Flaws, Howard out to validate past sprinting success on blue oval

WEBSTER CITY – Allie Flaws and Devin Howard have been there, done that.

The Webster City sophomore and South Hamilton senior aren’t going to be intimidated by the famed blue oval track, the blazing-fast competitors or the thousands of interested eyes when they step into the blocks at Drake Stadium in Des Moines today.

Both have won medals before. Both know what it’s going to take to do it again.

The sprints will keep the area fans interested today when the Iowa Co-ed State Track and Field Championships get underway with the Class 1A/4A session at 9 a.m. The 2A/3A session is set to start at 2 p.m.

Flaws will compete in the girls’ 3A 100- and 200-meter dash preliminaries today at 4:20 and 6:20 p.m. She is a two-time state qualifier in both events and she finished eighth in the 100 a season ago.

WCHS girls’ head coach Kristy Manson expects her now veteran to be much more relaxed than she was a season ago.

“Allie is kind of a nervous Nellie, but she’s ready to go race,” Manson said. “I think she’s a lot more comfortable than she was last year and she’s definitely in the right mindset.”

Flaws will run out of Lane 5 in both races thanks to impressive top-five qualifying times.

“She’ll be right next to one of the faster girls … that should help her run pretty darned fast in the prelims,” Manson said. ‘She definitely wants to get to the finals (on Saturday) in both of them.”

Howard brings a resume that includes a pair of boys’ 2A runner-up results in the 100 and two fourth-place finishes in the 200. Hawks’ head coach Darrell Paulsen acknowledges that his sprinter has high expectations for himself.

“He wants to win. I think he’d be really disappointed if he didn’t,” Paulsen said. “I think he’s got a shot in both of them.”

Howard didn’t get any favors with his lane assignments, however. He’ll run out of Lane 8 for the 4:30 p.m. 100 and in Lane 1 in the 6:40 p.m. 200.

“That bothered him at the beginning of the week,” Paulsen said of the lanes. “But we’ve practiced in Lanes 1 and 8 and he’s gotten better as the week has progressed.”

WCHS senior Cooper Jaycox will enter the boys’ 3A 100 with a top-eight qualifying time. He’s a returning state qualifier and his coach Tony Bussan says he’s capable of reaching the finals as well.

“Cooper’s goal is to run a (personal record) and see if that gets him into the finals,” Bussan said. “We’re going down there to have our best performances of the year.”

Cal Zahn will also compete today in the boys’ 3A high jump. The WCHS junior finished eighth as a freshman, but failed to qualify a season ago.

Tendinitis in Zahn’s knee has limited his jumping this spring, but Bussan says he’s looked good this week in practice.

“We jumped on Monday and (Zahn) looked absolutely incredible,” Bussan said. “He’s competed very well at state in the past, so we’ll see what happens.”

On Friday, Lynx junior Carrie Gerdes will attempt to win a second medal in the girls’ 3A long jump. She was the state silver medalist as a freshman, but then underwent hip surgery prior to her sophomore season and fell short of qualifying..

“Carrie’s excited to have the opportunity to compete again at state,” Manson said. “I really think she has it in her (to do well).”

The Northeast Hamilton boys’ team will compete in both of its events – the 1A 1,600 medley and 4×400 relays – Friday afternoon.