DES MOINES — The Mount Ayr boys track team knew it was going to face stiff competition in the Class 2A field at the Coed State Track Meet here over the weekend, and the Raiders rose to the occasion, breaking three school records in the process.
Senior standout Braydee Poore was the top placewinner for the Raiders, finishing runner-up for the second straight year in the high jump.
Poore, who also finished second at this year's Kansas Relays and at the Drake Relays, cleared 6-7 and had a pair of good attempts at 6-9, but could not clear at that height.
West Burlington Notre Dame sophomore Jeff Giannettino cleared 6-9 and took three unsuccessful attempts at 7-1 in winning the competition.
"It was a really good day to jump," Poore said. "I was clearing big on the smaller heights, so I was feeling really confident. I got beat by a really good athlete. He's an amazing high jumper, so I can't hang my head too much."
Poore's outstanding high school career ended shortly after the high jump competition, when he did not make it out of prelims of the 110 high hurdles.
"Braydee, he's going to have a great career. He hasn't decided on a school yet," head coach Brad Elliott said. "More than anything yesterday, ending the day with Braydee Poore's last performances was definitely an emotional time for teammates, coaches and Braydee, himself."
Nodaway Valley senior Alex Welsch finished fifth in the Class 2A high jump, clearing 6-4.
To finish off his high school career with a medal at the state meet was a satisfying end for Welsch, who has made big improvements in the high jump during his career.
"My freshman year I was getting 5-8. My sophomore year I was getting 5-10 and junior year I was getting 6-0. Improving four inches while adding about 15 pounds is pretty good," Welsch said. "It feels awesome. I was shooting for the school record, but getting a medal is awesome. I can keep that for a long time, so I'm happy with that."
Poore wasn't the only Raider who found success, however.
The Raiders broke school records in three events, including one record that had been on the board for 55 years.
Junior Noah Larsen placed eighth in the 1,600 meter run Saturday, earning a medal, and breaking a record set in 1958 by running 4:34.90.
Charlie Black ran 4:35 and change in 1958 to set the previous school record.
Larsen started at the back of the pack in the race, and ran even splits, while steadily moving up throughout the race. He passed four runners in the final 400 meters to finish eighth.
"I've kind of been experimenting with this all year, and that seems to be my best strategy," Larsen said. "I just try not getting too worried about those first two laps and then the third lap, when everyone's getting tired, try to push that and try to finish up on the fourth lap."
It was a big improvement for Larsen, who's previous best time in the event was 4:45.
"It was a pretty big drop," he said. "I feel like I peaked at the right time this year, so that's the new school record at Mount Ayr. It was pretty encouraging. It was nice to come up here and get our name in the 2A field."
Larsen also ran on Thursday's 4x800 relay team with Kyle Dolecheck, Heath Evans and Erik Freed which set a school record.
The third Mount Ayr school record came in the 4x400 relay on Friday.
Though the relay team missed out on qualifying for finals, it was still an impressive showing.
The Raiders finished 11th overall in 3:28.45 with the team of Dolecheck, Jack Jones, Freed and Jacob Sobotka.
"We broke a school record set in 1997," Elliott said. "Really nice splits throughout with that. We were very pleased with that and beat the school record by about three tenths. Friday was an amazing day. Didn't have any finals-worthy performances, but school records, season bests, not a whole lot more you can ask for."
Mount Ayr finished 20th in the team standings with 12 team points, while Nodaway Valley placed 37th with four points.
Coed State Track Meet
(area events and results from Firday and Saturday)
Discus — 20. Keegan Longabaugh, Corning, 125-1.
800 meter run — 24. Austin Halls, Murray, 2:11.33.
Team standings — 1. Monticello 96; 20. Mount Ayr 12; 37. Nodaway Valley 4.
High jump — 2. Braydee Poore, Mount Ayr, 6-7; 5. Alex Welsch, Nodaway Valley, 6-4.
Discus — 18. Tim Hansen, Nodaway Valley, 139-4.
110 high hurdles — 13. Braydee Poore, Mount Ayr, 16.02; 17. Alex Welsch, Nodaway Valley, 16.33.
1,600 medley — 19. Mount Ayr (Zach Lemon, Lincoln Martin, Kyle Dolecheck, Noah Larsen), 3:44.57.
4x100 relay — 18. Mount Ayr (Grant Staats, Jacob Sobotka, Erik Freed, Cody Stackhouse), 45.13.
4x400 relay — 11. Mount Ayr (Kyle Dolecheck, Jack Jones, Erik Freed, Jacob Sobotka), 3:28.45 (school record).
800 meter run — 19. TJ Bower, Nodaway Valley, 2:03.24.
1,600 meter run — 8. Noah Larsen, Mount Ayr, 4:34.90 (school record).