CLARION - Tony Bussan is a realist: He knows the chances of his Webster City boys' track team winning the North Central Conference team championship today at Clarion-Goldfield High School are in the slim to none range.
Other programs have more depth and a heck of a lot more experience, which is why the Lynx will have other goals than a trophy in mind when competition begins at 5 p.m.
"We're not in the hunt for the conference title, so the team goal is to finish in the top half of the conference," Bussan, the Lynx head coach, said. "If we can break into the top half, that's probably a pretty good meet for us."
DFJ photo by Troy Banning
Webster City senior Lucas Poland clears the final hurdle during the shuttle hurdle relay at the Lynx Invite last month.
Algona, Iowa Falls-Alden and Fort Dodge St. Edmond are expected to tangle at the top of the standings. Algona has all of the components from top to bottom to contend and Iowa Falls-Alden is loaded in the sprints where it is expected to score in bunches.
"Algona and Iowa Falls look like very strong favorites, and I'd put Algona ahead of the others just because of depth," Bussan said. "St. Eds is probably up there in the conversation for top three."
That leaves WCHS focused on trying to pick off a medal here and a medal there in the events where it thrives. And that starts with the relays.
100 Meters - 1. Brandon Norman (IF-A) 11.16; 2. Tre Strowder (CL) 11.46; 3. Cooper Jaycox (WC) 11.51.
200 Meters - 1. Norman (IF-A) 22.60; 2. Nick Jensen (IF-A) 23.07; 3. Jake Harle (CL) 23.32.
400 Meters - 1. Jensen (IF-A) 50.64; 2. Norman (IF-A) 52.07; 3. Reed Burres (H) 53.14.
800 Meters - 1. Bo Hjelle (A) 2:02.98; 2. Seth Reel (SE) 2:04.93; 3. Nick Thilges (WC) 2:05.71.
1,600 Meters - 1. Reel (SE) 4:39.30; 2. Chris Huling (H-D) 4:42.94; 3. Hjelle (A) 4:48.32.
3,200 Meters - 1. Reel (SE) 9:59.57; 2. Huling (H-D) 10:17.32; 3. Jacob Miller (H) 10:22.49.
110 High Hurdles - 1. Hank Lentsch (SE) 15.31; 2. Connor Nosbisch (CL) 15.32; 3. Adam Hamilton (BG) 15.85.
400 Hurdles - 1. Spencer Peterson (C-G) 56.95; 2. Taylor Behn (H-D) 57.62; 3. Brennan Cameron (EG) 59.76.
4x100 Relay - 1. Iowa Falls-Alden 44.71; 2. Webster City 45.13 (Nathan Nuehring, Jaycox, Tanner Hoveland, Cal Zahn); 3. Clarion-Goldfield 45.35.
4x200 Relay - 1. Clear Lake 1:34.37; 2. Webster City 1:34.98 (Nuehring, Hoveland, Jaycox, Zahn); 3. Algona 1:35.30.
4x400 Relay - 1. Algona 3:36.23; 2. Clarion-Goldfield 3:37.28; 3. Webster City 3:37.61 (Ethan Glenn, Nuehring, Jaycox, Eric Coleman).
4x800 Relay - 1. Webster City 8:13.04 (Thilges, Coleman, Jacob Clabaugh, Glenn); 2. Algona 8:26.20; 3. St. Edmond 8:27.88.
1,600 Medley Relay - 1. Webster City 3:42.01 (Nuehring, Zahn, Coleman, Glenn); 2. Algona 3:43.31; 3. St. Edmond 3:48.69.
Shuttle Hurdle Relay - 1. Algona 1:01.63; 2. Bishop Garrigan 1:02.06; 3. St. Edmond 1:02.36.
Long Jump - 1. Chandler Diercks (CL) 22-8.25; 2. Sawyer Frideres (A) 21-6.25; 3. Harle (CL) 20-9.5.
High Jump - 1. Luke Arrowood (A) 6-7; 2. Lentsch (SE) 6-5; 3. Zahn (WC) 6-4.
Shot Put - 1. Joe Teague (A) 48-7.5; 2. Josh Hoover (IF-A) 46-3.25; 3. Mason Decker (A) 46-1.5.
Discus - 1. Hoover (IF-A) 140-3; 2. Cameron Lahndorf (A) 140-2; 3. Boone Myers (WC) 138-1.
Note: Leaders compiled from quikstatsiowa.com and are not a presumption of lineups for teams at today's NCC?meets. Lineups are unknown.
The Lynx 4x800-meter relay - Nick Thilges, Eric Coleman, Jacob Clabaugh and Ethan Glenn - will be the overwhelming favorite to win gold. The all-senior group holds the fastest time in the league (8:13.04) by more than 13 seconds and ranks fourth in Class 3A. Glenn is a hammer on the anchor with the ability to run a sub 2-minute split.'
WCHS also has the conference's best 1,600 medley relay time (3:42.01), and owns top-three times in the 4x100 (45.13), 4x200 (1:34.98) and 4x400 (3:37.61).
Nathan Nuehring, Tanner Hoveland, Cooper Jaycox and Cal Zahn are expected to run both the 4x100 and 4x200.
But can the Lynx steal a point or two in some of the other events? Bussan says that's the unknown and could decide where his team finishes.
"Are we willing to battle for fifth place? Are we willing to battle for sixth place? Do we perform well with the veteran kids that are capable of scoring at the top of the conference?" Bussan wondered. "Those will be the keys for us."
WCHS also has the opportunity to score big in the field events if Zahn and Boone Myers can round into form.
Zahn - a two-time Drake Relays qualifier - has cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump, but has struggled in recent meets. Myers went into the season as the prohibitive league favorite in both the shot put and discus, but an early-season illness left him sapped of strength and 20 pounds lighter, and he's still not fully recovered.
"With Cal it's a technical thing," Bussan said. "We've done some work this week and got some input from other coaches and we think that will help.
"Boone is on the upswing. He's definitely getting stronger and he's gained back 15 of the 20 pounds he lost. He's well on his way to being very competitive."
Today will be the Lynx final tune-up before Thursday's 3A State Qualifying Meet at Nevada. Should the NCC meet be pushed back to Tuesday because of the wet grounds left over from last week's blizzard, Bussan says it could force him to alter his lineup.
"We're trying to make sure that we don't overdo it with our middle-distance guys," he said. "If we go to Tuesday then we'll definitely be looking to limit those kids."