Golden Hawks coach discovers friendly hometown face

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 6/3/23


The final day of the Iowa High School Track & Field Championships delivered a window into the past for Mid-Prairie girls track head coach Mark Hostetler.

The Golden Hawks had …

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Golden Hawks coach discovers friendly hometown face



The final day of the Iowa High School Track & Field Championships delivered a window into the past for Mid-Prairie girls track head coach Mark Hostetler.

The Golden Hawks had just received the Class 2A team trophy for second place and Hostetler was summoned back to a spectator section at Drake Stadium.

Waiting for him there was Bill Kelly, a grandfather to a couple of Van Meter sisters who helped the Bulldogs knock Mid-Prairie off the top of the podium for the first time in five years.

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a couple of years,” Bill said.

Their connection was Washburn, Illinois, a small village located northeast of Peoria. Hostetler went to high school at Low Point-Washburn and ran track there. Hostetler wound up making a home in Parnell, Iowa, a village south of Williamsburg that is even smaller than Washburn.

Bill’s son, Tom, wound up in Van Meter, a small town located west of Des Moines. His daughters, and Bill’s granddaughters, are Clare and Mary Kelly, who ran legs on Van Meter’s distance medley squad that set a state record. The Bulldogs won three relay races against Mid-Prairie, and Clare Kelly had two individual second-place finishes.

Hostetler and Bill Kelly exchanged a hearty handshake, and then talked track and all about Washburn. Mark’s dad was a customer of Bill’s dad, Roger, back in the hometown.

And now, here they were in Des Moines, Mark watching his daughter, Danielle, win the 2A girls 3000-meter race for the third straight year and then battling Clare Kelly in both the 800 and 1500, plus the final leg of the distance medley.

The Washburn reunion created a moment of smiles.

“This is amazing,” Mark said.

Fab Freshmen

Among a number of freshmen delivering impressive performances at Drake were Mid-Prairie’s Jovi Evans and Lone Tree’s Ava Christofferson.

Evans, who cracked Mid-Prairie’s starting lineup in both volleyball and basketball, ran legs in two relays, plus the sprint and distance medley finals. Those squads set season bests three times and Evans medaled in all four events. The Golden Hawks won the 4x200 relay, finished second in the 4x100 and distance medley, and were third in the sprint medley.

Christofferson also made it to the state meet in four events, including to the final day in the Class 1A 4x100 finals. Christofferson ran the second leg for the 4x100 squad, which broke two school records. The Lions placed fifth with a time of 50.86 seconds. She also placed 15th in the 100 prelims, and helped the Lions to a fourth-place finish in the 4x200 relay and a sixth-place finish in the sprint medley.

Soccer Race

After battling Clare Kelly and Van Meter in the state championship meet on the track, Mid-Prairie’s Amara Jones battled Kelly again on the soccer field in a Class 1A regional game May 23 in Van Meter.

Jones sprinted past Kelly to get to the ball first and get a shot on goal at one point.

The Golden Hawks won that battle, but lost the game, 6-0.

Golf to Baseball

Two days after winning the school’s first state title in golf, members of Hillcrest Academy’s golf team were on a different field. Baseball.

The Ravens responded with a season-opening 18-0 win May 25 over Danville.

Luke Schrock, a senior leader on the golf squad, had three hits and scored three runs for the Ravens. Rowan Miller, a freshman who tied for seventh at state golf, drove in three runs. Josiah Beachy threw an inning of hitless ball. Liam Schrock walked four times and scored four runs. Jace Rempel scored three runs.

Every member of the golf team also plays baseball and Phil Schintler, the head golf coach, is an assistant in baseball.

News columnist Paul Bowker can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @bowkerpaul

Mid-Prairie, track, Mark Hostetler, Hillcrest, Jovi Evans, Ava Christofferson