Lynx boys look to sprint, middle distance relays for gold at NCC meet

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.”

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.

The Lynx 4×800-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 4×100 (45.13), 4×200 (1:34.98) and 4×400 (3:37.61).

Nathan Nuehring, Tanner Hoveland, Cooper Jaycox and Cal Zahn are expected to run both the 4×100 and 4×200.

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.”