Cole Smith carries the baton in the 4 x 800 event for the Vikings at State.

Will Edwards returned to State with the shuttle hurdle relay team.

After winning the District Track meet and hoping for a repeat of last year’s success at the State Track Meet, where they brought home the Runner-Up banner, the VS Vikings discovered it “just wasn’t our weekend” in Des Moines, said Coach Aric Chvala.

“After a district meet in which nearly everything went as well as we thought they could, State was just about the opposite,” says Chvala. “We were riding high and very optimistic but it just wasn’t our weekend. Once things started not going the way we wanted we just weren’t able to get it turned around.  We did things that were uncharacteristic of what we had been like all year and unfortunately since it happened at the last meet it will be the last memory for most people of a season that had a lot of highlights.”

Yet, says Coach Chvala, the Vikings had a season that was an “overwhelming success.”

“I don’t want the things that didn’t go well to overshadow the things that did,” he said. “We had nine people who had never competed at the State meet before that now have that experience under their belts.”

Chvala also listed several successes achieved by Viking athletes:

Tyler Bartz earned his 8th state meet medal, finishing 6th in the 400.

“If you medal in every event possible that would be 16, so 1/2 of his high school events ended up as a state place winner,” says Chvala. “That is an amazing accomplishment.”

The shuttle hurdle relay of Wes and Will Edwards, Isaac Vrba, and Will Dudley ran the 6th best time in school history only .06 seconds slower than their season best; and they did so in the miserable conditions at State, battling both rain and wind.

Senior Drew Wiley earned the 8th place medal in shot put, in his final high school sports competition before heading to Kansas State in a couple of weeks to join its football program.

Other achievements cited by the coach include:

  • Will Dudley broke the 23 second barrier in the 200M for the first time (making him 1 of 10 who have done so in VS history).
  • Conner Miracle became 1 of 19 people in school history to qualify in 4 events.
  • Conner Bendull in his first year was also a 4-event qualifier.
  • Blake Bohnsack joined Conner Miracle and Bendull in the ranks of people to qualify for 4 events. “And there is no reason to believe that he will be anything less than outstanding this next year in all athletic arenas,” says the coach.
  • The distance medley team ran their season- best time with Seth Lazenby, Keegan Thompson, Justin Bartz, and Cole Tharp. The first three of those were making their first trip to State and all 4 will return next year, says Chvala.

    Cole Tharps ran in two VS relay events at State.

  • At the District meet the 4×800 team of Cole Tharp, Cole Smith, Matt Andreesen, and Tyler Hekel ran 23 seconds faster than their previous season best. And although they didn’t quite match that time, they were far better at State than they had been throughout the year, says Chvala.
  • Cole Overton and Drew Wiley were throwers last year who could have been state qualifiers for almost any other team in the state but they had to wait their turn and they turned in one of the most successful throwing seasons VS has ever had.  Both Cole and Drew qualified for the Drake Relays, making VS the only school in the state to qualify 2 people, Cole breaking a school record and Drew bringing home a state medal in the shotput.

“Although the team didn’t bring home the State Meet results everyone was hoping for I will remember this season as an overwhelming success,” says Chvala. “The guys won six of the 11 meets they were in, including their 2nd consecutive District Championship (for only the 4th time in 82 years of Vinton and VS track and first time doing it back to back years); and 14 events qualified for state.

Along with the 17 guys who competed at state, the 32 other Viking athletes had their own personal success that made their coach proud.

“It was a great season,” says Chvala. “These guys work incredibly hard, and the future is more than bright as 10 of these qualifiers will come back, and there are a lot of young guys who are on the verge of greatness.  I am proud of what the guys have done and am extremely excited about the future of Vinton-Shellsburg track.”