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CEDAR FALLS — Mississippi Valley Conference newcomer Western Dubuque has quickly established itself against Class 4A track and field competition.

Coach Tom Jasper assembled a strong schedule prior to the start of the season, and the Bobcats have stepped up to the challenge. Western Dubuque won six event titles and secured the Mississippi Division team championship in its league debut season with 165 points Thursday night in Cedar Falls.

Host Cedar Falls won four of the contested events and finished in second place with a score of 142, while Iowa City High was third in the eight-team meet at 105.

Senior sprinter Zack Butcher of Western Dubuque was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Athlete after winning the 200, 400 and joining Drake George, Will Burds and Collin Hogan for a 4x100 title. The Bobcats also received event wins from Burds in the 400 hurdles, Class 4A long jump leader Damon Jaeger and the shuttle hurdle relay of Grant Kelchen, Logan Brosius, Jaeger and Ethan Achenbach.

Western Dubuque overcame early adversity after its 4x800 relay team that crossed the finish line first was disqualified for running inside the curve.

“We’re very proud of the guys,” Jasper said. “They’ve all stepped up a lot across the board. Our guys believed that they could do this, and they came in and did what they said they were going to do.

“We have to have confidence at this point of the season. … Kids are going to be beaming with confidence going into next week, and that’s exactly what we want.”

Coming off a competitive Drake Relays in which his athletes competed in multiple events, Cedar Falls coach Dirk Homewood continues to fit together pieces of the puzzle leading into next week’s district meet.

Western Dubuque’s execution on this day was tough to match. Among the opportunities for points the Tigers missed was a 110 hurdle race where Kyle Trunnell was leading before clipping the final hurdle and placing fourth.

“We just tried to spread out our lineup a little bit tonight,” Homewood said. “We thought we had a chance. Right in the middle of the meet we kind of had a couple rough goes.

“We thought we could compete with Western Dubuque, but hats off to a very good team. They’re well-coached, their athletes competed super hard, and you could see that on all their finishes. They just seemed to want it a little bit more than our guys tonight.”

Junior Bryce Albaugh has emerged as a leader for Cedar Falls. He’s figured out his timing and form in the high jump.

Albaugh followed a school record and third-place finish at the Drake Relays by clearing 6-feet, 4-inches to win a divisional title. He also joined Mitch Young, Jibreel Bailey and Ryan Ostrich to pull away from the field with a time of 1:31.27 in the 4x200 relay.

“I think our 4x2 has a really good shot at placing at state and doing really well at districts,” Albaugh said. “I’m proud of them for all the hard work throughout the season.

“Practices have been really focusing on form and technique and really high-paced workouts — getting high reps at a high level. Hopefully it’s paying off right now.”

Cedar Falls’ Young, Trunnell, Michael Kremer and Quinlan O’Hair clocked 4A’s sixth-fastest time in the sprint medley with a 1:35.41 that finished runner-up to the fourth-fastest time set by event winner Iowa City High’s Kaleba Jack, Max DePrenger, Jovan Harris and Daniel Brown in 1:34.92.

Jackson Leistikow of Cedar Falls continued his success in the throws with a narrow shot put title over runner-up Jason Simon-Ressler, 54-6 1/2-54-5 1/4.

The Tigers closed the day by running away with the 4x400. Jacob Paulson, TJ Tomlyanovich, Brandon Conrad and Will Eastman carried the stick to a 3:24.79 time in the finale.

While key underclassmen were promoted into varsity events, Cedar Falls still won the ninth- and 10th-grade team championship, displaying depth for the future.

“We’re going to continue to preach the Tiger tradition and hopefully next year we’ll be able to come back out on top,” Homewood said.

Waterloo East was led by Ray Talbert’s runner-up time of 11.38 in the 100-meter dash. The Trojans added fourth-place finishes in the 4x200 and 4x100 relays.

Mississippi Divisional

TEAM STANDINGS — 1. Western Dubuque 165, 2. Cedar Falls 142, 3. Iowa City High 105, 4. Cedar Rapids Prairie 95, 5. Cedar Rapids Washington 91, 6. Xavier 57, 7. Dubuque Senior 45, 8. Waterloo East 34.

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Event leaders, metro leader

SPRINT MEDLEY — 1. Iowa City High (Kaleba Jack, Max DePrenger, Jovan Harris, Daniel Brown) 1:34.92, 2. Cedar Falls (Mitch Young, Kyle Trunnell, Michael Kremer, Quinlan O’Hair) 1:35.41, 3. Western Dubuque 1:35.58.

