Blue Oval Bound: Lynx Flaws, Hawks’ Howard both qualify for Drake Relays in 100

WEBSTER CITY – Webster City sophomore Allie Flaws and South Hamilton senior Devin Howard are both goal-oriented each and every time they jump into the starting blocks.

Both were able to check off one very important goal when they woke up Friday morning.

Flaws and Howard both became first-time Drake Relays qualifiers in the 100-meter dash and they’ll run against the best sprinters in the state on the blue oval Jim Duncan Track at Drake Stadium this Friday morning.

The girls’ 100 prelims are scheduled for 8:31 a.m., and the boys’ prelims will follow at 8:46 a.m. The finals will take place later in the day – 12:11 p.m. (girls) and 12:28 p.m. (boys).

Flaws is a Drake rookie only because she never got the chance to qualify a season ago. The weather forced six straight meet cancellations for Webster City and the Lynx opening meet didn’t occur until the week after the big event.

It’s not like Flaws had many chances this spring either. She’s run the 100 outdoors just twice, but her first sprint – a victory at the Richard Ryan Relays in Gowrie in 12.75 seconds – was good enough to put her 28th in the statewide standings.

“Allie’s very excited, especially after last year. It’s great she got the job done and it will be a great experience for her,” WCHS head coach Kristy Manson said. “This is a great burden off of her because she’s just been thinking Drake, Drake, Drake. So we’re glad the qualifying is over and she can quit thinking about it.”

Howard was also steamed a season ago, as he was 33rd in the state when qualifying ended. He took no chances this season and blazed to a time of 11.0 at his home meet and that time puts him 10th leading up to Drake.

“This was definitely the first goal and it’s been a goal for the last two or three years,” South Hamilton head coach Darrell Paulsen said. “For the next week he’ll concentrate and get focused. He’ll be ready.”

Cray Washington of Fort Dodge is the top boys’ qualifier in 10.72. Iowa City High’s Sarah Plock (12.23) leads the girls’ field.

While the Drake Relays may be a new experience for both, they have a familiarity with the track. Howard is a two-time Class 2A state runner-up in the 100 and two-time fourth-place finisher in the 200, while Flaws was the lone freshman to make the 3A 100 finals last May; she placed eighth.

“I think it’s going to be very valuable for Allie,” Manson said. “You learn a lot from every experience and now she knows she has to control her nerves. Everything won’t be so new for her.”

The only downside to qualifying is that both the Lynx and Hawks will hold home meets Thursday night and it will be Senior Night for Howard.

Neither Paulsen nor Manson would commit to their sprinters competing the night before Drake.

“We probably won’t run him (Thursday night), but you never know,” Paulsen said. “Devin’s goals are to be a state champ and this will just give him an extra boost.”

“I know Allie wants to run (Thursday night), but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Manson said. “We may put her in one event, but I don’t know.”

The Drake Relays will get underway Wednesday with the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon, and will run through Saturday.