 22-11.50; 2. Derek Jacobus, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 22-9; 3. Marcus Hughes, Mason City, 22-6.75; 4. Charlie Rogers, Iowa City West, 22-5.75; 5. Dequayvious Martin, Waterloo West, 22-4; 6. Keagan Parks, Webster City, 22-3.50; 7. Josh Zeiser, CMB, 22-3; 8. Nick Hageman, Charles City, 21-10; 23. Marcus Mechaelsen, Northeast Hamilton, 19-7.25.
High Jump - 1. Jared Schoelerman, Clay Central, 6-7; 2. Braydee Poore, Mount Ayr, 6-5; 2. Chris Kelly, Boone, 6-5; 4. Connor Meis, Treynor, 6-5; 5. Stephen Meyer, Oelwein, 6-3; 6. Chris Francis, Dubuque Hempstead, 6-3; 6. Jacob Gapp, Forest City, 6-3; 8. Jeremy Johnson, Iowa City High, 6-3; 20. Cal Zahn, Webster City, 6-1.
110 High Hurdles - 1. Tyler Donels, Southeast Polk, 14.41; 2. Brandon Ophoff, Linn-Mar, 14.55; 3. Dan Roemerman, Iowa City High, 14.58; 4. Josh Zeiser, CMB, 14.63; 5. Elijah Young, Des Moines Lincoln, 14.88; 6. Austin Hess, Harlan, 14.96; 7. Nathan Schamdeke, Grundy Center, 15.01; 8. Sydne Davis, Des Moines Roosevelt, 15.17; 11. Andrew May, Webster City, 15.18 (from prelims).
100 Meters - 1. James Harrington, Cedar Falls, 10.61 (MEET RECORD); 2. Darius Pearson, Sioux City West, 10.88; 3. Tyler Younkin, Bettendorf, 10.90; 4. Keagan Parks, Webster City, 10.96; 5. Armando Williams, Iowa City West, 11.06; 6. Tyrell Martin, Waterloo West, 11.07; 7. Tyvis Smith, Davenport Central, 11.12; 8. Will Griffin, Cedar Rapids Washington, 11.14.
4x100 Relay - 1. Cedar Falls 41.17 (MEET RECORD); 2. Waterloo West 42.55; 3. Iowa City West 42.59; 4. Sioux City West 42.95; 5. Waukee 43.06; 6. West Des Moines Valley 43.45; 7. North Scott 43.77; 23. Webster City 44.17 (Nathan Nuehring, Andrew May, Cal Zahn, Keagan Parks) (from prelims).
"I am pretty proud right now because I didn't expect to get fourth," he said. "That little stutter step kind of messed me up, but I just put my head down and booked it."
It was the second medal in as many days for Parks at America's Athletic Classic. He placed sixth in the long jump on Thursday with a career-best leap of 22 feet, 3.50 inches.
In Friday morning's 100 prelims, Parks flew past the finish line in 11.02 seconds to qualify for the finals with the fourth-fastest time.
"There wouldn't be anything I'd change about that (100 prelims) race," WCHS head coach Tony Bussan said. "And in the finals he had to run down the field, and he gained ground on virtually everybody other than Harrington.
"Keagan handled his business well all weekend long. He warmed up properly, he was focused, and he handled the competition great."
Parks returned to the track later Friday evening to run the anchor on the Lynx 4x100 relay during the prelims. He and teammates Nathan Nuehring, Andrew May and Cal Zahn clocked a 44.17 to finish 23rd out of the 80 entrants.
"That was our second best performance of the year and we had decent sticks," Bussan said of the 4x100. "There were no mistakes made or anything like that, but teams are running fast. The quality of competition is stepping up and we've just got to get better."
May, a senior, took part in the 110 high hurdles Friday morning and placed 11th in the prelims in 15.18 seconds. He entered the meet seeded 18th.
"Andrew ran very well," Bussan said. "From where he qualified to where he finished position wise was great."
Tyler Daniels of Southeast Polk defended his 110 high hurdles title in 14.41.
Zahn was one of just two freshmen to take a turn in the high jump competition, and he cleared the opening height of 6-1 on his third attempt, but failed to get over 6-3 and finished in a tie for 20th.
Only eight competitors cleared 6-3; Jared Schoelerman of Clay Central was the eventual winner when we went over 6-7.
"For a freshman to get to the Drake Relays, that's pretty special," Bussan said of Zahn. "He's disappointed that he didn't go higher, but he had a reasonable attempt to clear 6-3 and this can't do anything but help him down the road."
The North Central Conference picked up one Drake Relays victory from Fort Dodge St. Edmond senior Neil Flattery - the first Gael to win gold on the blue oval in April since 1968. The Iowa recruit claimed the top prize in the 800 in a meet-record time of 1:55.18.
Parks and his teammates will now get back to work as they prepare for the stretch run of the season, which they ultimately hope will end right back at Drake Stadium in late May for the state meet.
Bussan admits that Parks' accomplishments will put a bull's-eye in the center of his chest.
"Will we talk about it? Sure," Bussan said. "People are going to talk and expectations are going to be high, but they're not going to be higher than he's had all year."
Parks was third in the 3A 100 at last spring's state meet and seventh in the long jump, but those benchmarks don't appeal to him this year.
"If I get to state I want to handle my business," he said. "Hopefully I can win a state title."