Every year, the city of Des Moines hosts one of the country’s most prominent track and field events.
And every year, spectators, by the thousands, cram the capital city for a spring weekend filled with parades, parties and, of course, elite displays of athleticism.
The field will undoubtedly showcase talent from around the world — last year’s field featured entries from Canada, Serbia and Nigeria, among others.
This year’s event, which begins Wednesday, will host the Gateway high schools of Clinton, Camanche, Northeast, Central DeWitt and Calamus-Wheatland.
In total, local schools (unofficially) qualified 13 events for the prep portion of the meet.
The River Kings will send their 4X100 team, as David Johnson, Favin Williams, Joe Simpson and Ulysses Patterson ran a 45.20 on Tuesday to nab 78th of 96 spots.
Clinton also qualified its 4X400 team, as Johnson and Patterson paired with Matt Swamberger and Sean Hammond for a 3:29.10, which comes in at No. 23 of 24 entries.
Kimberly Powell secured the River Queens’ lone selection in the shot put, where her toss of 38 feet, 9 inches earlier this month was good enough for the 20th spot of 24 qualifiers.
Camanche qualified one event (4X100) with an identical time of 45.20, accomplished by Blake Hardison, Kyle DeWeerdt, Cade Everson and Chase Grim on April 5.
Northeast’s Ellie Rickertsen stole the show on the girls’ side, qualifying in two events. The freshman will run in both the 100- and 400-meter hurdles, where she posted times of 15.56 (19th) and 1:06.20 (7th), respectively.
Claire Abbott locked in the 22nd spot in the shot put with a toss of 38-8. The Rebels’ girls will also compete in the 4X100, as Alexis Ehlers, Madison Tarr, Neveah Hildebrandt and Rickertsen set a qualifying mark of 52.48 (65th) on Tuesday.
Braeden Hoyer will walk onto the newly minted surface at The Oval as the state’s leader in the high jump, as his clearing of 6-09 at the indoor conference meet in late March has yet to yield to the field.
The Rebels’ boys also entered its 4X100 team, as Chad Williams, Dawson Stoll, Cade Hughes and Hoyer claimed the 74th best time in the state (45.13) on Tuesday.
Central DeWitt will send both of its 4X100 teams. The Sabers’ boys ranked 70th with 45.05 (Michael Paul, Kaiden Muhl, Mitch Michoski and Easton Necker) while the girls’ team came in at No. 58 with 52.33 (Colleen Klostermann, Morgan Machovec, Carly Small and Ava Morris).
Calamus-Wheatland joined the qualifying party, too, as the Warriors will send its distance medley relay team to the event. Raymond Venditti, Tyler Rowold, Hunter Rickels and Chase Knoche came in 19th of 24 spots with a time of 3:38.74 on April 6.
The high school section of the meet will begin Friday morning at Drake Stadium.
Editor’s note: These qualifications are based on QuikStats. The event’s official qualifiers had not been released to the public by press time on Friday, April 19.