Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 18, 2018

And on to Des Moines

By ALLAN MANDELL, Ledger sports editor | May 15, 2017
Photo by: ALLAN MANDELL Trojan Maggie Ferrel, after taking the baton from Ashlyn Elmore, runs anchor for the 4x800 squad in Mt. Pleasant. Ferrel, Elmore, Sam Fritz and Danae Drish finished the relay at 10:06.68, qualifying the quartet for the Iowa State Track Meet.

Nine athletes from Fairfield High School will be competing in the Iowa State Track Meet this week.

Based on their performances at the State Qualifying Track and Field District Meet in Mt. Pleasant on May 11, Trojans Ashley Bloomquist, Danae Drish, Ashlyn Elmore, Maggie Ferrel, Michael Fritz, Sam Fritz, Kara Jeffrey, Malory Jones and Aluna Olaniyi will each compete Thursday-Saturday at Drake Stadium.

“I was happy with the way the district meet started,” said Trojan girls’ head coach Jerrod Belzer. “Malory Jones qualified for state right away in the high jump.”

Jones, a sophomore, took silver in Mt. Pleasant with a leap of 4 feet, 8 inches. She also made state in 2016.

“Last year was really crazy for me at Drake Stadium,” Jones said. “They had records broken for attendance. The state meet is nothing like any other type of meet we see the rest of the season.

“I wasn’t OK with my jump at all today. I want to get back to clearing 5-0 or 5-2.”

Jones shares the all-time Fairfield school record of 5-4, a leap she made in March.

In the final event on Thursday night in Mt. Pleasant, Jones anchored Fairfield’s 4x400 relay squad. Jones, senior Sam Fritz, junior Olaniyi and sophomore Jeffrey posted an impressive time of 4:13.03, earning a state-meet slot.

Earlier in the meet, in the 4x800, Fritz ran leadoff. And, as per her usual, Fritz got the squad off to a torrid start, running her leg at 2:28.

Fritz then handed the baton to sophomore Drish — who made the run of her lifetime.

“Just the thought of going to state really had me fired up today,” Drish said. “I knew to help get us to state, I needed to do well.”

She did better than “well.”

Drish zipped around the track in 2:30, knocking a full three seconds off her previous personal best.

“Coach told me I ran a ‘30’ and I was surprised,” she said. “I usually run a ‘33.’ Sam had started us off so strong. Once I was done, I was able to get back close to the track so I could yell encouragement for Ashlyn and Maggie.”

And Elmore and Ferrel both ran strong legs. Fairfield’s time was 10:06.68.

“Sam started great and I knew Danae was doing really well, too,” Elmore said. “After the race, we found out we ran a PR (personal record), so we were all very happy.”

Said Drish, “We’re really excited to go to state.”

Fritz will also be competing at Drake Stadium in the 800 — after running a 2:28.37 in Mt. Pleasant. This is the fourth consecutive year Fritz has qualified for the state meet as an individual.

Sophomore Bloomquist ran a personal-best 11:08.60 in the 3,000 at Mt. Pleasant, earning a slot in Des Moines.

“The start by everybody in that race was so fast,” Bloomquist said. “At first, I couldn’t breathe. I was thinking, ‘Are we sprinting this whole thing?’ Then I thought, ‘OK, that’s cool.’ But then things slowed back into a regular pace.”

Bloomquist will also compete at state in the 1,500, having run a 5:03.82 in Mt. Pleasant.

This will be Bloomquist’s second consecutive year competing in the state meet.

In the 400 hurdles, Olaniyi earned a gold medal, running a 1:08.09.

“I had to do my best to get to state,” Olaniyi said. “But I also felt I was running this race for our shuttle team.”

Less than an hour before her gold-medal run — earning Olaniyi her second consecutive district-meet 400-hurdles title — Trojan juniors Carin Corrick, Kristen Daugherty, senior Sarah Swanson and Olaniyi finished second in the 4x100 shuttle hurdle.

The quartet ran an outstanding race, finishing behind only Mt. Pleasant — and far ahead of Keokuk and Washington.

Fifteen minutes after the race, Corrick, Daugherty, Swanson and Olaniyi were still celebrating a second-place, state-meet qualifying performance with each other, their teammates and coaches when a highly questionable official’s decision was announced over the loudspeaker. Fairfield had been disqualified.

“So,” said Olaniyi, “I did feel I was carrying my three hurdling teammates with me when I was running the 400.”

Michael Fritz, a senior, earned his ticket to Des Moines with a discus toss of 134-07.5, earning the district-meet silver medal.

“This was obviously not my best toss but I am excited to get back to state,” Fritz said.

This is Fritz’s second straight trip to Des Moines.

In February, while competing at the State Wrestling Meet, Fritz suffered a shoulder injury which will require surgery. Fritz postponed the surgery until June so he could perform for the Trojan track team in the 2017 campaign.

“After the injury he had in wrestling, we were concerned how this season would go for Michael,” said Trojan boys’ head coach Brian Dunlap. “Well, Michael had a great season, winning the conference championship and getting another trip to state. He’s had a fantastic season.”

Said Belzer, “Overall, this was a really nice night for us. Now, we want to go up there at state — and finish the season strong.”



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