WEBSTER CITY - Keagan Parks has been blessed with athletic talents that very few high school competitors enjoy.
Andrew May is an elite athlete with a quiet intensity and focus that make him tough to beat.
Nick Erritt is a 270-pound hulk with explosiveness, and he's only getting better.
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City seniors (left to right) Nick Erritt, Andrew May and Keagan Parks are the primary reasons why the Webster City boys’ track team is in the discussion as a Class 3A contender leading up to this week’s state track meet at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. Parks and May will both compete in four events from Thursday through Saturday, while Erritt will return to state in the shot put.
That's how Webster City boys' track coach Tony Bussan describes his three senior leaders as the Lynx get set to embark on what may be the most important week in the history of the program.
The 2012 Iowa Coed State Track and Field Championships will get underway from Drake Stadium in Des Moines Thursday morning, and Webster City is on the tips of the tongues of Class 3A enthusiasts.
With good reason.
|Iowa Coed State Track and Field Championships|
|Schedule of Area Events|
|9 a.m.||Boys 3A High Jump Final (Cal Zahn, WC)|
|10:55 a.m.||Boys 2A 100-Meter Dash Prelims (Devin Howard, SH)|
|Boys 3A 100-Meter Dash Prelims (Keagan Parks, WC)|
|11:10 a.m.||Girls 2A 4x800-Meter Relay Final (South Hamilton)|
|11:30 a.m.||Boys 3A Discus Final (Boone Myers, Webster City)|
|12:00||Boys 3A 4x800-Meter Relay Final (Webster City)|
|1:00||Boys 2A 200-Meter Dash Prelims (Devin Howard, SH)|
|Boys 3A 200-Meter Dash Prelims (Keagan Parks, WC)|
|2:00||Boys Shuttle Hurdle Relay Prelims (Webster City)|
|2:00||Boys 1A Long Jump Final (Marcus Mechaelsen, NEH)|
|9 a.m.||Girls 3A Shot Put Final (Kaylee Schnathorst, WC)|
|Boys 3A Long Jump Final (Keagan Parks, WC)|
|9:40 a.m.||Boys 2A 400-Meter Hurdles Final (Triston Twedt, SH)|
|Boys 3A 400-Meter Hurdles Final (Andrew May, WC)|
|10:20 a.m.||Boys 2A 4x200-Meter Relay Final (South Hamilton)|
|11:20 a.m.||Boys 3A 110-Meter High Hurdles Prelims (Andrew May, WC)|
|11:30 a.m.||Boys 3A Shot Put Final (Nick Erritt, WC)|
|Girls 3A Long Jump Final (Carrie Gerdes, WC)|
|11:40 a.m.||Girls 2A 100-Meter Hurdles Prelims (Shannon Hoyle, SH)|
|12:00||Boys 3A 1,600-Meter Medley Relay Final (Webster City)|
|1:00||Boys 2A 4x100-Meter Relay Prelims (South Hamilton)|
|Boys 3A 4x100-Meter Relay Prelims (Webster City)|
|2:00||Boys 1A High Jump Final (Clay Harreld, NEH)|
|5:00||Boys 1A 110-Meter High Hurdles Final (Bryce Kauffman, NEH)|
|5:40||Boys 1A 1,600-Meter Medley Relay Final (NEH)|
|11:40 a.m.||Boys Shuttle Hurdle Relay Final|
|12:25||Boys 100-Meter Dash Final|
|12:35||Girls 100-Meter Hurdles Final|
|12:45||Boys 110-Meter High Hurdles Final|
|1:35||Boys 200-Meter Dash Final|
|3:20||Boys 4x100-Meter Relay Final|
The Lynx will take 12 events to state, eight of which are ranked in the top five in the class - seven that include the senior trio. Does that make the purple and gold a title contender? It depends on who you ask.
"I definitely think it's possible, but talk is cheap," May, who enters the meet as a potential points producer in the 110-meter high hurdles, 400 low hurdles, shuttle hurdle relay and 4x100 relay, said. "We've just got to go out and do it."
The two words - state championship - never escaped Bussan's lips, but he's not blind to the notion that the potential is there for an interesting three days, to say the least.
"If we do our best, things will work out for the best and, who knows, maybe late Saturday afternoon that will mean some pretty cool things," he said. "We have some wonderful opportunities that the kids have given themselves and we embrace those opportunities."
It all starts with Parks, a legitimate gold-medal contender in all three of his individual events - the 100, 200 and long jump. He was third in the 100 a year ago and then backed it up by finishing fourth in the event at the Drake Relays as the only non-4A sprinter in the final field of eight. He was also seventh in the long jump in 2011, just two weeks after the first leap of his career.
And the 200 may be his best event.
"It is a big week for me. I want to go down there and handle my business and we'll see what happens," Parks, who has the top 3A performances in the 100 and long jump this spring, said. "Hopefully I'll be a state champion, but the exciting thing is we're taking a whole track team. It just feels good to take the team instead of one person or one event."
Bussan thinks the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Parks is set up for a big week.
"Keagan is one of the most talented kids that I've ever had the privilege to work with, and he's taken it to the next level a couple of times over," he said. "It will be fun to see what he can accomplish."
May owns the second-fastest qualifying time in the 110 highs, and his 400 lows time was good enough to gain entrance into the third and fastest of the three finals heats. He was also a Drake Relays participant last month, and he says that experience will be invaluable when he lines up in Lane 4 for his high hurdles preliminary heat on Friday.
"Already competing on that track this year helps out a lot," he said. "The atmosphere is huge down there and a couple of us already know how to handle that."
May will run the second leg on the 4x100, Parks the anchor for a Lynx unit that also features Nathan Nuehring and Cal Zahn. The foursome has the fastest time in 3A during the regular season and they clocked the third-best qualifying time.
Should they make the finals, set for late Saturday afternoon, it will be the Lynx last chance to make an impression on the team race.
"That's a huge race and it could play a factor in how we place," May said.
Erritt was 15th in the shot put a year ago, but he will step into the ring ranked in the top four. Over the last month he's transformed from a 50-foot thrower to the mid 53s.
"My goal is to keep improving," Erritt said. "And last year the nerves were insane. Now I know how to control them a little more, so I'm excited rather than nervous."
Zahn, just a freshman, will compete towards the end of the high jump, which will kick off the festivities Thursday morning. He qualified fourth in the class.
Dylan Fielder, Lucas Poland and Zach Barrick will join May in the shuttle hurdle relay - an event in which the Lynx are seeded ninth.
The 4x800 relay - Nick Thilges, Jacob Clabaugh, Ethan Glenn and Eric Coleman - will be in the faster of the two finals heats thanks to its No. 10 seed. Junior discus thrower Boone Myers and the 1,600 medley relay - Nuehring, Zahn, Coleman and Glenn - will also take part.
"We're going to the state meet as a complete track team," Bussan said. "We're taking 17 kids down there and we intend to have a great time. It should be a heck of a lot of fun."