Miserable conditions hamper Lynx at Drake Relays

Nerland 16th in shot put; 4x100 relays 46th and 71st, respectively

Webster City junior Cassidy Nerland competes in the shot put at the Lynx Relays in Webster City last month. Following a 12th-place finish in the discus last Thursday at the Drake Relays, Nerland was back in Des Moines and placed 16th in the shot put on Friday. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

WEBSTER CITY — With the state track and field meet just a few weeks down the road, the Drake Relays gave Webster City’s qualifying athletes a chance to envision what the future could look like.

And every Lynx competitor exited Drake Stadium last Friday chomping at the bit to get back and improve upon their performances.

Miserable weather conditions, particularly in the morning when junior Cassidy Nerland took part in the girls’ shot put, didn’t help, but the lessons learned can only help in the future.

“It was just a nasty day and it continued to rain all day,” WCHS girls’ head coach Clint Howard said. “It was the mid-30’s and raining in the morning during the shot put.”

Nerland finished 16th in the shot put with a top throw of 37 feet, 4 inches. It was off her season’s best effort of 39-7, as well as her 14th-place performance at the 2016 Drake Relays, but Howard says a lot of that can be attributed to the weather.

“Obviously Cassidy was disappointed in what she threw, but if you look at it in respect to the seeds coming in, nobody threw to what they had been throwing,” he said. “The weather affected everybody; you could go right down the line and the placings.”

Waukee’s Kat Moody won the shot put title with a heave of 43-10.

It was Nerland’s fourth appearance at Drake; she’s qualified in both the shot put and discus in each of the past two seasons. Nerland took 12th in the discus last Thursday.

The WCHS girls’ 4×100-meter relay stepped onto the track later on Friday and, again, didn’t warm up in the frigid conditions. The quartet of Ashlyn Hay, Zoey Woodle, Tatum Goings and Haley Flaws placed 71st in 53.22 seconds. A total of 80 teams were in the field.

“I’ll take the blame for that because I made the call to take them all down to support Cassidy in the morning and then we sat in the car a lot of the day and didn’t run well,” Howard said. “But the positive is that’s a young group and everybody’s back next year. And for the two freshmen (Hay and Goings), they got a taste of what it’s like. Our goal is to be back down there in 21⁄2 weeks and run better.”

The WCHS boys’ 4×100 relay hit the blue oval less than an hour later and put up a time of 45.10 to finish 46th among the 80 entrants. It wasn’t the best showing of the season for Jordan Tanner, Zane Carter, Zane Williams and Payton Kannuan, but head coach Chad Hisler wasn’t displeased with the performance.

“We didn’t have great sticks, but time wise, we ran a little bit faster than we did at Boone on Thursday night,” he said. “They did well. They went out and prepared well, and it’s a great experience running there. Being there and being in that environment is always good.”

The Davenport Assumption girls’ 4×100 claimed the title in 48.97, while the boys’ crown went to Western Dubuque in 42.41. Both of the finals took place on Saturday.

WCHS will now spend the week preparing for Thursday’s North Central Conference meets. The girls will be in Iowa Falls, while the boys will travel to Clear Lake. Both meets will begin with the field events at 5 p.m., followed by the running program at 5:30 p.m.