3,200 — 1. Jack Pendergast (Prairie) 9:47.04, 2. Max Locher (Washington) 9:47.9, 3. Paul Schneidermann (Washington) 9:52.19, 4. Michael Goodenbour (CF) 9:54.63.

LONG JUMP — 1. Damon Jaeger (WD) 22-5 3/4, 2. Kaleba Jack (City High) 22-1 1/4, 3. Zack Butcher (WD) 20-11 3/4, 5. Kaston Winans (East) 20-1 1/2.

DISCUS — 1. Kaden Schilling (Prairie) 165-1, 2. Levi Sherod (City High) 148-9, 3. Justin Kluesner (WD) 146-3 1/2, 4. Jackson Leistikow (CF) 139-10.

HIGH JUMP — 1. Bryce Albaugh (CF) 6-4, 2. Grant Kelchen (WD) 6-0, 3. Gabriel Rummel (Prairie) 6-0.

4x800 — 1. Iowa City High (Noah Kabat, Joe Fischer, Thomas McMillan, Oliver Shabani) 8:21.58, 2. Cedar Falls (Jack Jorgensen, Alex Mujica, Joel Burris, TJ Tomlyanovich) 8:29.51, 3. Prairie 8:33.3.

SHUTTLE HURDLE — 1. Western Dubuque (Grant Kelchen, Logan Brosius, Jaeger, Ethan Achenbach) 1:00.68, 2. Prairie 1:00.7, 3. City High 1:01.93, 5. Cedar Falls (Oisin, Leopold, John Aschenbrenner, Griffen Vogelgesang, Tevon Williamson) 1:04.55.

100 — 1. Brayden Wright (Washington) 11.16, 2. Ray Talbert (East) 11.38, 3. Ryan Kilpatrick (Prairie) 11.38.

DISTANCE MEDLEY — 1. Xavier (Christian Klein, Aaron Larson, Kaiden Cuevas, Nathan Skala) 3:40.22, 2. Western Dubuque 3:44.39, 3. Cedar Falls (Joey Nielsen, Liam McRae, Campbell Tressler, Hunter Jacobson) 3:47.61.

SHOT PUT — 1. Jackson Leistikow (CF) 54-6 1/2, 2. Jason Simon-Ressler (WD) 54-5 1/4, 3. Ben DeSollar (WD) 49-7.

400 — 1. Zack Butcher (WD) 50.52, 2. Will Eastman (CF) 50.67, 3. Brandon Conrad (CF) 50.67.

WHEELCHAIR SHOT PUT — 1. Koda Beland (CF) 12-2.

4x200 — 1. Cedar Falls (Mitch Young, Albaugh, Jibreel Bailey, Ryan Ostrich) 1:31.27, 2. Dubuque Senior 1:32.72, 3. Western Dubuque 1:33.64, 4. Waterloo East 1:33.9.

110 HURDLES — 1. Leopold (City) 15.14, 2. Ceondae Adams (Prairie) 15.17, 3. Carson Hennings (Xavier) 15.29, 4. Kyle Trunnell (CF) 15.6.

200 WHEELCHAIR — 1. Beland (CF) 47.79.

800 — 1. Daniel Brown (City) 2:00.74, 2. Max Locher (Washington) 2:01.43, 3. Sam Goodman (WD) 2:03.15, 6. Quinlan O’Hair (CF) 2:04.73.

200 — 1. Butcher (WD) 22.76, 2. Brayden Wright (Washington) 22.92, 3. Jacob Paulson (CF) 23.03.

400 HURDLES — 1. Will Burds (WD) 55.16, 2. Ted Kruse (Senior) 56.02, 3. Joel Burris (CF) 57.42.

1,600 — 1. Pendergast (Prairie) 4:32.63, 2. Paul Schneiderman (Washington) 4:34.31, 3. Lewis Kleman (Washington) 4:36.46, 7. Goodenbour (CF) 4:40.76.

4x100 — 1. Western Dubuque (Drake George, Burds, Collin Hogan, Butcher) 43.57, 2. Cedar Falls (Young, Albaugh, Bailey, Ostrich) 43.81, 3. Washington 44.0, 4. Waterloo East (Talbert, Kendall Robinson, Ahkil Muhammad, Kjuan Owens) 44.16.

4x400 — 1. Cedar Falls (Jacob Paulson, Tomlyanovich, Conrad, Eastman) 3:24.79, 2. Western Dubuque 3:30.89, 3. Senior 3:32.09.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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