Waukee boys’ track and field was coming off back-to-back state titles heading into 2016, so expectations were high. While the Warriors didn’t make it a three-peat, they had an excellent showing at the state meet.
Overall, Waukee finished fifth in class 4A. On their way to scoring 42 points, the Warriors were winners in the 4x800-meter relay and the shuttle hurdle relay.
Shuttle hurdle relay dominance is becoming a regular occurrence for Waukee, which has won the event four years in a row. This year, Kalen Renshaw, Nick Wessels, Aaron McCrary and Nate Halligan led the Warriors to victory with a time of 56.09 seconds.
Renshaw, who’s been part of the relay team since 2014, said everyone was gunning for Waukee.
"Linn-Mar really took it to us at Drake and broke our record," Renshaw said. "We just really wanted to get back at them. I think emotions were high, so it let us perform really well."
In the 4x800, Waukee was represented by Ryan Modlin, Carson Doty, Josh Andrews and Kayde Penn. They combined for a time of 7:47.08, narrowly defeated Cedar Falls.
Penn was the anchor for the Warriors and finished the race strong. He said they were going for the school record, but getting a win was exciting.
"It’s an amazing feeling. We’ve been training real hard," Penn said. "Hard work pays off."
Coming down the stretch, Penn was battling for first with Cedar Falls’ Hunter Lavallee. Ultimately, Waukee came out on top.
"We were neck-and-neck down the stretch, but I couldn’t let him beat me," Penn said.
Dan Blocker qualified for the finals in the 200-meter dash, where he finished fifth with a time of 22.38.
Andrews recorded an eighth-place finish in the 800-meter run. He finished the event in 1:55.63.
The Warriors placed second in the 4x400-meter relay. Andrews, Zach Eaton, Drew Johnson and Penn put together a 3:17.50 finish.
Waukee took fifth in the 4x100-meter relay behind the group of DJ Moffitt, Chaise Russell, Nabhan Awan and Blocker. Their combined time was 42.79.
Junior Jackson Lewis earned a top-10 spot in the 3200-meter run, coming in at 9:42.70. Teammate Nathan Sanders also ran the 3200-meter and finished 20th. In addition, Lewis ran the 1600-meter and landed 15th at state.
Tyler Groathouse and McCrary competed in the 400-meter hurdles. Groathouse finished 14th with a mark of 56.26, and McCrary took 24th at 1:00.23.
In the 4x200-meter relay, Waukee took ninth behind Awan, Eaton, Johnson and Blocker. They combined for a time of 1:29.81.
The Warriors scored points in the distance medley relay by finishing fourth. Johnson, Eaton, Penn and Modlin ran the event in 3:30.49.
Senior Mark Primrose took part in the long jump. He notched an 11th-place finish, reaching 21 feet, 0.5 inches.
In the shot put, Waukee was represented by Brandon Krantz and Jacob Wiggins. Krantz finished 11th with a distance of 51-00.50, and Wiggins took 24th at 46-06.50. Krantz also finished 14th in the discus throw.
Waukee had two runners in the 400-meter dash. Andrews finished ninth with a time of 50.38, and Drew Johnson took 17th at 51.12.
Sophomore Wilson Lenerz represented Waukee in the high jump. He tied for 20th, clearing the bar at 5-09.
Despite not winning a third straight state championship, the Warriors put together a worthy 2016 campaign. Top-five finishes in state competition aren’t easy to come by.