Belzer banking on Bowman, Fritz
Fairfield girls’ head track and field coach Jerrod Belzer has big ambitions this spring.
A conference title is on the agenda. Being competitive at the Iowa State Meet in May is also on the Trojans’ things to do list.
Turnout this spring for his team is strong.
“We’re very blessed to have a lot of underclassmen on our team but with that comes a lot of inexperience,” Belzer said.
And therefore Belzer is banking on senior leadership.
In particular, he is counting on seniors Brynna Bowman and Sam Fritz to be his key team leaders.
“Sam and Brynna both bring great leadership to our team,” Belzer said. “Sam and Brynna have both been an integral part of this program’s success over the past three seasons. They’ve both been to the State Meet and they both know how much work it takes to compete at a high level.”
On Tuesday afternoon at Fairfield High School, Bowman and Fritz were clearly doing what Belzer wants: working very hard.
Bowman and Fritz finished their basketball careers on Feb. 18. Each had an excellent season. Both are super-quick guards.
“But,” said Fritz after Tuesday’s track practice, “the training for basketball is different for track. You run in basketball, but it’s not the same type of running you do in track. Right now, I’m dead after every track practice. I don’t feel like I’m in shape.”
Don’t worry too much about the ultra-competitive Fritz. She’ll be ready to go when the season starts March 9 at Cornell College in a 25-team meet.
“Sam is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever been around,” Belzer said. “She doesn’t slack, she doesn’t take reps off. For her, it’s 100 percent all the time, no exceptions.”
Fritz competes in the 400, 800 and 1,500. Last year, she made it to state in the 800. She also was a member of Fairfield’s State-Meet qualifying 4x400 and 4x800 relay teams.
“I do hope to make it back to state this year as an individual and make it to state on two relay teams,” Fritz said.
Said Belzer, “Sam sets the tone for hard work among our distance runners. Her kind of work ethic is contagious. Her teammates see it and it motivates them to work hard as well.”
Bowman made it to state in 2016 as part of Fairfield’s distance medley team.
“I was proud of that,” Bowman said. “It was exciting.”
As an individual, the ultra-fleet Bowman will compete in the 100, 200 and possibly 400 this season.
“Brynna works hard, sets a good example and then encourages others to do the same,” Belzer said.
“Brynna stands out as a vocal leader. She’s not just a leader for the girls’ team but is a leader for our sprint crew as a whole — both guys and girls.”
Official team track practices take place five days a week, Monday through Friday. The team gets weekends off.
But not Bowman. A day off from athletics? What’s that?
“Yes,” she said with a smile, “I still do athletic work on the weekends. If you want to achieve something, you have to go out and get it.”
Bowman would like to make state this season as an individual and in a relay.
Also as an individual, she said, “My big goal is to win the conference in a sprinting event.”
Said Belzer, “My expectations for Brynna and Sam are to help this team win a conference title and help us be more competitive at the State Meet. Their success will be the team’s success and vice versa.
“We’ll need Brynna and Sam to help set the tone of hard work each and every practice.”