Van Meter girls track places second at state behind two state titles

Megan Teske, Correspondent
Special to Dallas County News

The Van Meter girls and boys track and field teams took on the state meet May 19-21, finishing the meet with some top results.

The girls finished particularly well at the meet, placing second overall as a team with a score of 55, the highest a track team has ever finished for Van Meter. The girls also won a state title in the 4x400 relay.

Head coach Rick Roberts said it was a rewarding weekend, with the girls performing at a high level, scoring in nine of the 12 events they qualified for.

“To score in nine of those 12 events shows our consistency of our team and the depth we’ve developed,” Roberts said. “Obviously we had some girls run really, really well.”

Van Meter's Clare Kelly competes in the Class 2A 1,500-meter run during the 2022 Iowa high school track and field state championships at Drake Stadium Saturday, May 21, 2022 in Des Moines.

Junior Clare Kelly was one such runner who ran well at the meet, becoming Van Meter’s first individual champion by taking first in the 1,500-meter run and also finishing second in the 800-meter run.

Roberts said Kelly did a great job in the 1,500 defeating the defending state champ, running a strategic race and executing a game plan to do so.

Kelly’s state title capped off a strong season for her, as she qualified for three individual events at the Drake Relays and finished strong there as well.

With one season remaining, Roberts said she will continue to improve to be ready for a great senior season.

“I think she’s going to have an opportunity for an outstanding senior season like several of our other girls,” Roberts said.

Roberts added that junior Mary Kelly will have the chance for a strong senior year as well as some other athletes who will be ready to go.

The Van Meter boys compete in the 2A 4x200 during the 2022 Iowa high school track and field state championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines Friday, May 20, 2022.

The boys also finished strong at the state meet, with senior Dustin Barth being the highest finisher taking fifth place in the 800.

Roberts said he was really pleased with the boys as well and said they gave great effort at the meet.

“I believe five of the six events we had down there had a personal best,” Roberts said. “So that’s obviously outstanding, we were peaking at the right time.”

He added that Van Meter will continue to get better and the Bulldogs had the goal to have three good meets, and with winning conference and state qualifiers and placing second at state, they did just that.

“That’s a pretty good year,” Roberts said.

Van Meter runners compete during the 2022 Iowa high school track and field state championships at Drake Stadium Friday, May 20, 2022 in Des Moines.