GLENWOOD — “All you can say is ‘wow,’” Creston head track coach Pat Schlapia said. “You look at the watch, see how he’s been running, and all you can say is ‘wow.’”
Schlapia was awestruck at the anchor leg of the 4x800 relay run by sophomore Jay Wolfe at Thursday’s Class 3A State Qualifying Meet here.
Wolfe took the baton in third place, well behind leaders Sioux City Bishop Heelan and Glenwood, and proceeded to run a 1:53 anchor leg to catch them, and momentarily take the lead, before Heelan anchor Alex DeVries edged him at the line.
But, Wolfe’s effort was good enough to give the Panthers second place in the first running event on the track for the boys, qualifying Creston for the state meet for the second straight year in the 4x800 relay.
And, thanks to career-best splits from Bryce Briley (2:04), Travis Miller (2:08) and Briar Evans (2:03), the Panthers broke a 38-year-old school record, set in 1975 by Mike Moffitt, Ron Martin, Greg Boden and Mark Clark.
Creston’s time of 8:11.16 bested the 1975 team’s mark of 8:16.8 by more than five seconds, and topped the fastest time in the state entering the State Qualifying Meets in Class 3A.
“Not only did we improve by 15 seconds from Monday, that improved by 30 seconds over the previous best from this season,” Schlapia said. “You just beam with pride for those boys. Just like last year, that’s a race that brings a coach to tears.”
Briley now wipes his uncle, Martin, off the record board in the Creston High School commons.
Wolfe’s anchor leg lit a fire under the Panthers that set the team off on a feeding frenzy of medal-winning performances.
Junior Brandon Phipps kept things rolling on the track for the Panthers, winning the 3,200 meter run at the State Qualifying Meet for the second straight year.
Phipps won with a time of 10:14.28, easily running away from the pack for the win.
“Brandon ran the whole race on his own,” Schlapia said. “That’s usually unheard of in a State Qualifying Meet, but he went out and ran his race. Hats off to Brandon, this is his second straight year winning the State Qualifying Meet.”
As Phipps was finishing up on the track, senior Luke Neitzel was taking to the long jump runway.
Neitzel jumped 21-5.50, his best jump of the season, on his first jump. That mark held up through five more rounds of jumps, as Neitzel won the long jump competition, earning a spot in next week’s state meet competition.
As heavy rainfall hit at the start of finals, jumps began to not go as far, and with Neitzel jumping last, after no one surpassed his mark, he was able to pass his final jump to save his legs for his running events.
Wolfe won the third and final gold medal of the night for the Panthers, and gave the Panthers their fourth event to finish in a top-two position to automatically qualify for the state meet, as he won the 800 meter run.
Wolfe ran a negative split by going out in 1:02 and coming home in :59, answering a charge by Jared Cook of Glenwood on the backstretch to come from behind in the final 200 meters for the win.
“He owns that 800. It’s his,” Schlapia said. “When Jay gets to that third 200, that’s his moneymaker. Cook tried to make a move on him coming off that third 200, but Jay coming off that last corner, pulled away.”
On the bubble
The Panthers have several events on the bubble that now must wait to find out if they were among the eight best non-automatic qualifying times across the state, earning one of the final at-large spots in the state meet.
Wolfe finished third in the 400 meters with a time of 51.77 and will likely be close to the cutoff time.
Phipps finished fourth in the 1,600 meters with his best time of the season in 4:41.75, but is near what the cutoff time has been in the past for the event. Evans in the 400 hurdles is in the ballpark, as he finished fourth in a tough field.
The 4x400 relay team of Briley, Evans, Maxx Walters and Wolfe, which finished third in 3:33.20, also finds itself on the bubble.
Creston finished fifth in the team standings with 73 points, just four points behind Carroll for fourth. Glenwood won the team title with 163 points.
Class 3A Boys State Qualifying Meet
(Automatic state qualifiers & Creston results)
Team standings — 1. Glenwood 163, 2. Sioux City Bishop Heelan 136, 3. Harlan 134, 4. Carroll 77, 5. Creston 73, 6. Denison-Schleswig 49, 7. Atlantic 33, 8. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 32.
Discus — 1. Andrew Overton, Den, 150-10; 2. Cameron Joy, Glen, 149-6; 9. Trevor Luther, Creston, 119-10; 14. Evan Nielsen, Crest, 89-0.
Shot put — 1. JJ Hahn, Glen, 50-7.25; 2. Alex Stenbo, Carroll, 50-0.75; 15. Nathan Haley, Creston, 28-2.25.
High jump — 1. Mitch Bowden, Glen, 6-2; 2. Cooper LaRue, Carroll, 6-1.
Long jump — 1. Luke Neitzel, Creston, 21-5.50; 2. Grant May, Glen, 21-2.
3,200 meters — 1. Brandon Phipps, Creston, 10:14.28; 2. Philip Sciranko, Har, 10:20.71; 11. Zack Peppmeier, 12:12.36.
4 x 800 relay — 1. Bishop Heelan, 8:10.91; 2. Creston (Bryce Briley, Travis Miller, Briar Evans, Jay Wolfe), 8:11.16 (school record).
Shuttle hurdle relay — 1. Glenwood, 58.11; 2. Harlan, 58.25.
100 meters — 1. Zach Skibinski, Heelan, 11.02; 2. Joey Foss, Har, 11.46; 9. Luke Neitzel, Creston, 11.91; 12. Seth Maitlen, Creston, 12.18.
400 meters — 1. Derek Jones, Glen, 49.97; 2. Philip Jacobsen, Heelan, 50.92; 3. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 51.77; 10. Travis Miller, Creston, 58.19.
4 x 200 relay — 1. Bishop Heelan, 1:31.67; 2. Harlan, 1:32.02; 4. Creston (Maxx Walters, Briar Evans, Seth Maitlen, Luke Neitzel), 1:35.66.
1,600 meters — 1. Alec DeVries, Heelan, 4:36.51; 2. Alec Pavone, Heelan, 4:39.29; 4. Brandon Phipps, Creston, 4:41.75; 13. Zack Peppmeier, Creston, 5:36.86.
110 high hurdles — 1. Austin Hess, Har, 14.96; 2. Dane Kruse, Glen, 15.28.
200 meters — 1. Joey Foss, Har, 22.93; 2. Matt Evers, Har, 22.95; 9. Jake Johnston, Creston, 24.81; 12. JD Routh, Creston, 25.73.
400 low hurdles — 1. Derek Jones, Glen, 53.73; 2. Jake Auerbach, Atl, 56.42; 4. Briar Evans, 58.18.
1,600 medley relay — 1. Glenwood, 3:43.22; Bishop Heelan, 3:48.23; 4. Creston (Luke Neitzel, Maxx Walters, Bryce Briley, Brandon Phipps), 4:03.64.
800 meters — 1. Jay Wolfe, Creston, 2:01.05; 2. Jared Cook, Glen, 2:01.53; 7. Travis Miller, Creston, 2:12.75.
4 x 100 relay — 1. Bishop Heelan, 44.39; 2. Harlan, 44.70; 8. Creston (Trevor Luther, Seth Maitlen, JD Routh, Jake Johnston), 48.40.
4 x 400 relay — 1. Glenwood, 3:25.93; 2. Harlan, 3:31.78; 3. Creston (Bryce Briley, Briar Evans, Maxx Walters, Jay Wolfe), 3:33.20.