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Comet track and field team sending six to Drake Relays

Comet track and field team sending six to Drake Relays
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City senior Josiah Cunnings, the defending Class 3A state long jump champion, qualified for this week’s Drake Relays in the event.

By John Burbridge

CHARLES CITY — A returning state champion and a four-year Drake Relays qualifier highlight a Charles City contingent of six strong who have earned the right to compete at the prestigious track and field meet taking place Thursday through Saturday (April 24-27) in and around the Drake University’s Blue Oval.

Defending Class 3A long jump champion and Comet senior Josiah Cunnings will return to the Drake Relays after his season-best leap of 21 feet, 9 1/4 inches has him seeded No. 21 among the Top 24 male competitors from all high school classes. Cunnings won the state title last year with a leap of 22 feet, 2 1/4 inches on his final attempt.

Cunnings’s personal-record in the LJ is 22 feet, 6 1/4 inches he set during last year’s state-qualifier.

Senior Keely Collins, junior Leah Stewart and freshman Sophia Calpito all qualified in multiple events while representing Charles City.

This will be Collins’s fourth Drake Relays after her season-best high jump of 5 feet, 4 inches seeded her No. 19 among female HJ qualifiers. Collins is Charles City’s all-time leader in the girls high jump (5-7) and is a two-time state silver medal winner in the event.

Collins was also the anchor leg in the Comets 4-by-100 shuttle hurdle relay team that also consisted of Calpito, senior Lauren Staudt and freshman Edie Collins, who at last Monday’s (April 15) home meet at Comet Field recorded a season-best time of 1:07.37 which was a 10th of a second from matching the school record set by Brianna Carey, Tayler Schmidt, Lynn Hoeft and Sadie Ruzicka in 2017.

Though they just missed setting a school standard as well as reaching the “Blue Oval” automatic-berth standard of 1:07 even, the Comet foursome earned a No. 12 seed among the Top 20 DR qualifiers.

Stewart also had a good meet last Monday while setting personal-records in the shot put (38 feet, 11 1/4 inches) and discus (128 feet, 6 inches). Both efforts punched Stewart’s ticket to Des Moines for the second-straight spring, most notably her discus throw which broke Krista Niezwagg’s school record of 127 feet set in 1996.

Stewart, who placed 10th in the shot put at state last spring, is seeded No. 18 in discus and No. 21 in the shot put.

Calpito almost set a school record herself last Monday when she surprised even herself with a personal-record flight of 17 feet, 6 1/4 in the long jump, obliterating a previous PR by nearly a foot. A competitive jumper since seventh grade, Calpito is a clear and present (and future) danger to the school record of 17 feet, 8 inches set by Dyan Fluhrer in 1989.

Calpito is seeded No. 13 in the high school girls long jump at the Drake Relays.

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