Field events provide highlight for Bobcats at state qualifier
MARION – Pedro Gomez threw well beyond his personal-best in the shot put. Brady Arment was just happy to be jumping at all.
Both Bobcats turned in stellar performances at a Class 4A state-qualifying meet at Linn-Mar High School on Thursday and they will be representing the Marshalltown boys’ track team in next week’s state meet.
“Pedro Gomez went from 47 feet, 9 inches to 49-5 1/2, so that was a big jump for him,” MHS coach Mark Chardoulias said. “This was Brady’s first meet of the year. He barely missed 6-3. His training is probably not as good as it could have, but I am really happy with both of them.”
Gomez threw 2 feet farther than he has ever thrown before on his way to second in the shot put, while Arment hit 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump and also grabbed the silver during his first competitive meet of the season.
“I am pretty happy,” said Gomez. “We have been working on this a long time now. It doesn’t matter what you threw before. All that matters is from here on out.”
It was hard for Arment to watch his teammates perform during the regular season, but being able to compete Thursday and clinching a spot at the state meet more than made up for it.
“It’s been tough sitting out and seeing those guys jump and I couldn’t,” said Arment, who was ineligible to compete prior to the state qualifying meet Thursday. “I was really nervous at first. After the first couple of jumps it was fine. As I went, I kept getting better and it feels good to be going to state.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I only jumped 6 feet twice last year. After the first two jumps, I felt pretty good about things.”
Gomez and Arment are the only two guaranteed state qualifiers. The state takes the top two finishers at each state qualifier and then 12 at-large spots in each event also advance.
The Bobcats won’t know if they earned any at-large events until at least Saturday morning though because two Class 4A meets on the Eastern half of the state postponed their meets to today.
The Bobcats finished eighth out of eight teams, recording 46 points on the day. Linn-Mar was the team champion with 136 points, while Iowa City High was second at 117 and Cedar Rapids Prairie was third with 112.
“We challenged the kids early in the week to be aggressive and go out and get it from the start,” Chardoulias said. “A lot of our early events really got after it and attacked. There are some disappointments, but we’ll see how it all turns out.”
Austin Butcher has the best chance to qualify as an at-large for the Bobcats. He heaved the discus 136 feet and finished in third place.
“It was fantastic. I am ecstatic with the third-place finish, but I wished I would have gotten three feet further to get that second place,” Butcher said. “It is going to be really hard psychologically. I am fairly positive that I am going to make it.”
Butcher could be working as a manager at the Marshalltown movie theater when the final at-large qualifiers are released. He knows exactly how he will react if he makes it though.
“I am going to jump up and down and scream for joy,” Butcher said. “I am going to be at work, but I am just going to start screaming and jumping.”
Chardoulias is hopeful that his 4×800 relay team has an outside shot at a state berth. Kolby Keeler in the 400 hurdles also may have a chance.
“We’ll have to sit back and wait and see,” Chardoulias said. “The guys ran well though.”
The 4×800 relay team was seventh overall but Chardoulias feels like the 8 minutes, 29.78 seconds may be good enough to advance. The relay foursome included Sam Johnson, Daniel Talbert, Aaron Hauser and Zach Wells. They came into the meet with a personal-best time of 8:45.03.
The Bobcat shuttle hurdle relay team was fifth overall as well. The time that Marco Tapia, Jordan Paone, Conner Ruddick and Keeler are putting up against the rest of the state is 1:03.56.
The Bobcats recorded several other individual top-10 finishes. Gomez was fifth in the discus with a throw of 131-7, while Tad Steffensen (11.31) was seventh in the 100-meter dash. Keeler also was seventh in the 400 hurdles and eighth in the 110 high hurdles, Talbert was ninth in the 800 and Wells took ninth in the 1,600.
Arment also competed in the long jump and placed sixth with a leap of 18-10 1/2.
Linn-Mar recorded seven first-place finishes on the night, while Cedar Rapids Prairie scored three top finishes. Linn-Mar sophomore Perrion Scott won the 100 and 200 and ran the opening leg of the Lions’ 4×100 The Bobcats were nine points behind Cedar Rapids Xavier for seventh place. Linn-Mar Stadium is one of the nicest facilities in the state of Iowa and would rival that of any college in the Iowa Conference. The state track and field meet begins Thursday at Drake Stadium in Des Moines.