Dean shines as Bobcats earn state berths
CEDAR RAPIDS — Thursday evening promised to be big for Marshalltown senior Deonte Dean, a big step in the progress of an athlete who missed state by less than one second in his sophomore season.
While he wasn’t thrilled with his times, Dean made his mark at Kingston Stadium — winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.06 seconds and the 200 dash in 21.59, while anchoring the 4×100 relay to an automatic berth as well in 42.99 and helping the sprint medley team including Malachi Holmes, Mannie Kparyea and Jaiden Buchanan to a qualifying spot with a school record time (1:33.83). Dean will be the second seed in the 100 and top seed in the 200. The 4×100 relay of Holmes, Buchanan, Jayzek Lee and Dean went sub-43 seconds for the first time all season.
It was the culmination of two years of hard work for Dean.
“My sophomore year I was 0.001 off of making it to state,” Dean said. “That really eluded me and stuck with me for a long time. To be able to come out here, be confident, do what I love to do and get the job done, it feels great.”
The Bobcat boys qualified five individuals and four relays for a total of 11 events and finished fourth in the team standings. Dean is in the most events with four.
Dean’s performances were just the tip of the spear for the Bobcats, as fellow senior Dwight Joar qualified in three events — the 110 high hurdles (15.66, 18th seed), high jump (6 feet, 2 inches and 12th seed) and the shuttle hurdle relay team with Aaron Seberger, Keaghan Gorsuch and Ziek Slocum (1:06.16, 24th seed).
Other qualifiers for the Bobcat boys were Buchanan in the 400 dash (50.76, 11th), Holmes in the long jump (21-1 3/4, 12th) and Conner Smith in the 3,200 run (10:1.98, 22nd).
Coach Doug Bacon was impressed with the times Marshalltown put out.
“I’ve been really pleased,” Bacon said. “Extremely proud of the way they competed. A lot of personal bests tonight, a lot of season bests in relays and I think we had a really solid night.”
For the Marshalltown girls, it was a day full of personal bests. But the Bobcats’ breakthrough came from a newly full-strength 4×800 relay, as the return of Phoebe Hermanson to the group of Micah Blevins, Grace Rasmussen and Rachel Smith catapulted them to a state berth with a time of 10:02.71. The group finished third in their regional and will have the 20th seed next week at Drake Stadium.
Hermanson has faced a difficult junior season, recovering from a stress fracture in one leg suffered during cross country season before suffering a stress fracture in the other leg at the beginning of the season.
Coach Chad Pietig said her return has been a revelation for the unit.
“Last week was her first race since her freshman year at districts,” Pietig said. “It’s really a tribute to her work effort and attitude. She’s only been cleared to run a few days a week, and one of the days is the meet. That even only running a few days a week she can come out and run a 2:30 half-mile, that’s really impressive.”
The relay was joined by thrower Lilly Duff as state qualifiers, with Duff making the big show in the discus. Duff’s best throw of 107-3 was good for the 18th seed.
All the qualifiers will compete in the state tournament at Drake Stadium this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Team Standings — 1. Linn-Mar 203, 2. Cedar Falls 193, 3. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 116, 4. Waterloo East 65, 5. Marshalltown 55, 6. Waterloo West 46, 7. Cedar Rapids Washington 23, 8. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 12.
Team Standings — 1. Cedar Falls 199.5, 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 135.5, 3. Linn-Mar 124, 4. Marshalltown 90, 5. Waterloo West 66, 6. Cedar Rapids Washington 55, 7. Cedar Rapids Jefferson 50, 8. Waterloo East 11.