State Track and Field

Comets collect state medals

Maas, boys' hurdlers claimed hardware in Des Moines last weekend


From day one of the track and field season, every team across the state has the goal of peaking at the perfect time.

For a handful of West Liberty athletes, they did just that.

And for sophomore Payton Maas, she went a perfect four for four in that area.

Maas arrived back to West Liberty this weekend as a state champion in the 100-meter Para Wheelchair with a winning and personal-best time of 27.36. She cut exactly three seconds from her previous top time.

The Comet sophomore also finished as the state runner-up in the 200-meter Para Wheelchair (56.52 seconds), the 400-meter Para Wheelchair (1:46.01) and the 800-meter Para Wheelchair (3:42.50). All three times were career-best marks for her.

She was joined on the girls’ side of the meet by freshman Sully Hall who capped a great freshman campaign with a 20th place finish in the long jump. 

After a foul on her first attempt, she came back with her best jump of the afternoon at 15-03.00.

The boys’ best event, as it has been all season, was the hurdles.

In the 2A shuttle hurdle prelims, the team of senior Jayce McHugh and juniors Seth Axsom, Cameron Iske and Ryker Dengler crossed the finish line in 1:00.77 which qualified them for the finals.

They placed sixth in the prelims and matched that result in the finals, running a 1:01.16, switching the order of Iske and Dengler at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions while keeping McHugh as the anchor and Axsom as the leader.

In the individual hurdles, Dengler took on the 400-meter variant and placed 14th in the prelims with a time of 57.08 seconds.

In the 110-meter event, he ran a 16.12 and placed 19th in the prelims.

Two of the three boys’ sprinting relays set season-best times inside the Blue Oval.

In the 4x100, Axsom, McHugh, and sophomores Owen Daufeldt and Ramzes Moran ran a time of 44.25 seconds, besting their previous by nearly one full second. They finished 16th overall in the prelims

Axsom, Daufeldt, Dengler and McHugh took 16th as well in the 4x200, setting a new season-best time of 1:32.05, which was a quarter of a second cut.

Lastly, in the sprint medley relay, Axsom, Moran, Daufeldt and McHugh clocked in a 1:36.68 time which was good for 18th in the prelims.

In the team standings, West Liberty placed third out of seven eligible schools in the new Paralympic division. Maas scored 34 team points for the Comets. Dubuque Hempstead and Ally Darter, as well as Iowa City West and Hannah Longmire, tied for first with 40 points.

In the girls’ 2A division, Van Meter won the meet with 63 team points followed by Pella Christian (60) and Tipton (57).

In the boys’ 2A class, West Liberty tied for 46th with the three points scored from the shuttle hurdle relay.

Mediapolis won the meet with 47 points followed by Spirit Lake (43) and South Hamilton (42). The top-finishing RVC team in 2A was Iowa City Regina (tied for 18th — 13 team points).

The Comets will say goodbye to seven talented seniors in advance of next season.

These athletes include McHugh, Evan Beal-Henderson, Joaquin Elizondo, Amerie Alvarado, Betsy Bejarano, Laney Esmoil and Mary Tharp.