Fritz wins in season debut
One meet, one win.
So far, so good for Fairfield senior Michael Fritz.
On Feb. 16, while competing in the State Wrestling Meet in Des Moines, Fritz suffered an injury, a torn ligament in his left shoulder.
Fritz will have surgery to properly heal that shoulder — after the track and field season ends.
“It’s just one of those things,” said Fritz with a shrug, while working out in the FHS weight room on Thursday. “What’s a little pain right now? I’m not letting this injury stop me from participating in my last ever high school sport. Hey, I throw with my right arm. I won’t let this injury stop me.”
On Tuesday, nothing stopped Fritz.
Making his season debut, Fritz heaved the shot put 40 feet, 8 ½ inches, defeating 16 other competitors, and capturing a championship at the Steve Roth Washington Relays.
“Of course it’s a confidence booster to come away with a win,” Fritz said. “I think it helped that I worked hard at track during the offseason.”
Offseason? What offseason? When did Michael Fritz get an offseason?
He’s a three-year starter on the Trojan football team, an All-District honoree the past two years. And the day after the football season ended there was wrestling practice.
And Fritz, at the 195-pound weight class, was a state-ranked wrestler the past few years. Among other 2017 highlights, he captured a championship in the Southern Iowa Classic and District Meet, and led Fairfield in total victories.
“A lot of things go together with the sport of wrestling and throwing the discus and shot,” Fritz explained. “I’d stay after wrestling practice a lot and work with (Trojan wrestling assistant coach Jay) Pike on forearms. It’s part of the routine of being strong in wrestling but also helps a lot with your throwing the discus and shot.
“It was difficult to do any lifting with the injured shoulder but now I’m starting to do as much of that as I can. Since wrestling ended, I’ve been doing more running than anything else.”
In 2016, Fritz made the Iowa State Track Meet and Drake Relays in the Discus.
On Tuesday at Washington’s Case Field, Fritz tossed the discus 135-1, taking second place at the meet.
Never mind pain in his shoulder, Fritz is not lowering his standards.
“I’d love to make it to Drake again,” he said. “I’d like to do that in the Discus. And then I want to make it to state in both the Discus and Shot Put. I just need to look past this shoulder and keep practicing.”
Fritz also wants to see team success this spring and is thrilled three new throwers have joined the squad: sophomores Kosta Papazoglou, Tristin Waugh and senior Jose Rojo.
“I’m really proud of those guys for coming out for the team,” Fritz said. “They have a lot of potential. It’s great to have them.”
In the fall, Fritz will attend Iowa State, participate in intramural sports and study architecture.
“Michael Fritz has one of the strongest work ethics of anyone I’ve ever witnessed,” said Trojan football head coach Mike Schenck. “He’s a great all-around kid, very intelligent — and he’ll be successful at anything he wants to do in life.”