KENNY DEAN INVITE: Host Bobcats find plenty of holes

Finally getting a chance to see how they performed on a 400-meter track and against other competition, Marshalltown boys’ track coach Mark Chardoulias found a lot of things that need to be fixed as more and more meets take place.

The biggest issue Friday at the 60th annual Kenny Dean Invite was conditioning. Chardoulias knows that’s got to get better if the Bobcats plan on competing to the best of their ability.

“Conditioning is an issue,” said Chardoulias. “We have a lot of things to work on. But we’ll learn from this, improve it and move forward.”

The Bobcats did not record a first-place finish on their home track, scored 29 team points and finished in seventh place out of eight teams.

“You got to look at effort and the guys gave the effort,” Chardoulias said. “It is what it is. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We’ll just have to work a little harder, but it is coming. It is coming.”

Cedar Falls cruised to the team title in both the varsity and junior varsity competitions. The Tigers scored 122 points in varsity, beating second-place Waterloo West by nine. Ankeny was third with 97 followed by Ames (64), Des Moines Lincoln (62) and Johnson (54). Dike-New Hartford was eighth with 17 points.

“We didn’t score a lot of points, but there was good competition,” Chardoulias said. “Sometimes you have to tip your hat to the competition. We are fortunate enough to be able to get out here and compete today.”

The Bobcats’ best finishes came in the field events.

Senior Pedro Gomez recorded a personal-best throw in the shot put and finished in second place. His best throw was marked at 46 feet, 3 inches. Cedar Falls junior Ross Pierschbacher, who is committed to play football for the Iowa Hawkeyes, took the top prize with a toss of 51-11.

Austin Butcher grabbed a third-place tally in the discus as he tossed a personal-best 130-4 1/2. He missed out on second by less than two feet, but Cedar Falls’ Randolph Bryan easily won with a 151-9.

Chardoulias said Gomez threw two feet further than he did last year and Zach Smith threw eight feet further Thursday then he ever threw before.

“We can look at the positives,” Chardoulias said. “The shot and discus were good in the field events. The shuttle hurdle guys ran well, too.”

The only other top-five individual performances came from Tad Steffensen in the 100-meter dash and Dacoda Ewalt in the high jump. Both scored fourth-place finishes.

Steffensen is still working his way back from a torn ACL suffered during football season. He was clocked at 11.04 on Thursday.

“Tad is not 100 percent yet,” Chardoulias said. “There are things he can’t do in workouts. He is a competitor. He wants to do well. He’ll get there. It will just take time. Hopefully we have enough time.”

Ewalt’s best mark in the high jump was 5-8.

A pair of fifth-place finishes highlighted the relays portion of the meet. The Bobcats took fifth in the shuttle hurdle relay and the 4×800.

The hurdle relay team of Paul Landherr, Kolby Keeler, Connor Ruddick and Marco Tapia finished in 1:04.63, while the 4×800 relay team of Sam Johnson, Daniel Talbert, Ruddick and Aaron Hauser hit the line in 8:56.76.

“Our two best distance runners have missed some time lately so we are not quite conditioned where we want to be,” Chardoulias said.


The Kenny Dean Invitational is named after long-time Bobcat track and field coach Kenny Dean. He served as head coach of the MHS track team in four decades, spanning the 1940s through 1970s. … Cedar Falls also won the junior varsity competition with 137 points, blowing out everyone else in the field. Johnston was second with 77 points and Marshalltown finished with 43 points. … Marshalltown’s Jacoby Jay won the JV shot put with a throw of 42-11, while Jordan Paone won the 400 hurdles in 1:02.13. … The Bobcats will next compete at the Ames Invitational on Tuesday at 5 p.m.